jasonsteinfairytales

Rammstein Yet Again Tells Us Something About Fairytales | March 4, 2012

Never mind that I actually enjoyed the music in “Sonne” (a first for the usually metal Rammstein), the video touts a perversion of the classic Snow White tale in its removal of the Queen in favor of a more sinister Snow White herself.

The original tale pairs a beautiful and ignorant Snow White as the daughter of a jealous stepmother, who bans her from the premises and tries to kill her three times, the last one being temporarily successful. The stepmother, without much of a physical presence of the king in the story, instead broods masculinity within herself by calling on ironically feminine objects (a lace corset, a poison comb, and a white/red apple) to murder her stepdaughter. Rammstein’s Snow White reflects the same overt masculine qualities in the queen because, instead of cleaning the house and playing the role of chipper subdued housewife, the monstrously tall Snow White spanks the miners (dwarves) for not getting her enough to gold to snort. She portrays greed and consumption, taking from the dwarves both goods and services (like shining her apples). She casts aside the traditional female role of housewife in favor of playing dirty with the miners who keep her company; she steals the main role in the story from the queen.

The video continues with Snow White’s self-inflicted death from overdose of what we presume is something produced by the miners. There is no queen to test Snow White’s ability to adhere to the dwarves’ advice; instead, Snow White consumes herself in greed. Her self-absorption mirrors that of the queen in the traditional story in that she dies because Snow White, at her wedding, forces her to dance in red hot iron shoes to death. This ‘dance,’ per se, is the punishment of being so feminine as to be obsessed with oneself while trying to mask it with masculinity by killing off the competition (Snow White). Thus, the queen essentially consumes so much that she is responsible for her death, as is Snow White in the video. 

One major difference between the story and the video is that the queen dies at the hand of a masculine object, the red hot iron shoes. This symbol of male power complements the idea that such a shallow woman can never hide herself under a veil of masculinity; that is, women will never be able to live up to the standards of being a male. However, in the video, no prince comes to save Snow White and prove that masculinity overcomes all. An apple that grows at the tree next to her atop the seventh mountain falls and breaks her glass coffin. The apple is her symbol of power in that she carries them with her and forces her slave miners to shine them for her. Thus, the video perpetuates masculinity in the female role by proving that her masculinity, her overt power, is what saves her from her own greed-induced death. The video essentially parallels masculinity with power and instills it within a woman who, however self-absorbed she may be, will be saved and continue her anschluss against the ranks of meek men. The video reverses the traditional role of women mirrored in both the original Snow White and the Queen to comment on the power and permanence of masculinity.

Seeing such a sexual, perverse warping of a fairytale made me instantly favor Rammstein over the original story. To tower the woman over the men, who most would think of as strong and diligent considering they are miners, and take advantage of their goods and services puts a significant gender role reversal on traditional men and women. Not to mention that the video sides with feminists in showing how a woman does not need a man to complete her; rather, the woman only need consult her inner masculinity, her burning fire, to get exactly what she wants. The video does not tackle the Seven Deadly sins like greed and gluttony; instead, the sinner gets saved by her own means. The video, to me at least, stresses that individuals are responsible for their own actions, but that it is not impossible to get what you want out of life. Take advantage of your surroundings, and nobody will cast a spell on you or come after you. But when you land in a pile of shit, you have to crawl your way out. I love that self-determinism; I love that video.

 

And this one too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEQ6G8fjipA&feature=fvst. It’s not so much the video, more that I just love this song after playing it on Guitar Hero!

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