Let me start by saying that Fairest of All by Serena Valentino wasn’t at all what I expected. This retelling of Disney’s classic Snow White seriously took me by surprise in a good way. I had no idea what to expect when picking this up. In the movie, the Evil Queen is jealous of Snow White for her beauty. The original story seemed so straight forward. How could there be an entertaining backstory for the Queen? Turns out, the answer is body shaming.
Okay, let’s talk about body shaming real quick in case you’ve been living under a rock or something. Body shaming is when someone is criticized or shamed for their body. Typically, body shaming refers to body size. For example: Calling someone fat. All I ever really see on social media are critiques on body shaming in relation to size. But, that’s not all. Calling someone ugly is also body shaming. Saying someone’s nose is too big or laughing about how someone’s ears stick out a bit too much is body shaming.
I’m a bigger woman. I’ve been on the larger side my whole life. Needless to say, I’ve been body shamed before. However, I want to talk about my most recent experience. I was about half-way through Fairest of All when this happened.
My boyfriend (let’s call him KJ) told me that a female coworker had actually made some not so nice comments about me. I wasn’t there for these comments, but KJ told me after the fact. Apparently, this coworker asked KJ if he likes chubby girls. In all honesty, even after all these years, hearing someone call me chubby or fat in a negative way hurts. I think it will always hurt. However, in Korean culture it’s not necessarily rude to comment on someone’s weight here. So, I tried to take it with a grain of salt. But then, there was another comment.
KJ loves talk to people from all over the world, so he frequently joins chat groups to meet new people. He was showing a male coworker some of his international friends when the same female coworker said “These girls are prettier than your girlfriend.” Of course, KJ stood up for me but knowing someone said that about me to someone I love hurts a lot. When KJ told me, I wanted to cry. I hate that I let someone, who I’ve never even met, get to me. But I’m trying my best to not let it stay in my heart.
The Evil Queen
In Fairest of All, the Queen also grew up being body shamed, but for her appearance. On top of that, the person doing the body shaming was her father. He constantly called her “ugly” and made her life miserable. Even after she marries the King, she continues to struggle with self confidence and self worth. While things did start looking better for her, it all came crashing down after the King died. Her grief consumed her. She no longer had a loving voice to cover up the comments from her father that still swam in her head.
Then, she gets the mirror with her father’s soul trapped in it. Because he has to tell the truth, the Queen forces him to tell her she is beautiful everyday. Hearing HIM, the one who tormented her as a child, call her beautiful becomes this drug and she is addicted. The Queen can’t get enough and struggles when her father says someone’s beauty has surpassed hers. This addiction corrupts her soul and turns her into the Queen we see in Disney’s Snow White.
The Queen was so kind and loving, even when her father was so awful to her. If she didn’t have that insecurity from, a lifetime of bullying, she wouldn’t have needed the daily validation from her father in the mirror. Her self-worth wouldn’t have been dependent on how others perceive her. She wouldn’t have constantly compared herself to those around her. She could have lived a happy life with her step-daughter. But then, we wouldn’t have to story of Snow White.
Do not believe your father’s lies, my little girl. He doesn’t see you as you are and I fear for your soul should you ever let his darkness linger in your heart.From Nanny to the Queen in Fairest of All by Serena Valentino
Interested in more? I don’t only write about books! I also blog about my life. Maybe you’ve considered teaching in South Korea. Why not check out my dogs! They are pretty adorable 🙂 Either way, I hope my stories help make your day a bit more stupendous.