Why Is Snow White Named Snow White: The Heated Online Debate Answered

There has been plenty of discourse surrounding the remakes that Disney has been producing from its beloved canon of classic animated films. While some of the conversations or critiques around these live-action reimaginings have centered on what they add to the original movies or whether they can match the impressive animation and personality of their predecessors, other notes have been a bit less understandable.

Mainly they boil down to a certain contingent of Disney fans who are upset with the changes being made to the source material. Naturally, this leads these fans to balk at Ariel or Snow White's skin color changing for their live-action remakes. Unfortunately, those making the criticism aren't always educated on what the source material laid out. For instance, many of the earlier Disney films are based on classic fairy tales that were deliberately sanitized to appeal to a wider audience.

Still, the latest example of this is the controversy surrounding Rachel Zegler, the Latina actor who is set to take on the role of Snow White in the upcoming Disney live-action remake. Being that Snow White is named for her complexion, critics might think there's a bit more weight to the fact that she should remain Caucasian, but as we mentioned, it's a bit more complex. Well-known myth-busting website Snopes went to the original text of the 1812 source material, "Little Snow White," and found that the name is inspired by three color sources. 

Snow White could have had two other names in the story

Snow White's mother is said to be walking through a snowy forest when she pricks her finger and notes how pretty the blood looks splashed on the snow below. The text reads as follows: "And the red looked pretty upon the white snow, and she thought to herself, would that I had a child as white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as the wood of the window frame. Soon after that, she had a little daughter, who was as white as snow and as red as blood, and her hair was as black as ebony, and she was therefore called little Snow White."

With this added bit of context, it would seem that Snow White could have just as easily been named for black features or red features as for white ones. Framed in this way, it sounds like Snow White's mother wished for her child to reflect all three and simply named her for the one which was most prominent.

While this does indeed confirm that Snow White was named for her appearance, it still leaves plenty open to interpretation, especially when you consider that there are three colors that inspired her name, not one. Though this answer might not necessarily help to quiet those calling out Disney for casting Rachel Zegler in the upcoming remake, it does add a lot more nuance for fans to consider.