Many years ago I saw a discussion on a news show, in which the subject was USA & the Middle East. This was some time after 9/11.
A journalist was asked: “Why do they (the Middle East) hate us (USA) so much”?
His answer was simple: “Because we don’t even know, why they hate us”.
This makes me think of Snow White.
I’m sure, we all know this particular feeling: a friend or a family member says or does something, which hurts you. It might be a one time thing or a continual thing. Bottom line is, it hurts.
And here is the worst part: they don’t even notice, that you are hurt!
They just continue on in their own little world, totally oblivious as to how their actions have effected you.
It is an absolutely horrible feeling, because if this person don’t actually notice, something is wrong with you, then that means, they don’t really see you. You are right in front of them, but you don’t matter enough for them to truly look at you.
You might as well be invisible.
In a normal safe relationship you can express your hurt and anger safely, and it will be resolved one way or the other. Either they realize, what they did and apologize; or they get offended, and your relationship flies out the window. And that’s that.
But what if you are not in a safe situation/relationship?
What if the power-relations between you lean heavily in their favour, and you are not considered an equal with equal rights?
Most people hold their tongue and try not to make things worse for themselves. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
It is basic self-preservation and survival, and it is not the responsibility of the powerless, that the powerful treat them right. It’s entirely the responsibility of the powerful.
And if this total disregard and obliviousness of your feelings happens often and even goes on for years, it can really mess with your sense of self.
If other people’s feelings matter, because they are human beings, and your feelings don’t matter, well then maybe you are not as human as others.
This is what discrimination, racism, sexism et al., stems from and leads to. That some people are worth more than others.
And it is obvious, Regina was considered worth less than Leopold and Snow.
Remember the episode “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree”, in which Leopold and Snow had their little father/daughter love-fest and didn’t even notice, when Regina left the room?
She might as well have been invisible, and the pained look on her face suggested that this was a situation she was used to.
Sure Leopold later said “I know the queen is unhappy”, which means he noticed something, but did he care enough to do something about it? No. It was all turned around to be about him. About how her unhappiness threatened his manhood and ownership of her. And you don’t “own” your equals.
Think about this: Leopold bought an actual human being as a present for Snow. A human being whose sole function, besides warming Leopold’s bed when he wanted it, was to take care of his daughter. The human being’s feelings or consent wasn’t considered in this.
And in that scene with Leopold and Snow’s little family moment, Regina rather symbolically was not included. She watched from the background completely ignored, just like all the other servants in that room. And they didn’t even care enough to notice that she was not included.
That is not a stepmother. That is a house slave.
And Snow didn’t notice anything at all. In fact there is no indication, Snow even noticed, that Leopold Locked Regina in her room after he found her diary.
This shows she never noticed Regina’s pain. She made Regina feel invisible and less than human. She took her for granted.
That kind of self-centered obliviousness is acceptable, when you are a child, not when you are in your late teens, as she at least was by then. And Snow never changed.
Almost every scene between Snow and Regina suggests that Snow does not consider Regina her equal.
When Snow says things like “despite what you think, it won’t make you happy” (from “The Stranger”) and “I know what you think you’re doing is vengeance” (from “The Heart is a lonely Hunter”), she is basically saying ” I know your feelings better than you do, here let me tell you how you feel, Regina”.
That is condescending, and not a way you would (or should) talk to someone, who is truly your equal.
And Snow’s behaviour in the “The Cricket Game” flashback, when she “saved” Regina’s life reeked of charity.
Not the good kind of charity where you respect people and ask what they need; but the self-centered self-congratulatory kind, where you decide that you know what’s best for other people, and then proceed to give people what you think they need without asking first, and then expects gratitude in return.
And then you get offended when they aren’t grateful!
Look at Snow’s face after she lets Regina out of the cell. She was expecting gratitude from Regina.
And in “Tiny” Snow flat out says “I don’t think Emma has to run anything by you”.
Translation: you don’t have any rights here. We have rights. And we have the right to decide, if you have any rights.
The reason many people so willingly adheres to Snow is because she is royalty. That gives her special privileges in their eyes. Notice how Snow and Charming sees it as their natural right to lead the town, even though not every one in it is from their kingdom.
Yet if anyone were to ask Snow if she believes in equality, I’m sure she would say “of course, that’s what good people do”, and she would say it rather indignantly. And she would believe her own words, yet fail to see how she and her family has special privileges by virtue of being royalty. And how everything is seen through the filter of how it ultimately affects Snow. (And interestingly enough a big part of the fandom sees things that way too).
Snow is so self-centered and privileged that she never even noticed her privilege and power over Regina (and everybody else). She is blind to it, because she benefits from it.
And Snow is (and was) constantly being described as someone with a good and kind heart. Someone who is special. And this is how Snow sees herself even now.
That is why Regina hates Snow.
Because Snow doesn’t even understand it. And in her arrogance she doesn’t think there is anything to understand.
She walks through life with blinders on, not even noticing how she tramples all over other people’s lives and causes great pain purely because of her ignorance. And everyone (and herself) still make excuses for her, as if she is still a child.
It is kinda the ultimate in oblivious privilege, when you are told someone hates you, and you are at a loss for why.
This, unfortunately, is Snow in a nutshell.