"For a woman to be good, she must be dead, or as close to it as possible. Catatonia is the good woman’s most winning quality.
Sleeping Beauty slept for 100 years, after pricking her finger on a spindle. The kiss of the heroic prince woke her. He fell in love with her while she was asleep or was it because she was asleep?
Snow-white was already dead when the heroic prince fell in love with her. “I beseech you”, he pleaded the 7 dwarfs, “to give it to me, for I cannot live without looking upon Snow-white.” It awake was not readily distinguishable from it asleep.
Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow-white, Rapunzel - all are characterized by passivity, beauty, innocence, and victimization.
They are archetypical good women - victims by definition. They never think, act, initiate, confront, resist, challenge, feel, care, or question. Sometimes they are forced to do housework.
They have one scenario of passage. They are moved, as if inert, from the house of the mother to the house of the prince. First they are objects of malice, then they are objects of romantic adoration. They do nothing to warrant either.
These figures of female good are the heroic models available to women. And the end of the story is, it would seem, the goal of any female life. To sleep, perchance to dream?
What matters is that he is both powerful and good, that his power is by definition good. What matters is that he matters, acts, succeeds.
One can point out that in fact he is not very bright. For instance, he cannot distinguish Cinderella from her two sisters though he danced with her and presumably conversed with her. His recurring love of corpses does not indicate a dynamic intelligence either. (…)
The truth of it is that he is powerful and good when contrasted with her. The badder she is, the better he is. The deader she is, the better he is. That is one moral of the story, the reason for dual role definition, and the shabby reality of the man as hero."
Andrea Dworkin, Woman Hating: A Radical Look at Sexuality (1976)