I was particularly disturbed by James David Besser's article, "Snow White's Snow Job" {Style Plus, Dec. 22}. He treats this Disney classic as a diabolical genius' attempt at corrupting the moral fiber of our youth, as opposed to the enjoyable fairy tale that it really is. My own recollection both as a child and a parent is one of pure enchantment. The message I see is the old standard: "Love conquers all." Neither I nor my children had nightmares or have developed stereotypical and erroneous attitudes about male/female relationships, abuse, death, etc.

Not meaning to insult Besser or his daughter, if an animated feature can change the basic morality of our society, then that society is sick indeed, and we as parents and our parents before us have done a dismal job. It is not one viewing of "Snow White" that determines who we will be. It is the way we react to life situations and how we interpret the world to our children that determines whether or not they become loving, responsible individuals. If we lead our children down a path of fear and sexist stereotypes, they will follow.

James C. Boyer

James David Besser states that "Snow White" is preparing little girls for "a lot of trips to the battered women's shelter." Come on! The only violence done to Snow White comes from the wicked queen, not from a man.

He also states that there is "a message of female stupidity. The wicked queen is the only smart woman in the story." But let's face it, the wicked queen is the only smart person in the story. Who, among the men, is brighter? For that matter, who among the men is brighter than Snow White? The prince? The dwarfs? Sorry, Besser, no one really excels in intelligence except the women.

Yes, of course, there is sexism in "Snow White," and in all fairy tales, and in nearly all popular culture of Western civilization. But in order to transform our culture toward a nonsexist, nonracist society, we need to provide children with the social and historical context with which to view these films or read these stories, not to censor or disregard them, which can only deprive the children of a vast and rich body of work with which they can better understand the society in which they will live. This is ultimately the parent's responsibility, not to act in a hysterical or reactionary manner, but to be a parent, a teacher and a role model.

Bruce Ingram Martin

I completely agree that the Disney fantasy's message is harmful to little girls, but he ignores the equally devastating signal sent to little boys.

True, the dwarfs hired Snow White as cheap labor, and maybe they never ate better. But she had plenty of time left to sing and dance in the forest, while they did hard manual labor in a mine from dawn 'til dark. And the sexual implications are tragic for any man not of heroic proportions. Dopey clearly had an interest in the girl. He was sensitive and tender and an honest, hard worker. But he was short, ugly and of working-class manners. All he could hope for was her casual friendship -- and only because she might think him "cute."

Who does the bimbo fall for? Of course, The Prince. Even though he was dressed as a modest hunter, you could tell a mile away from his bearing, his manners and the quality of his horse that the after-shave she smelled wasn't Aqua Velva. This guy had means. And note that not every man had the power to bring her back from her apple-induced stupor; Dopey didn't even try. Only The Hero.

And yet, for the privilege of a chaste kiss (and a totally disinterested one, for he believed her dead) she assumes that he's making a commitment "forever after." She thus comes to share in a wealth and position that wasn't hers by reason of either labor or inheritance.

Like sugar-coated cereals, these shenanigans are sweet, but they're very bad for you. Most men will never be heroes; most women will never be princesses. To nurture these illusions in impressionable children breeds frustration and needless anguish when facing life later in couples, as adults. Physical and emotional abuse, in both directions, stems from the despair of not fulfilling these cherished and dangerously fanciful notions.

Dopey, I feel for you. Snow White, baby, get a job!

Ramon E. Daubon