If you watch Cinderella (the film, not the person), you’ll notice that the film balances its way between both Cinderella’s story and the role the mice play in helping her get her happy ending. To one immersing themselves in the time period, Cinderella herself is indeed very endearing. She dreams of happy endings and balls, manages to attract the wildlife with her kindness and beauty, and never gives up.
A someone who adores Aurora (more on that next week) I almost feel I have to justify to the max why I don’t like her. I’m not going to do that. Instead, I’m going to explain why she deserves more slack and appreciation vs. the modern princesses of today. A lot of that, like last week, boils down again to the time in which the film was made. Even though it was made over a decade after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella’s position in the film would have been very similar to some women at the time (even if they didn’t make clothes for mice). Cinderella is trapped in a job she can’t escape. It’s a job that makes her long and yearn for a better life but as her position is – she can’t do much about it. You can’t blame her for daydreaming.
There would have been women at the time (and even now), trapped in jobs or marriages that for whatever reason, would have been hard to escape. They’re the unsung heroes, working to the bone and suffering possible verbal or mental abuse whilst trapped. If you set Cinderella in the modern day without any magic, it’s not a scenario we’d knock or laugh at. I understand why you might not feel she’s the biggest hero in the world. Her escape is via a marriage to a man she’s fallen in love with in one night. It’s a far cry away from Anna punching Prince Hans in the face.
I understand her predicament is also solved (or pushed along the way) by her fairy godmother and the mice. You could again say that all of Cinderella’s happy endings are facilitated by others. I understand that position, but is it so hard for us to compare this to the lucky escapes women might have had which might seem like a miracle? Just because we don’t hear about it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. Coincidences do happen in the world, after all.
Cinderella doesn’t ‘kick ass’. That’s a statement which is pretty easy to accept without argument. She doesn’t stand toe to toe with the guy, or save a whole kingdom, but she’s still a strong character. Strength in how we bear the scenarios that are thrust upon us and what she deals with is nothing to be knocked at. I don’t want to insult the victims of domestic abuse etc. by saying she’s a champion for them, but the next time your friend or child wants to dress up as Cinderella, perhaps you might think of the strength and endurance the ‘princess’ herself represents.