What’s Changed With Feminism, Cinderella?

Cinderella

Cinderella

Happy birthday to Disney’s Cinderella, who turns 65 on Sunday.

Cinderella reflects the 1950s pre-feminist world. What’s changed since then?

The Cinderella Story

We all know the Cinderella story:

A lovely girl is despised by her ugly stepmom and stepsisters, who make her wear rags and serve them. But when the prince hosts a ball to find a wife, a fairy godmother turns rags into a gown — but tells Cinderella to be home by midnight, when the spell breaks. Cinderella meets the prince and they fall in love. But when she flees the ball to get home on time she loses a glass slipper, which the prince eventually traces to her. They marry and live happily ever after.

Cinderella and the 1950s Housewife

Cinderella, locked away, disempowered, and lacking any sense of herself other than “servant,” had few choices and little grasp of her potential.

Life was a bit better for your typical 1950s housewife. But in some ways it was similar.

Cinderella doing chores

Cinderella doing chores

Different women have different personalities, and if a 1950s woman held interests and abilities that revolved around homemaking and nurturing then life was pretty good.

But if she had the mind of a scientist, doctor, lawyer, business manager, writer, or pretty much anything that didn’t involve domesticity — or if she was a single mom struggling to raise her kids on low wages (because high-paying jobs were rarely an option for women) — then like Cinderella, she lacked life choices, or much ability to see her potential outside of one role. These women could feel locked into a life that didn’t fit.

Still, Cinderella didn’t gripe, perhaps hoping that if she were a good girl, things would work out. And in fact, Cinderella’s story tells women that this is true.

Most 1950s women didn’t gripe, either. But widespread malaise was eventually uncovered by the 1963 bestseller, The Feminine Mystique, which sparked consciousness raising groups and a re-examination of feminine fulfillment.

Also in Cinderella’s time beauty was important, and even associated with goodness. In fact, powerful women in Cinderella’s life were both ugly and evil — except for the fairy godmother.

In 1950s America beauty was important. And if the reaction to feminists — who sought more power for women — was any indication, then powerful women were deemed ugly. Because early feminists were stereotyped as unattractive.

And most famously, Cinderella was saved by a handsome prince. They married and lived happily ever after. Very much what most midcentury women hoped for.

Cinderella and the 21st Century Woman

Emma Watson promoting feminism.

Emma Watson promoting feminism.

At the beginning of the 21st-century things have changed and things have stayed the same.

Beauty remains important for most women since a woman’s worth is still largely judged by her looks.

And beauty is still associated with “goodness.” The good-looking are better liked by classmates, teachers, employers and jurors, for instance.

And there is still a stereotype that women seeking empowerment — like feminists — are ugly. That may be changing as feminists like Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Kerry Washington, Olivia Wilde, Emma Watson and Emma Stone step outside the feminist closet.

But opportunities have grown in leaps and bounds since the 1950s, when few women could imagine becoming anthropologists, psychologists, doctors, lawyers, Congress members, or President of the United States.

Women still have a long way to go. But we have also come a long way, baby.

Inspired by “Construction of the Female Self” by Jill Henke

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on February 13, 2015, in feminism, sexism, women and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 46 Comments.

  1. Definitely have come a long way… and still more to go. As a girl it was easy to buy into that idea of someday my prince will come. But time and again that got me in trouble because I expected that magical someone to be the both the prayer and the answer. It wasn’t until I figured out that the person I’d been waiting for was really me- that’s when I met my life partner.

  2. I have seen many of my peers dreaming to become like Cinderella, first because she got married to a prince, and second, she is very beautiful. Indeed, her life was hard and looked very similar to some of today’s women’s’ lives. I am not sure if some of those girls are considered to be lazy because they just want to become princess with no hard working or no aim but beauty and a handsome prince, but as for me, princesses and fairy tales never attracted me in any shape or form. A stereo type would suggest that all girls love romantic stuff specially how I see Disney targeting its audience. But as a matter of fact, my favorite character is Tiger the funny tiger in the Winnie the Pooh story.

  3. Very interesting thoughts. I really hate the ugly feminist stereotype. I think a bunch of hot women should get together and make signs that say “This is what a feminist looks like” and they are all knockouts. Seriously, that needs to be a thing.

  4. Growing up, Cinderella was a classic. I can’t tell you how frequently I watched the Disney movie as a child, because that number may not exist yet. As I’ve gotten older and wiser, the gender issues in this film have become more and more apparent. It is interesting to see these issues, and though they can be very aggravating, observing them show just how far we have come as a society.

    Historians generally divide feminism into three “waves” that overlap and build on each other. The first wave, which sprouted up alongside abolitionism, from the end of the 19th century through the early 20th century, dealt mostly with women’s suffrage and political rights. Influenced by the spiritual equality promoted by Quakerism, early feminists like Lucretia Mott, Susan B. Anthony, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton worked to secure equal rights for women, although many of them still considered women the weaker sex and believed that they belonged in the home. This first wave ended with the passage of the 19th amendment in 1920.

  5. Just wondering … would the Prince fall for mild, docile, hardworking Cinderella if she wasn’t pretty? And what exactly did the Prince do to deserve a sweet wife like her? Somehow, even fairytales seem to put the onus of ‘earning’ the Prince charming onto a woman’s shoulders.

    • 1) Doubt it

      2) Good points!

    • What do women exactly do to deserve a of man of high status, or charms? Oh yeah just be pretty, while the man having success, charm, power, etc all of the above compared to looks. What does a girl at the bar do to deserve, a man taking the chance of looking like an idiot, creep, trying to find converstation, buy drinks, be a comedian, be a charmer, and impressive all to attract and get the girl interested in him, while she what? Simply converses back? It’s the guy having to show more worth and prove to be worthy enough to get her, even though she doesn;t show anything close to her worth to match him..

      • I’m curious to see what Doctor Sweetyshinde might have to say.

        But I have a question and a thought.

        Question:
        Do you think that this means women have it better? Do you think that it is better or easier to be expected to be beautiful than to be successful?

        Thought:
        You are certainly right that it’s easier for women than for men to get sex. I suspect that this situation arises because women’s sexuality is repressed. When society represses the sexuality of one sex, They simply feel less of an urgent need for sex, and in fact, it takes more to get them interested.

      • You mean the Prince earned his castle, wealth and chariots; or did he just plain inherit them? I wouldn’t call that achievement.

  6. I think I’ve already told you how much I love fairy tale analysis, but just in case I haven’t, I do – I love this post!

    I always thought the Cinderella effect had the biggest effect on mother-daughter relationships, especially these days. Most of my generation were raised by mothers who mostly were raised with and acted according to Cinderella principles, ie marry Prince Charming, be good housewife. I feel that because things are different for their daughters, their unhappiness might be exacerbated by the fact that (even though they probably encourage their daughters to define their own freedom and happiness) their daughters ARE free to do whatever they like, while they themselves were not. In a world where the daughter’s dreams could come true whilst the mother’s could not, or where the mother was not ‘saved’ by her Prince Charming, contempt (unconsciously) breeds. And this strains the relationship.

    • Wow! That’s really insightful. I’ve experienced that very thing from both my mother and mother-in-law. One of my sisters-in-law wondered if the reason why my mother-in-law was so hostile toward me was because she was jealous that I had done something with my life that reflects my own Interests and talents.

      I may have to write a post on this some day — and quote you.

      And I’m glad you enjoyed the post so much.

  7. “Question:
    Do you think that this means women have it better? Do you think that it is better or easier to be expected to be beautiful than to be successful?”

    I think it goes both ways. Men have it better in some ways and women in other ways. And some deal with issues relating to the same thing but in different ways. Women deal with being slut shamed if they have sex and want sex with different or many different men. Men can be shamed and as failures if they aren’t “successful” with getting sex with women and are inexperienced. Men don’t have to deal with being slut shamed, but women don’t have to deal with the pressure of feeling they are worthless if they can’t get laid or women putting them down because they are sexually inexperienced and not by choice either.

    Women feel pressure to look good in society and to men, men feel pressure to be “men” and be brave, confidence and successful to society and women. The thing I was pointing out is that, just like women feel like they aren’t seen for their worth always by men, a man could easily feel that way too. I mean after all, an attractive, funny, smart man shouldn’t have to “prove” himself to a woman that is no better or above him, but a man feels he has to and to “impress” a woman. Wherese, you don’t feel women have the pressure to show “their worth’ and to prove themselves to the man and to charm him and the pressure on her to make interesting conversation to lead it and keep it going, to know when to buy a drink or this and that so that he will be attracted to her.

    Being expected to be beautiful and successful both are tough. Well as far as beautiful goes, a person is born with their looks, so it may seem like looks can be tougher to change. Though a person can have plastic surgery to their face to look more beautiful, though that doesn’t fix the deep insecurity to do so that is more important on being fixed. But success can be limited too. It can be changed to an extent. Yes people say hard work,blah blah can help you reach your dreams. Well many people work hard, have drive and motivation and a plan and still have mediocre jobs and lives. Sometimes it’s a matter of right place in right time, knowing right people at right time, so luck, plus hard work, plus motivation, intelligence, ability, etc.

    A combination of many things to reach a high pinnacle. And sometimes unfortunately a man can have all this drive, but come to the crushing realization at some point that though he’s got some ability and intelligence, he’s not as smart or talented as he thought or hoped, therefore, the limit of his success in the ultra competitive real world of many people with high intelligence, good work ethic and ability that is better than his. Therefore, many others are the height of success because of their greater smarts and ability compared to him and others.

    • Thanks for your thoughts.

      It seems like I’ve hurt men complained that sex and relationships are easier for women because all they have to do is be pretty. But that has a downside. First because, as you mentioned, it’s not necessarily easy to be pretty. And looks fade over time–so women can have a great fear of aging, Even if they were pretty when they were younger. Plus, a lot of women want to be loved for who they are inside, not just a superficial shell.

      On the other hand, men can feel a tremendous amount of pressure to be successful. Not just to get the ladies but to feel self-esteem within a culture that so values male success.

      On the other hand, there is something to be said for finding people who care more about who a person is in their soul, than the superficial shells of looks or success. But there are people out there, Both women and men, who care more about the soul of a person: are they caring and kind, are they interested in important issues like what really matters in life… These are probably higher quality people to meet, anyway.

      • “On the other hand, there is something to be said for finding people who care more about who a person is in their soul, than the superficial shells of looks or success. But there are people out there, Both women and men, who care more about the soul of a person: are they caring and kind, are they interested in important issues like what really matters in life… These are probably higher quality people to meet, anyway.”

        True, it’s a matter of wanting or being ready for that though. Maybe I and guys have been set to compartmentalize things easier than women. But a man can know and definitely prefer to meet and be with a quality woman, yet at the time want to simply get laid. But him knowing that it’s not because getting laid is what he prefers, but what he wants as in the present moment, but his ultimate wish and goal of being with a great woman and quality person, but saving that for sometime in the future, just not that moment. So he’s not looking for quality at the time thought he appreciates it more.

        All he wants is to not feel like he’s unworthy to women, and he’s just any guy and has to prove himself. Women don’t like feeling they aren’t seen for their worth. Women have sexual worth, but not always an overally worth. And obviously there’s so much more than sex, and while men seem be valued more in an overall sense. I think guy’s howerver don’t have a “sexual worth” or it’s definitely not innate like it is for women.

        I think that’s why guy’s might try to have sex casually more than women or can do so and not be as affected, because guy’s really don’t know their sexual worth and if they are even sexually desirable unless women want to and are having sex with them. Flirting, and interest doesn’t completley prove it as women’s attraction and minds can change upon a man or easier be turned off than men toward women. A woman can find a man hot and funny and be sexually attracted to him and maybe think of kissing him or sexual interest, but a man says something stupid or unflattering and his good lookings and attractiveness can change just like that. It takes much more for a man to not want to have sex with a pretty woman even if she says something stupid or whatever. He’s still has the lust to still want to have sex with her or even date her maybe if she’s pretty. So it seems like even when men maybe stop trying to impress other men when out of college. It seems like a man may still be picking up women or trying to for his own self validation, that’s he’s attractive to the opposite sex.

        I mean unfortunately in a world or way men see it, results are everything and can have meaning of feel they have meaning a person. A man can be good looking, charming, intelligent, but if he’s not attracting women or too shy to do so and not getting dates and sex. Well is he a desirable person? On paper he has the potential and qualities..you know.. good looks-check, personality-check, intelligence-check, charming-, witty/funny-check, good guy-check, etc, etc..but then the lack of success and long dry spells says otherwise. So a man can feel like a bum as a result despite the fact he’s not and has a lot of attractive qualities.

      • It’s not uncommon for both men and women to have sex for reasons other than sexual pleasure. Validation of some sort. A number of my students have written about that:

        Sex with Men, Hoping to Feel Beautiful
        https://broadblogs.com/2014/02/17/sex-with-men-hoping-to-feel-beautiful-2/

        I Wallowed In Self-Pity, Yet I Was A Bombshell
        https://broadblogs.com/2013/11/13/i-wallowed-in-self-pity-yet-i-was-a-bombshell/

        And I have another one coming up in the near future.

        I also think that guys judge their worth based on whether women will sleep with them. But women’s sexual desire is repressed, and most women don’t want just sex– And that maybe because of the repression. So I wouldn’t negatively judge myself based on Women not having casual sex with you.

  8. “I also think that guys judge their worth based on whether women will sleep with them. But women’s sexual desire is repressed, and most women don’t want just sex– And that maybe because of the repression. So I wouldn’t negatively judge myself based on Women not having casual sex with you.”

    Well, not just sex but dates, which could lead to sex. Guys not doing well with women don’t just struggle to get laid, but dates that can lead to it. Well it’s hard for a guy to not feel bad about it even if women don’t want just sex, because well other guys are having sex, so it’s easy for other guys to feel “left out” or maybe bitter and frustrated that they can’t get laid while other guys are. And women supposedly not wanting sex, but then break their own rule and have a fwb thing with some guys or another dude. Plus everybody has an ego, so if you think or thought you’re an attractive person, nice looking, funny, smart, etc, you know should be attractive to the opposite sex, yet your results aren’t going the same way. Well you’re going to get confused and frustrated and question yourself and your attractivness or atleast maybe you aren’t as attractive as you thought or hoped, which could make a man feel down.

    A man’s lack of success can make him feel unattractive like, girls who think they are fat can feel. Works in different ways, but if to make a parallel there it is.

    • Re: it’s hard for a guy to not feel bad about it even if women don’t want just sex, because well other guys are having sex, so it’s easy for other guys to feel “left out”

      But guys vastly overestimate how much this happens. For instance, in college surveys most students thought that the majority of college students were hooking up every weekend. Turned out that the average college student have only seven different partners over the course of four years. That’s far different from the “One new person per week” That everyone had imagined. And pornography gives a false sense that this sort of behavior is common, When it is not.

  9. Another thing I wanted to add, on a different topic but I thought I’d share. Though, well it’s only be a few and minor, but even with the few, minor disagreements we’ve had, I have to admit your site has made me look at and think more about the relations of men and women and our society. Maybe more things as far as what women go through, that might go unnoticed usually or ignored or caused me to notice more things. Basically more introspective in relation to women in everyday places and scenes. It’s not often, but usually I’d just go here or there and maybe see a cute girl or pretty women and think she’s pretty or hot or just look around where I am and people watch, but not usually think or wonder things.

    The body and self conscious though that has been talked about, while I’ve already known about that, I never thought about it in detail. But anyway, sometimes seeing a girl at the gym, or where I might not pay attention, because she’s not really pretty. But now notice and, see the prettieness that she does have, and notice her body isn’t perfect like she probably is self conscious about, but I think she’s still attractive. And it sounds really lame but think “I wonder if she thinks she’s pretty?” “I wonder if she doesn’t like her body and that’s why she’s so hell bent on the workout machines there?” “There are other women there with really fit bodies, does she think she’s not sexy because of this?”. “I hope she knows that she is pretty” And like things that I and guys don’t usually notice, as it seems like women usually seem to think and pay attention to detail and think of stuff of a person. I mean I have before, but now, it’s like the woman can’t be unattractive, but doesn’t have to be really pretty either, and just fairly attractive for me, I don’t know..like I just have become appreciative of feminity but also more empathy too at the same time. The make up, the faces and expressions,the clothes, like trying to read a book with their faces and the disguise women might have on of their daily insecurities and struggles.

    Like the effort I see with girls who are already pretty and wonder if they feel they have to do so, and think “she really has put a lot of effort on her looks, why so?” “She doesn’t need to, she’s prettier than she thinks she is”. I’m not saying this stuff obviously, but what I might think to myself. I see the look of sadness sometimes or sometimes a girl I saw look like she was crying or going to. And I think of the that emotional, sensitivity that women can have and allowed to express, and I how I feel bad when women are hurt, but yet love that same nurturing and sensitivity too that comes from caring about people’s feelings, that guy’s can sometimes repress that stuff due to a stupid macho act.

    • Wow! I can’t tell you how important this comment is to me. I’m so glad to see how the site has prompted you to think about things.

      Relatedly, I just barely read this letter to the editor in the New York Times:

      To the Editor:

      Re “Great! Another Thing to Hate About Ourselves,” by Jennifer Weiner (Sunday Review, Feb. 15):

      I think that I can speak for lots of women who are my age (70) or older.

      We look back at old pictures and are shocked at how beautiful we all were. Not that each of us was a true beauty like Gisele Bündchen, but we were young, with all the beauty that comes with youth.

      But did we feel beautiful at the time? Not a chance. We were too heavy, our hair was too limp, others looked better in their clothes, we looked tired.

      I regret that I was self-critical for even a moment. Of course I understand it, but still, shouldn’t all of us “grandmother types” be telling the women in our lives how very beautiful they are? Maybe they’ll hear it. It’s certainly worth a try.

      MAGGIE MARCUS

  10. After understanding a little background about the Cinderella movie I believe many women during those years were treated as they weren’t important and a man had to save them because they didn’t have no other option. I can agree that the feminist and women from those early years have come a long way. Most women have jobs that they couldn’t have and are changing the rights for women and just to have equal rights. It’s a very important topic because I believe this is still a problem for women in many different countries, most of them are still slaves and do as what men told them to do and are not being equally treated because they have to listen to their man or whoever they have to listen to. I believe we can all reflect and thank the women who we have now for having the chances and opportunities we have now and be thankful that we are letting our voices be heard. I really didn’t understood the message of the Cinderella movie as I have read now. Women had to be pretty and classy so that they can be wanted and I believe in those times looks and the way you presented yourself made you important. Women had to be pretty and classy so that they can be wanted as for the workers they were slaves and ugly and so this describes how looks were a big matter. I thank all my feminists because now we have good equal women rights and we are still fighting through it so that it can be made and can help our ladies to have an equal life as men do.

  11. It’s interesting looking back at childhood stories and seeing they’re messages are different. Cinderella seems to be mostly focused on beauty since it was her appearance in her sparkly dress that made the prince obsessed with her . Its interesting to compare this to a native american version of Cinderella called rough faced girl. In this story the main character is scarred from burns on her face by her pretty sisters. There is a man that sees the inner beauty of the rough faced girl and ends up choosing her over her materialistic sisters

  12. Cinderella is a very popular movie that young little girls love because it’s always about love and a prince. Every girls dream to find her Prince Charming when in real life it’s much so different. Now men are more liberal and less caring to a girl in my opinion because most girls, especially young girls, will think love is a certain type of way when in reality some relationships are just broken and not ment to be. In Cinderella love at first site was the case and in reality love at first site is rare because in my opinion men are more picky on loving a girl by her natural beauty, they always look at their butt or if they have big lips or big boobs then they will be more attracted. Society has changed the way men portrey women.

  13. I personally loved Cinderella growing up. I always loved the fact “prince charming” would come to save the day. I then realized what reality was and people now and days don’t have a happy ever after. I do believe that they have one too many remakes of Cinderella I personally love the original. I see that from the original Cinderella that she was the maid and was bossed around from her step mother and sisters and had to do all the chores and was not allowed out, till she met her fair god mother and everything changed. I also feel that beauty played a huge role in the movie as well. Cinderella was more love at first sight like all the other Disney movies and how they leave with their prince charming. Society has changed since Cinderella has come out men are typically not into natural beauty as much they would have their women happy with surgery or have some kind of injections to make them feel better about themselves.

  14. At school, during halloween time you would always see Cinderella’s the most. Everyone would always be so fascinated with her story how she was basically a servant and then met her prince charming and became a princess. Even know, I still see many little girls dress as Cinderella more than any other Princess out there. How come little girls don’t want to dress as Fiona from Shrek? Because she turns into an ogre, little girls don’t want to be an ogre, they want to be beautiful. Of course they had to make Cinderella beautiful, I don’t think that the Prince would have fallen in love with her if she was as beautiful.Many women now have their careers, are independent and do not need any help from men. But there are still others, some that I know that literally say they are waiting on a man and for them not to work ever again. It is sad that there are still women who think like that since now there are so many doors open for women to succeed in life.

  15. I absolutely love Disney films, but the way that they portray women has been pretty terrible for a long time. Their pretty female characters are always in need of a handsome man to rescue them, and their less attractive female characters are always the evil ones.

    I definitely have friends who still want a Cinderella story. It’s perfectly healthy and normal to want to find the person who you will spend the rest of your life with, but it becomes really unhealthy when your main goal in life is to be swept off your feet.

    I identify as a feminist and am very much aware of the fact that we still have a long way to go in breaking the cycles of oppression that affect women. However, I completely agree that we have come a very long way. It is absolutely wonderful that the percentage of women in STEM and other male-dominated fields has continued to rise. I love that companies like Goldie Blox exist to spark young girls’ interest in these fields. I love that more women are in management roles and politics. Even more than that, I love that women have choices – whether that’s their career, having children, tending to the home, not having children, or some combination of the two.

    It’s also really wonderful to see Disney changing a little bit. Mulan is my absolute favorite Disney film. She follows her own spirit, she’s the one rescuing the men, and the love story is more background instead of the main thing driving the story line. Frozen is another favorite because again, the girls rescued each other.

    I hope that Disney continues in the direction of creating more well-rounded characters and storylines.

  16. I have read and watched the cinderella for many times. And used dreamed that I would meet my prince who was handsome, charming, kind and rich. And the story told me that beauty is very very important. But as I grew up and observed more couples and families, I started to know that that is not true and to question whether Cinderella really had a happy marriage ever after. Now for me is hard to think that I will fall in love with someone just by looks and social status.
    I am not very glad to know that people think feminists were ugly women. But I am thinking at that period time, good looking women might have good social status because they would marry to upper social class men, so they did not want to fight because they were satisfied or did not to give up their benefits. Another reason that people say feminists were ugly might because these women wanted to find their own position and career in the society, but this would damage the males’ benefits in society.
    Now I think women have a long way to go but since we were raised with edcucation and other next generations will have more opportunities to be raised with more education and equality,we still have hope.

  17. Disney princess movies including Cinderella are very attracting stories for women because beauty of princesses causes happy endings. However, I do not like a stereotype that still now in the real world, beauty is a one of the most important things for women. Some women focus on only their looks and try to get their prince charming. I think some of them are not so beautiful because they sometimes do not care about others but their dream lives, but I hope that stereotype is going to change “the true beautiful women are people who have beautiful heart.”

  18. I have a thinking that women in the past and women in the modern life are all the same. They all have potential personalities, potential talents as well as skills. What is the difference then? My answer is how the society has treated the women. For example, in the 1950s, a talented woman has no choice to do with her talent. All she can do is to let her talent die and spend all of her time to stay at home to clean up, cook, wash dishes, and serve her husband, etc. Basically, women back then are not appreciated and no one would give them a chance to show their talents. Thankfully, the world is changing now, women are step by step getting the rights they deserve. We can see that there are numerous singers, actresses, doctors, CEOS, scientists are female. It’s a good sign for women. I hope in the future, women will get even more what they deserve to make up the time in the past they have to suffer.

    • Always good to get support from guys. Thank you.

      • your reply leaves me another thinking. As I grow up, seeing my mom had to stay home do all the house chores and had not much chances to go out meeting friends and building up more relations, I feel bad for her and I also feel there is a little bit unfair for my mom even my dad loves her a lot. Luckily, there is no abuse or violence in my family. So, basically, in the past, how can men treat women like the way they treated. Didn’t they feel bad for their moms, and sisters when seeing they were treated that way? How can men kept passing it forward to let their wives stay at home and do chores like slaves? Didn’t they feel the pain when their daughters were treated the same way? This is just about me curious to know.

      • The reason men don’t do things to change their daughters lives is because the men have internalized the idea that reality, as it is, is just normal. Most people don’t think to question it.

      • I see

  19. Norma Brambila

    After reading this article I had to watch all the Disney movies to see how they can share some similar things in how life was back in the early years. most princesses were always rescued by a prince and were beautiful. Now that I have seen them and read this article we still live in a society were beauty is important and how many women have to be pretty so that they can be accepted or just feel good about themselves. They had to be beautiful because back the beauty was important. it’s amazing how as a child I was fascinated by the princess and the prince charming and now I learn that these movies share out messages that describe how a women may have lived their life. They had to be beautiful and I bet many wished to be saved by a prince, but I guess through Cinderella we now know. Beauty is still very important to people. I learned that women really had to depend on men and be a specific way just to be wanted or accepted. Now I do hope many of our women just accepts themselves and love their appearances, but many changes are still on today so it’s still being done thanks to our feminists.

  20. Cinderella, the quintessential Disney princess, whose rags to riches story is every girls little dream, for a handsome prince to come sweep them away and live happily ever after in a pretty castle. Even though Cinderella was never a “housewife” she was almost identical to the housewives in the 1950s, especially the women who were never meant to be housewives for example women who had the mind any male dominated field. Also when it comes to Cinderella there is another similarity to the community of housewives Cinderella was a white female and when you think of a housewife in the 1950s you think of a middle age white female. It was not until 2009 that they introduced the first black princess, but that is another story. Cinderella represented that a large group of women who were not okay with just being housewives for the rest of their lives. An interesting observation about the powerful women in the life of Cinderella was that they were both ugly and evil or old, in the case of the fairy godmother, which adds to the stereotype of feminist that they wanted to be above men and they were all ugly women who were “only protesting because they could never find a man. “ However today women like Patricia Arquette, Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé and Taylor Swift, women from all different walks of life old, young, black, white, Latina all strive to prove that beautiful and powerful women are feminist too. As much as I love a good Disney movie, the company produced a lot of movies portraying women as fragile creature that needed to saved and kept in a house to keep them safe. Disney is trying to make up for that with movies like Mulan, Brave, Frozen, and The Princess and the Frog creating strong female lead characters rather than damsels in distress.

  21. When I was a kid, my sister and I often read book together with laughing and crying. I remembered the day we read Cinderella together. I was happy to know that Cinderella finally married the prince, but my sister was kind of depressed. I asked her why she is sad. She said, “She is such a beautiful girl, and that’s why she gets a prince. But I’m not pretty.”
    I didn’t take her comment seriously at that time, but now I know that her comment points out the negative aspect of traditional fairy tales. They are just kind and pretty, doing nothing brave or smart. Should it be the way to get a prince? Someday I’ll read my daughter to sleep. I wish I could read some fairy tales that is more interesting and motivating than Cinderella.

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