Forced to clean her entire life, Cinderella hardly seems like a powerful figure. Unable to escape the horrible treatment of her stepmother, she relies on other people ( i.e. her fairy godmother and her prince charming) to change her life for her. Not exactly an ideal feminist character. Cinderella is the conventional women frame women are trying to break out of.
In the blog post written be entitled “Cinderella the Feminist”, Scott Tyler argues that, against popular belief, Cinderella is actually a feminist. He ask the question that” Why do women so completely dominate classic fairy tales?” They are the star of the story, and the princes are often nameless.
But to this, I would argue, Cinderella still dreams of only the prince. She is lives in horrible conditions for many years, and does not think about escaping on her own. Even when she is day dreaming about her prince, she does not decide to escape to find him. In the Disney version, it is not until the palace official comes to the house that Cinderella was locked up. She already lives in a slum; she could walk out the door anytime.
Women often dream about mysterious guys to sweep them off their feet. She does not take the time to find out exactly who she is marrying. She doesn’t even know his name. In return, the prince can doesn’t take the time to figure out her name. The only way he can identify her is based on a physical features. Her small foot size is unique to the kingdom. This is how she is found.
Another idea that Tyler presented in the blog is that the original story of Cinderella was passed down and told by mothers and female caretakers. They’re not some scheme cooked up by men to hold women back. Mothers of the past were important teachers in etiquette. They taught their daughters to be seen and not heard as well as to find a successful man to care for them. These practices are still relevant for families today and a mainstream idea in the 1950’s United States (The time when the film was made).
It is not until recent times that women have started to gain respect in the working world. By sharing the film Cinderella with future generations, we may be derailing some of the work done by feminist. If women are to progress, stories like Cinderella or many other Disney princesses, should be used as cautionary tales as opposed teaching examples.