The Princess Purpose: Cinderella
“Cinderella, you’re as lovely as your name…” Really though, isn’t this classic Disney princesses lovely in character and attitude and example? Many would argue no, which is why I wanted to highlight her this month because if any princess is continually under scrutiny its her.
Here are some reasons why I think Cinderella truly is a lovely example of courage, hope, forgiveness, and kindness for all people, young and old.
She is Kind No Matter What
In both fiction and reality, many people become mean and even cruel when abused. So it would make sense to see Cinderella turn on her step-family. But instead, she’s treats all with love and warmth.
She is Brave in the Face of Adversity
At young age, Cinderella lost her mother. And it wasn’t many years later she lost her father as well. Right after the second loss, her step-mother turned on her leaving her with less than nothing. Despite this, Cinderella held on to her kindness, no matter what wicked things her step family did to her or those around her.
Her step family tore her down everyday, yet she kept living without showing any signs of defeat. Instead of fighting back or running away—I believe she knew those options wouldn’t have been the safest for her—she made the most of her situation and woke up every morning believing to “have faith in [her] dreams and someday, [her] our rainbow will come smiling through…”
And that my friends is BRAVERY. Knowing someone will hate you, say unkind things to you, treat you poorly, and you choose to love and be kind anyway.
Her Story Isn’t About the Prince
This young woman didn’t go through all that she did in her story to now be called “the worst thing that’s ever happened to feminism” on the internet. People that have this opinion don’t know her or her story. Cinderella’s story isn’t about catching the man! Watch the stinking movie people. It’s just not.
Cinderella wanted to attend the ball because it seemed like it would be “completely wonderful.” She saw the event as an escape from her reality. A place where she could become someone that’s respected and admired.
At the ball, Cinderella meets the prince for the first time. He approaches her, and she has no idea that he’s the prince of the land. Her love for this mystery man quickly blossoms as he treats her with kindness and respect.
I have to note here, I love the additions the 2015 live-action made with the development of their relationship. Ella and Prince Kit develop an interest in each other before the ball, while happening upon each other at the woods. She finds out he’s the prince at the ball, where they develop a closer connection. She makes sure that he accepts her for who she truly is before she agrees to marry him. Plus, they wait a couple seasons before they are finally married (lol).
In either of these versions, there’s nothing about her begging to have a man come rescue her.
Sweetness Doesn’t Equal Weakness
Sadly, many female characters that are traditionally feminine, delicate, sweet, generous, kind, etc., are often considered weak and in need of saving.
Characters who openly cry are also considered weak—which is sadly why many people probably characterize Cinderella as weak. The scene where she runs out into the garden and cries is probably one of those scenes that lead many to this conclusion. But these people forget the important context as to why she reacts this way.
Before she does this, Cinderella is completely rejected by her step family, more than she had been to that point. It was the final straw to just about break her. Not only did they completely separate themselves from her as family, but they humiliated and abused her in a moment where she felt beautiful.
The Importance of Hope
One of the most important aspects of Cinderella’s story was that she never gave up hope.
In the beginning, she hoped that one day she would be accepted by her step family. After the dress-tearing scene before the ball, Cinderella’s hopes are dashed for a moment because she’s shown that her “new family” would never accept her. Her Fairy Godmother arrives to restore Cinderella’s hope to continue on, even if that hope came in a beautiful dress and glass slippers. Sometimes, we each need a little pick-me-up to become ourselves again.
Hope kept Cinderella happy, strong, and kind. If she had lost hope, she most likely would have wasted away in the attic. Her hope kept her alive and set her free in the end.
I’ve said it before and I will continue saying it until I die: Cinderella is one of the most important Disney Princesses because she shows people that things will get better if you just keep fighting, with grace.