Cinderella gets a bad rap sometimes. I always find it so discouraging when I see parents teaching their kids that ‘happily ever after’ doesn’t exist. In today’s society of rampant divorce, I don’t blame them. But the truth is, we only get one part of the story when it comes to Cinderella. We hear briefly about her childhood, but the story focuses on her meeting and marrying Prince Charming. People tend to focus on the love story aspect of Cinderella, and disregard the hardships she faced to reach her happily ever after. So please, don’t portray her as a mindless female who relies solely on a man for survival.
Why Disney princesses actually make AWESOME role models.
Pssst….it has nothing to do with Prince Charming.
The truth is, Cinderella is the epitome of ‘Girl Power’. She had to toughen up and work hard her entire childhood, enduring extreme loss with the death of her parents, and slaving away under the watchful eyes of an unloving stepmother. Did she cry and whine or buckle under the pressure? No. She not only remained strong, but she persevered with a grace most of us can’t even understand, let alone have. Furthermore, during this time she managed to be an animal rights activist. Living in an era when women were unable to own their own homes, unless widowed, she was left with the option of running away under the pressure and becoming either homeless or, more likely a prostitute. Instead she remained steadfast and strong, believing in dreams and knowing that life had something better for her. Prince Charming not only provided her with a way out, but more importantly, love. If she hadn’t gone through those hardships in life, I highly doubt she would have had the same character that enchanted Prince Charming in the first place.
Tough times make us stronger. Tough times made Cinderella a princess.
But it’s more than that. Cinderella’s life didn’t end there.
(I mean, obviously it did because this is just a story. But let’s just pretend for a minute…)
Let’s say for argument’s sake, that Cinderella’s story continued. Do we truly believe she lived in the palace as some helpless female after she was married? After the upbringing that she had? Come on….
I imagine Cinderella ended up becoming a champion for women’s rights. For improving working conditions in the factories, and of course petitioning for agriculture, Peta, and more. She would’ve brought her upbringing and beliefs into the palace with her, and because of her the kingdom would have flourished.
I don’t think Cinderella and Prince Charming’s marriage was all peaches and roses either. I DO believe they lived a long and happy life together, but I would bet a million dollars that they struggled like we all do. They fought, they had make up sex, they went through tough times, and they had children who tried their patience like the rest of us. The problem isn’t in teaching our children that they can meet ‘Prince Charming’. The problem is teaching our children that ‘happily ever after’ means there will never be any bad times. Happily ever after can still exist, with marital fights and all. Just because you fight with your spouse, doesn’t mean your marriage is any less wonderful. It’s enduring through those fights, those tough seasons, that leave you with a lifetime of happiness when you look back. THAT is what makes a true Prince Charming, someone who will endure the good and bad times with you. Someone who you can look back together in the end, and say – we did it.
Snow White, Aurora, and even Ariel tend to come under criticism for their lack of strength in a female role as well. But here is what I think…
The next chapter, based on their newfound marital status…
– Snow White = Champion for the disabled. Gun Control activist. Anti pesticides and chemicals, with FDA regulations on food
– Aurora = Working Class equality. National Wildlife Federation advocate. Forest conservation
– Ariel = Clean water act. Anti dolphin organization. Beach erosion.
It’s not just about meeting a handsome prince. That is just one chapter, in a lifelong story.