Cinderella, Etcetera

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Instead of asserting herself by standing up to her wicked stepmother and her spiteful sisters and getting a life, Cinderella is a miserable stay-at-home waiting passively for a fairy godmother to transform her, and for Prince Charming finally to resolve all her problems.

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But despite feminist Colette Dowling's controversial theory in The Cinderella Complex, that the story reveals women's deep-seated hidden fear of independence, Cinderella has tenaciously refused to die. Instead, the story has been whittled down and Cinderella herself has undergone numerous makeovers to keep her appeal alive for each new generation. The basic formula can be clearly seen in two recent Cinderella rom coms. In Maid in Manhattan, Cinderella is a good, kind, hardworking but spunky chambermaid, and in Two Weeks' Notice she's you've guessed it a good, kind etcetera lawyer.

In both films she's poor at least in Hollywood terms , and Prince Charming is so wealthy that he doesn't really notice her as a contender to be his future bride until the obligatory ball when she appears transformed in a stunning evening dress and diamonds. She runs away from the ball - another essential requirement - because she feels like she's posing and anyway it would never do if we suspected her of being a fortune-hunter.

Her prince runs after her, makes a few concessions to the modern woman's need for a career the chambermaid can still become a chambermaid manager and the lawyer can continue to do good works and the rest is wealth and glamour ever after.

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Despite the tragedy of Princess Diana, Hollywood is banking on tweens fantasising about being spotted by the world's two most eligible bachelor princes, William and Harry. Traditional fairy tales contain a deep inner meaning for children.

The original Cinderella addresses children's most secret frustrations and resentments. The child longs to be special in the eyes of her neglectful father and is convinced that if it weren't for her wicked stepmother she can't be her real mother or she would be good and her cruel selfish siblings her father would love her and her alone.

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Her fantasy resolution to this impossible conflict is to be magically transported out of this hateful family by a handsome prince whose sole purpose in the story which is why he remains a shadow character is to replace her father and recognise her as special. However much feminists dislike this story, its archetypal significance, at least to children, cannot be denied. The problem with the recent so-called Cinderella stories - apart from the fact that the wicked stepmother and cruel ugly sisters have either been demoted or wiped from the story completely - is that they have been denuded of meaning and context.

All the other rite-of-passage fairy tales, where heroes and heroines face all sorts of tests of character to enable them to learn and change, have been dumped. Instead, the modern fairy tale is exclusively about becoming the most beautiful princess in the land. When I was a child we loved dressing up, as pirates, bandits, bag ladies, even on occasion princesses.

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The fun was that, irrespective of our gender, we could be anything we liked. But now, with Disney's princess marketing targeting girls as young as three with Ultimate Princess kits, Very Important Princess T-shirts, and fantasy makeover Princess Parties overseen by doting parents, a whole generation of little girls is learning that they have to be the prettiest princess in order to be valued and loved. What's really worrying is what these little girls will be like when they grow up. How will they resolve the impossible conflict between being good, kind, hardworking cinder-cleaners, and clawing their way to the top of the beauty pedestal?

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International community must work with interim president to prevent situation deteriorating. The princess is on the way back Sat, Aug 7, , The new Cinderella films just teach girls they must be pretty to be loved, writes Cherry Potter Cinderella, the most popular princess of all time, is making a comeback.

More from The Irish Times Opinion. Capture the taste of Christmas in these cocktail and dessert recipes. Anything is better actually. I ran as fast as I could to where my legs carried me.


I wondered how much trouble I would get in for this. The principal is truly an idiot. How could he believe Drew rather than me? This was ridiculous. Drew was a known bully to this school. I'm sure many students have come to him in the past about her tyranny. But to blame me when most of the food in the cafeteria was plastered to me skin?

That's absurd. I have to thank Thalia and Piper for sticking up for me. Even though they weren't near me, they were there for me. I just wish Percy was there for me too. He should have been my knight in shining armor and helped me up, told off Drew, and carried me to the bathroom so I can clean myself up, and he'd be a gentleman and give me an extra shirt and wait outside the bathroom, then he'd comfort me on our way to the principal's office. But, no. I can never have that. I mean, come on, what are the chances that Percy would care for me in that way? Zero out of zero.

That's how much. I need to stop wishing for something I can't have, but it's so hard. I stepped into the library. It was a bit empty, no one really ever comes in the library during this period. And that was perfect.

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I made my sobs small as I approached the desk. The carpet crunched underneath my feet, calling attention to the librarian. Her head snapped away from the book she was reading. Minerva," I sniffled. Her expressions changed quickly. Her eyes trailed my body and she wrinkled her nose. Then she gave me a look of sympathy. She quickly stepped around her desk and held her arms out as if to hug me.

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Minerva was the librarian yet also my personal guidance counselor. She has black hair and grey eyes like mine. She looked just like me in the face. Thalia said it was almost as if she was my mother, and not Helen gag, she's not even my real mother. Of course, I cried at the hopeful thought.

Minerva was more of a mother to me than Helen ever could be. She was a woman who held herself with poise, wisdom, and pride. She was just like mom.