Cinderella Is A FIERCE Feminist Icon

Cinderella Is A FIERCE Feminist Icon

She's not even kind of a damsel-in-distress.

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The general consensus seems to be that while modern Disney princesses such as Moana, Tiana, Merida, and Mulan are independent ladies and positive role models for young girls, old-time Disney princesses (particularly the three who debuted while Walt was still around) are to be dismissed as demure damsels-in-distress who children should not be taught to emulate.

It's hard to argue that Snow White or Aurora (from "Sleeping Beauty") are heroines in charge of their own story, especially since both of them contain the highly questionable plotlines of a prince kissing them while they sleep and consequently becoming their savior. Cinderella often gets lumped in with these princesses—after all, her happy ending came in the form of marriage to a prince, after she lived most of her life as an obedient servant with no agency. Surely this is not a tale which would inspire young women to live boldly and defy sexist expectations of them, right?

Not so fast.

Let's start at the beginning of Cinderella's story. She was orphaned at a very young age and subsequently forced into serving her step-family in a situation that can hardly be described as anything other than slavery. For a decade at least, and during her most formative years, Cinderella endured horrible abuse, humiliation, and had zero agency over her own life. That kind of trauma cannot be overlooked. People frequently cite her dreaming of living in a castle as evidence she feels she needs a prince to save her. I find this to be a huge logical leap, considering Cinderella does not once mention wanting a man to save her.

Cinderella courageously holds on to her hope of a better life no matter how difficult life is for her. Her stepmother and stepsisters have treated her like dirt for years, telling her she was ugly and useless. Nevertheless, she refused to believe them. That kind of inner strength cannot be overstated. This is a way in which Cinderella rebels—she does not allow the cruelty of others to get under her skin.


An extremely dark scene of the movie which I rarely see discussed is the violent destruction of her first ball gown by her stepsisters at the instruction of their mother. A joyful Cinderella shows her handmade dress to her stepfamily only for them to humiliate her in a sequence which has all the same sentiments as actual assault. As she begs for them to stop, her stepsisters tear her dress to shreds, degrading her, and leave her in tatters and tears.

Her fairy godmother, as we all know, comes to her rescue with a new gown and free transportation, but it was still up to Cinderella to decide whether she would allow her abusive stepfamily to stomp all over her or if she would hold on to her inner courage and defy them. The kind of psychological (and in the case of the dress scene, debatably physical) abuse she endured can make a person a shell of themselves, believing they are completely worthless, and while no one is to blame for how they respond, Cinderella serves as an example that believing in oneself can always come from within, no matter the circumstances.


The most important (and badass) moment is, for me, the climax of the movie. Cinderella's stepmother locks her away when the Grand Duke, along with Prince Charming's doorman, come to give the maidens of the household the opportunity to try on the glass slipper. Nonetheless, Cinderella is able to escape by enlisting the help of her secret weapon, her animal friends, yet again. When she finally escapes and at long last can try on the glass slipper, her stepmother causes it to break. All hope seems to be lost until Cinderella, in one final act of defiance against her stepmother, pulls out the other slipper, which she had kept safe, knowing it might one day come in handy.

Prince Charming, mind you, is not even present during this scene.

Prince Charming does nothing in the whole story but dance with Cinderella, vow to use the missing slipper to find her, and then marry her in the final moments of the movie. In a sense, he fills the role that Snow White and Aurora do for their movies—they are characters defined almost entirely by their romance with someone else, waiting in the wings as the prize for the character who does all the heavy lifting.


Disney's 1950 classic could have featured a simple and demure young lady who is rescued only by the bravery and smarts of her prince. This Cinderella is quite the opposite. "Cinderella" is a story of a young woman who rises from the ashes of trauma and tragedy to take control of her destiny. To show the world that she was so much more than what her abusers told her she was. Imagine how powerful this is for young girls, especially those raised in abusive households. Even when they can't fight back physically like Mulan or Merida, they can hold on to psychological and emotional strength like Cinderella.

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I'm The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

You raise your protest picket signs and I’ll raise my white picket fence.
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Social Media feeds are constantly filled with quotes on women's rights, protests with mobs of women, and an array of cleverly worded picket signs.

Good for them, standing up for their beliefs and opinions. Will I be joining my tight-knit family of the same gender?

Nope, no thank you.

Don't get me wrong, I am not going to be oblivious to my history and the advancements that women have fought to achieve. I am aware that the strides made by many women before me have provided us with voting rights, a voice, equality, and equal pay in the workforce.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Who Would Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

For that, I am deeply thankful. But at this day in age, I know more female managers in the workforce than male. I know more women in business than men. I know more female students in STEM programs than male students. So what’s with all the hype? We are girl bosses, we can run the world, we don’t need to fight the system anymore.

Please stop.

Because it is insulting to the rest of us girls who are okay with being homemakers, wives, or stay-at-home moms. It's dividing our sisterhood, and it needs to stop.

All these protests and strong statements make us feel like now we HAVE to obtain a power position in our career. It's our rightful duty to our sisters. And if we do not, we are a disappointment to the gender and it makes us look weak.

Weak to the point where I feel ashamed to say to a friend “I want to be a stay at home mom someday.” Then have them look at me like I must have been brain-washed by a man because that can be the only explanation. I'm tired of feeling belittled for being a traditionalist.

Why?

Because why should I feel bad for wanting to create a comfortable home for my future family, cooking for my husband, being a soccer mom, keeping my house tidy? Because honestly, I cannot wait.

I will have no problem taking my future husband’s last name, and following his lead.

The Bible appoints men to be the head of a family, and for wives to submit to their husbands. (This can be interpreted in so many ways, so don't get your panties in a bunch at the word “submit”). God specifically made women to be gentle and caring, and we should not be afraid to embrace that. God created men to be leaders with the strength to carry the weight of a family.

However, in no way does this mean that the roles cannot be flipped. If you want to take on the responsibility, by all means, you go girl. But for me personally? I'm sensitive, I cry during horror movies, I'm afraid of basements and dark rooms. I, in no way, am strong enough to take on the tasks that men have been appointed to. And I'm okay with that.

So please, let me look forward to baking cookies for bake sales and driving a mom car.

And I'll support you in your endeavors and climb to the top of the corporate ladder. It doesn't matter what side you are on as long as we support each other, because we all need some girl power.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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The Prosperous Pussy Hats Are More Problematic Than You Think

Before wearing these hats, think about what you are really saying when you wear them.

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This past weekend was the third annual Women's March all around the country. Women from all over came to their nearest march with handmade signs and wearing knitted pussy hats to show off their "pussy power". While I do see the intention of the hats and that I am fully aware that two years ago when the first Women's March was relevant with Donald Trump's statement about grabbing women by the pussy, there's quite a lot that many people are missing when they wear those hats today.

The biggest thing that should be pointed out about the pussy hats is that they make the assumption that women are entirely defined by their genitalia, which is something that I thought feminists were supposed to fight against. Since the hats have those connotations attached to them, they are often seen as trans and non-binary exclusive. This, along with the fact that they also exclude women of color since every pussy hat is pink, give an exclusionary image to the feminist movement that many people would think the movement has grown out of by this time. But unfortunately, it hasn't, and many women have yet to learn why the pussy hats are outdated.

I have seen many women who claim to be feminists openly exclude trans women from conversations about women's rights, along with saying blatantly transphobic statements, so I was not so surprised when seeing many women at the march still wearing those pussy hats (along with holding signs that say "the future is female" but that's an article for another time). I hope that one day, more and more women will realize the problematic connotations that the pussy hats hold and the hats will be ditched by the movement for good. Although I hope, I still understand that it is more than likely that it will not happen and it makes my stomach sink every time.

As I said before, I have seen many people wear the pussy hats at the Women's March when I went this year. While I was making my sign to take to the march, I made a promise to myself that I would not accept one of those hats because I was fully aware of the racist and transphobic connotations that the hats had. I wanted to go to the march with the intention to fight for all women and with the realization that not all women have vaginas.

The biggest thing I wanted to say about the matter is that I'm super grateful that the Women's March exists and that so many women are supporting it and going to each march around the country every year. I'm upset about the fact that so many women are still missing the point of the feminist movement and what it truly means to fight for women. I would like to end this with my statement I ended up putting on my sign: "If you don't fight for all women, you fight for no women."

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