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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7 Of The Most Influential Women In History Who Left Their Stamp On The World

6. Daisy Bates

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These are the women who made put the foundation to make our present and future possible. Even today, they still continue to inspire other young men and women. In honor of international women's history month which lasts from March 1st through the 31st, here are seven of the most influential women in history.

1. Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks is a well known African American female who refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955. As a result of her actions, she was arrested which led to a nationwide campaign boycotting city buses in Montgomery.

Her brave actions played a very important role during the civil rights movement that eventually led to the end of bus segregation. Rosa Parks was given the nicknames "The First Lady Of Civil Rights" and "The Mother Of Freedom Movement".

2. Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman was a former slave and abolitionist who escaped from her plantation to lead other slaves to freedom using the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad was a network of secret routes and safe houses that led to the northern states. She dedicated her whole entire life to helping others slaves escape who wanted freedom too. Harriet Tubman also led a secret life as a former spy during the war helping the Union Army.

3. Madame C.J Walker

Madame C.J. Walker whose real name was Sarah Breedlove, an African American, who became a self-made millionaire and entrepreneur. In fact, she was considered the wealthiest African American businesswoman in 1919.

She created her own wealth by developing and selling her hair care products. Madame C.J. Walker stumbled upon her wealth when she tried to find a product that would help with her scalp disorder which made her lose the majority of hair.

This is when she began to experiment with home remedies and store bought hair treatments which inspired her to help others with their hair loss after she saw significant improvement in her hair. She also was a very generous person who helped her community by giving to those less fortunate.

4. Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King was an American activist and writer alongside her husband, the world famous, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, who fought for civil rights through peaceful protest. She supported nonviolence and women's rights movements.

After her husband's assassination, Mrs. King assembled and established an organization called "The King Center" in memory of her husband who believed in non-violent social change. She also led the petition to have her husband's birthday become a federal holiday which was eventually successful.

5. Susan B. Anthony

Susan B. Anthony, a Caucasian female, was a suffragist and civil rights activist. She campaigned against slavery and fought for women to be given the right to vote.

Her role definitely played a vital part in providing for the preparations for laws in the future for women rights. She worked with Elizabeth Cady Stanton to create the America Equal Rights Association (AERA) in 1866.

6. Daisy Bates

Daisy Bates was an African American activist and in 1952, she became the president of the NAACP in Arkansas. As a mentor who played a key role in helping to integrate the school system in Arkansas, she wanted to end segregation and helped do that with the introduction of the Little Rock Nine.

The Little Rock Nine was nine African American students who were enrolled in Little Rock Centeral High School, but the governor of Arkansas refused their admittance. In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled segregation in schools were unconstitutional; however, African American students were still being denied in all white high schools.

In 1957, history was made when Daisy Bates helped nine African American students known as the Little Rock Nine to become the first African Amercians to attend an all white high school.

7. Ida B. Wells

Ida B. Wells was a former slave in Mississippi, African American journalist, and a leader in the civil rights movement in its earlier years. Ida was born in 1862 to parents James and Elizabeth Wells.

In 1892, she began an anti lynching campaign after three African American men were abducted by a mob and then subsqequently murdered. She was a founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People also known as NAACP.

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Women's Rights Have Come So Far, But We Still Have A Long Way To Go

You go girl!

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"Women make up more than half of the world's population and potential, so it is neither just nor practical for their voices, for OUR voices, to go unheard at the highest level of decision- making." -Meghan Markle on the importance of women in politics.

"Perhaps this is the moment for which you were created." -Esther 4:14

Women's History Month is a time for women to celebrate who they are, and what they have and hope to accomplish one day.

Over the years, women have already accomplished so much; the most important being our right to vote in 1925. Thanks to Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Sojourner Truth, we finally get to a have a say in something as big as who gets to run our country.

Another important women's accomplishment is being elected as a Supreme Court Justice. Ruth Bader Ginsburg (who really turned things around for women when she filed that lawsuit that went to the Supreme Court), Sonia Sotomayor (first Hispanic justice), and Elena Kagan can surely be considered a real inspiration to get where they are today.

Third, women have become more and more involved in the workforce ever since World War II. It was the chance for women to show that they were just as good as men! World War II also brought women into the world of professional baseball. Before the war, women didn't play this sport professionally, but once the war started, there had to be something to distract the public- so the women were in! There were strict rules: there had to be chaperones to keep those rules enforced, and they had to attend charm school, but that was the start of women's professional baseball!

Lastly, the need for women to have to answer to their husbands has almost completely diminished. In the old days, women were seen as property, and had to have permission from their husbands for everything! Even in their wedding vows, women had to promise to obey. But what are things like now?


However, women still have a long way to go in terms of changing our male-dominant society.

For one, the United States is yet to have a female president. There have been presidents and first ladies for generations, but never, not once, has there been a female president. Women have been bringing changes to our country since the very beginning, but this is one thing that has yet to happen!

Second, women still don't receive equal pay as men for performing the exact same jobs. Let's face it: women work just as hard as men do (though some may argue that they work harder at times), so they deserve the same amount of reward.

Third, women are still not allowed to sign up for the draft. I know no one would want to be drafted, but I feel like this is how it should be for gender equality. And it's not just the draft: in general, the men in armed forces outnumber the women. A lot of people probably argue that women aren't strong enough for battle which is exactly what they have been proving wrong for so long!

Lastly, the way women are portrayed in the media needs to change. Today, the media has portrayed many heroines in movies and tv shows. However, most of them still portray them as needing to be rescued or needing to acquire something such as a certain look in order to get a man's attention. Also in modern day tv shows such as "Everybody Loves Raymond", they still portray men as the breadwinners and women as housewives. Also, think about superheroes: men outnumber them, too (especially when you consider how well-known they are). There has been progress on this matter with Wonder Woman, Cat Woman, and recently Captain Marvel, and maybe even more if you count Elastigirl, Violet, and Voyd from "The Incredibles" movies.

But, despite all this, there is still more progress to be made. We can do this!

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