disney princesses

Cinderella Is A FIERCE Feminist Icon

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


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.

Popular Right Now

PSA: Keep Your Body-Negative Opinions Away From Little Girls This Summer

But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with.


It's officially swimsuit season, y'all.

The temperature is rising, the sun is bright and shining, and a trip to the beach couldn't look more appealing than it does right now. This is the time of year that many of us have been rather impatiently waiting for. It's also the time of year that a lot of us feel our most self-conscious.

I could take the time to remind you that every body is a bikini body. I could type out how everyone is stunning in their own unique way and that no one should feel the need to conform to a certain standard of beauty to feel beautiful, male or female. I could sit here and tell you that the measurement of your waistline is not a reflection of your worth. I completely believe every single one of these things.

Hell, I've shared these exact thoughts more times than I can count. This time around, however, I'm not going to say all these things. Instead, I'm begging you to push your insecurities to the side and fake some confidence in yourself when you're in front of others.


Because our negative self-image is toxic and contagious and we're spreading this negative thinking on to others.

We're all guilty of this, we're with family or a friend and we make a nasty comment about some aspect of our appearance, not even giving a single thought to the impact our words have on the person with us. You might think that it shouldn't bother them- after all, we're not saying anything bad about them! We're just expressing our feelings about something we dislike about ourselves. While I agree that having conversations about our insecurities and feelings are important for our mental and emotional health, there is a proper and improper way of doing it. An open conversation can leave room for growth, acceptance, understanding, and healing. Making a rude or disheartening remark about yourself is destructive not only to yourself, but it will make the person you are saying these things around question their own self worth or body image by comparing themselves to you.

My little sister thinks she's "fat." She doesn't like how she looks. To use her own words, she thinks she's "too chubby" and that she "looks bad in everything."

She's 12 years old.

Do you want to know why she has this mindset? As her older sister, I failed in leading her by example. There were plenty of times when I was slightly younger, less sure of myself, and far more self-conscious than I am now, that I would look in the mirror and say that I looked too chubby, that my body didn't look good enough, that I wished I could change the size of my legs or stomach.

My little sister had to see the older sibling she looks up to, the big sis she thinks always looks beautiful, say awful and untrue things about herself because her own sense of body image was warped by media, puberty, and comparing herself to others.

My negativity rubbed off onto her and shaped how she looks at herself. I can just imagine her watching me fret over how I look thinking, "If she thinks she's too big, what does that make me?"

It makes me feel sick.

All of us are dealing with our own insecurities. It takes some of us longer than others to view ourselves in a positive, loving light. We're all working on ourselves every day, whether it be mentally, physically, or emotionally. But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with, our struggles and insecurities should not form into their own burdens.

Work on yourself in private. Speak kindly of yourself in front of others. Let your positivity, real or not, spread to others instead of the bad feelings we have a bad habit of letting loose.

The little girls of the world don't need your or my negative self-image this summer. Another kid doesn't need to feel worthless because we couldn't be a little more loving to ourselves and a lot more conscious of what we say out loud.

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

In Case You Haven't Heard, My Body Means My Choice, So Deal With It

With all the political differences and laws trying to be passed, based on what a woman can do with her body, demonstrates how the United States decides to use their power and control others by the means of it.


Since the beginning of America, there have always been minority groups, which include African American, Hispanics, the disabled, homosexuals, and women. Such minority groups have made it their responsibility to fight for their rights and earn justice for it. However, there has recently sprung up a debate on abortion policies, attempting to alter and re-write the rules on Roe vs Wade per state to pursue when or if abortion is illegal based on certain circumstances.

Now, I am not writing this in any means to deter you from your individual opinion on this situation or your perspective, but I do believe that I have a voice in this situation since I am a woman and this situation affects me if any of you individuals like that or not. And most of all, I deserve to be heard.

Starting off, in no means should a man, government officials, or anyone for that matter be able to decide what is acceptable to do with my own individual body, EVER. How have we become a country that thinks it is more than okay to tell what others can do based on the decision of another person. See, we have this thing called bodily autonomy which means we have independence over our own body, or at least we should. A prime example of this is when an individual dies, a surgeon can not remove the person's organs (if they were an organ donor) until the designated power of attorney says it is okay to do so. However, it is apparently acceptable and illegal for someone who has become pregnant through rape or in general is unable to care for a child to receive an abortion and loses their bodily autonomy for the following 9 months. How does a corpse have more rights and bodily autonomy than a pregnant woman does today?

Currently, the state of Alabama has passed a bill that makes abortion illegal under any circumstances and committing this now known felony, can lead to a very long jail sentence. In fact, committing abortion in Alabama (for the woman or the doctor) can lead to a longer jail sentence than someone who raped another individual. Wow. How is that acceptable????

Many states are following in Alabama's lead and we need to put a stop to it before it becomes too far. We women, need to fight for achieving our bodily autonomy and band together and show America that we are a force to be reckoned with.

Related Content

Facebook Comments