It’s Okay to be Cinderella
Cinderella is one of the best-known fairy tales. There are least 340 variations. Her story was first recorded by the Greek historian Strabo in 7 BC.
Rhodopis was bathing. An eagle snatched one of her shoes, carried it to the sunset, and dropped it into the lap of the Egyptian pharaoh. The pharaoh searched for the owner of the shoe. He found her and married her.
China is credited with giving the Cinderella story a full plot in 850 AD.
A young maiden is mistreated by her stepfamily. A magical force befriends her. She goes to some sort of celebration and looses her footwear. A handsome young rich man finds it and returns it to her. At first sight, they find true love, marry the next day, and live happily ever after.
The plot and characters stay the same, but the details differ according to a country’s culture.
In China, she is Yeh-Shen. In Korea, she is Pear Bloom.
When the French came to Nova Scotia and spread across southern Canada, they brought folktales like Cinderella with them. The native Indians renamed her The Rough-Face Girl.
She has worn mukluk boots, slippers made of golden thread, sandals made of gold, squirrel fur, grass, and class.
She finds her gown and slippers in her dead mother’s sewing basket, in a hole in a birch tree, they fell from a magical tree, they have been delivered by turtledoves, they were inside the mouth of a friendly a crocodile, and a fairy godmother produced them by magic.
She wore a cloak sown of kingfish feathers, a kimono red as the sunset, diamond anklets, and a dress fit for a princess.
The help comes in many forms such as, an eagle, fish bones, a calf, a tree, two turtledoves, a witch woman, an old uncle who flies away into the sky, or a fairy godmother.
Her true love has been a pharaoh, a king, a merchant, a chieftain’s son, and a prince.
In the Grimm brothers’ version, Cinderella walked to the castle, and ran home after the ball. She went to the ball three times before the prince caught her.
Disney used the 1697 French version by Charles Perrault who gave Cinderella a fairy godmother and glass faceted slippers.
Last time I posted about fairytales, I told you how the sweet and innocent little girl Snow White became a warrior.
For a good part of our world history, women were expected to stay home, cook and clean, and have babies.
In the 21st Century, women now have the opportunity take up any career they chose.
Snow White has changed with the times. She is now a warrior who can shoot a bow and arrow. She knows how to fight with a dagger and sword. And she is the one who confronts the evil queen, not her prince.
When Cinderella’s latest movie was released, I thought she too would have evolved. To my disappointment, she had not.
I have since realized that just like Snow White, Cinderella still reflects the times of our culture and doesn’t need to evolve in the same manner as Snow White has.
Cinderella is never a victim who needs to be rescued. She does not wallow in self-pity nor is she tangled in resentment and bitterness.
Her mother taught her to have courage, be honest and kind. Consequently, Cinderella is kind, generous and has a forgiving heart. She forgives her stepmother and sisters for the way they treated her. It is because of her attitude that she is helped out of a difficult situation.
She does not reject the help declaring she’s not worthy. She doesn’t accept the gifts then run to her room and cry because it’s hopeless to try. She doesn’t go to the ball to get the prince.
She happily accepts the help and opportunity to improve her situation. She goes to the ball for the fun of attending a royal gala without any expectations.
There are many beautiful maidens at the ball, but it is Cinderella’s inner beauty that captivates the prince.
Whenever Cinderella and Snow White appear in the same story, such as the TV show Once Upon A Time, they’re good friends. Neither criticizes the other for her life’s choices.
Snow White does not drag Cinderella to war and Cinderella does not try to keep Snow White at home. Each allows the other to be who she is.
In the beginning of the feminist movement, some women, not all, criticized moms for staying home because they were not broadening their horizons.
Some stay-at-home moms self-righteously declared that a working mom had abandoned her children for her career.
Both viewpoints are wrong.
A woman has the right to follow her heart and be herself. It’s okay to never marry. It’s okay to be a single mom and work. It’s okay to be married, have children and have a job. It’s also okay to be a stay-at-home mom and rise the next generation.
Fairytales still reflect the times of our culture.
It’s okay to be a warrior like Snow White and it’s okay to be a princess like Cinderella.
Enjoy your life.
Be who you are.
You’ll never know what you can do or who you are if you don’t try.