You may have heard that the Princesses are all anti-feminist heroines that need a man to save them. Or that Cinderella is particularly weak, not only for needing a man to save her, but for not standing up to her Step-Family. Well I’m here to tell you exactly why you’re wrong about Cinderella.
1. Cinderella Was Kind, Good, and Pure. She took care of them not necessarily because she had to or was forced to do so, but because she was kind, and loved them, even without them loving her in return. She even loves Lucifer, who has absolutely no use for her whatsoever. Don’t believe me? When she wakes him up for breakfast and he implies he is too good to be up so early, she politely tells him that it wasn’t her idea to wake him first, it was Lady Tremaine’s. She also admonishes Bruno for dreaming about catching Lucifer, and sends him out to the barn. Cinderella would not “fight back” because she was full of faith and repeatedly prayed to know what to do in the situation, as told in the Perrault version of the fairy tale. (P.S. right there in the opening credits, it tells you it is an adaptation of the Perrault version, NOT the Grimm Brothers.)
2. Cinderella repeatedly overcomes Lady Tremaine’s piling on of work and, with the help of her animal pals, actually does finish everything in time to make it to the Ball. She never gave up. She kept going until she finished everything they asked of her. She had every opportunity to make Drizella and Anastasia look absolutely dreadful, too, but she decided to make them look their best. Again, Cinderella is good and kind. This is entirely within her character, it isn’t weakness. Believe it or not, kindness in the face of adversity is an incredibly brave trait to have.
3. Cinderella wants to go to the Ball to have fun and get away from servant life. She never once mentions a man, or wanting to meet a man, or even wanting to meet the Prince so he saves her. Literally all she wants to do is have one fun night out of the house.
Cinderella wants to have pretty clothes and jewelry, and that doesn’t make her weak. If anything, it makes her vain. OR….it just makes her a young woman
4. It is Cinderella’s FAITH that conjures up Fairy Godmother, not a MAN. When Fairy Godmother appears, Cinderella has said she has no faith and she is giving up. Fairy Godmother then says, “now, child, you haven’t lost all faith or else I wouldn’t be here.” In the actual Perrault story, she prays to the tree every day. The Disney version has the tree as Fairy Godmother, and she, in perfect Disney Animation form, magically conjures up all the trimmings of Cinderella’s fantasies. She even gives all her animal friends special moments, too. But all of this comes with the caveat that it will end at midnight. Cinderella doesn’t wine or beg for more time or any of that. What does she do? She says “oh that’s more than enough time,” and thanks her profusely for giving her more than she could ever dream of. As of now, more than half way through the movie, Cinderella has not once mentioned a man.
5. She didn’t even know he was the Prince. When the clock starts to toll midnight, Cinderella tries to get away from the Prince she has been dreamily dancing with all night long, and he is trying to stop her. She can’t tell him exactly WHY she has to leave, so she starts doling out the excuses. She says “the Prince! I haven’t yet met the Prince!” And she breaks his grasp and runs away, leaving him dumbfounded that she didn’t realize he was the Prince. She then sprints down the stairs, of course losing her shoe, and makes it to the carriage, where Bruno is frantically trying to get her in the coach. She gets in the coach and they speed away, with the coach eventually turning back into a pumpkin, Cinderella’s dress turning back to rags, and the “people” turning back into animals. Cinderella, again insanely kind, apologizes to the mice, horse, and dog with her, and explains that the evening was magical, even though she didn’t meet the Prince, but it’s all over and life will be back to normal. Gus and Jaq notice the one remaining slipper, and Cinderella looks to the heavens and thanks Fairy Godmother.
6. She SAVES HERSELF. Here’s the biggest kicker of all, A MAN DID NOT SAVE CINDERELLA. She saves herself. Lady Tremaine locks her in her room and keeps the key in her pocket. Inexplicably, Gus and Jaq manage to get into the pocket and get the key out (I have questions, but not the point), and they carry this really heavy key up all those stairs to help Cinderella. As soon as they get to the door, Lucifer shows up and gets the key. The mice and birds all try to stop him, but he’s just shredding them left and right. CINDERELLA tells the birds to go get Bruno. SHE knew that Bruno would be able to stop Lucifer, so she called upon the birds and mice to get him and save the day. Bruno comes inside and races upstairs, stopping Lucifer in his tracks, and getting the key to Cinderella.
7. She SAVES HERSELF AGAIN. She makes it downstairs, much to her Step-Mother’s chagrin. The Duke is very excited to see the tiny feet on Cinderella, and orders the little dude to let her try it on. But for some reason, he sprints while holding a delicate glass slipper, and Lady Tremaine sticks her cane out and trips him, shattering the glass slipper. The Duke is inconsolable, blabbering on about the King killing him, and there’s nothing he can do, when Cinderella says “perhaps I can help.” The Duke whines NOTHING CAN HELP, and Cinderella is all “but here’s the other slipper.” Lady Tremaine has a super fierce jaw-drop, and, of course, the Duke is overcome with glee. The Proclamation says the Prince will propose. The girl is completely free to refuse.
This is the very definition of consent. Cinderella doesn’t have to marry him, she wants to. In fact, the only person who HAS TO marry someone here is the Prince. Remember, up until the Proclamation was delivered to the house, Cinderella had absolutely no idea she had even met the Prince.
Cinderella is not a weak damsel in distress that needed a man to be anything. She was brave and strong and confident. She met someone and fell in love and, sure, we could discuss the absurdity of marrying the first man you meet or marrying at the age of 16 or whatever, but those things do not make someone weak. Cinderella withstood an enormous amount of cruelty, and never lost her kindness, goodness, bravery, or strength. So do you see now why you were wrong about Cinderella?