Cinderella: A Critical View

While it is apparent by this point in our lives that the Disney movies are extremely gender normative and have consequently filled little boys and girls with plans and idea for how they should be acting and wanting out of life. I watched Cinderalla with my sister and inadvertently (and much to my little sister’s annoyance) saw everything under a more critical lens. Cinderella is characterized as weak and spends her day hoping for aspects of her life to change instead of making them happen.  Her salvation comes only in the form of the Prince’s ball and his consequential pursuit of Cinderella. This shows that a woman’s only salvation was either the company of another man or misery.  She epitomizes the central “someday-my-prince-will-come” mentality that portrays women as helpless and dependent on a male figure, almost like a father. Cinderella also shows that male/female interactions are dependent solely on physical characteristics rather than intellectual ones. She makes a whole new dress just to make sure that the Prince will notice her when she is at the ball and only when she dresses in this way does she attract the attention of the Prince.  Because Cinderella’s stepsisters lack beauty, they show that women who weren’t as attractive were generally mean and overlooked by men. Women are also placed in specific roles in society. In a musical number, as the mice are scurrying to make Cinderella’s dress, one female mouse tells a male mouse, who is carrying needle and thread to “leave the sewing for the women.” A simple line like that shows the roles that people feel women should play. Women should be in charge household chores like sewing, cooking and cleaning; all things that Cinderella does in the movie. More so, the movie tells men that they shouldn’t be partaking in these activities because it is a women’s responsibility.


One thought on “Cinderella: A Critical View

  1. kateyschatz

    While I do agree with your critique of Cinderella entirely, I also have to note that its context is outdated, even though the film and story are still popular in today’s context. Cinderella was created in 1950, when the role of the housewife was still dominant in society. Disney has, to some extent, progressed its view of males and females with the new Disney princess films. Tiana, the most recent film, does counteract some of the issues you brought up with Cinderella. While she does cook, it’s so she can run her own business and be a chef (which was thought of as a male profession in 1950). Furthermore, while Tiana is attractive, she’s transformed into an unattractive frog for the majority of the film along with her love interest, proving that beauty wasn’t a factor in their attraction. Small steps for Disney, but it’s definitely progress!


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