Friday, March 14, 2008

My problems with Cinderella.

Cinderella is top of mind these days, because it is, by a long shot, my daughter’s favourite movie.
I’ve been subjected to it at least eighteen times, possibly more. The first two times I enjoyed it, the rest, well, not so much.
And now my kid is re-enacting scenes, wants a Cinderella dress, and is trying to get our two cats to sew and wear cute hats.

And while the overall story is sort of nice and uplifting, downtrodden, sweet orphan finds love and happiness with a prince, overcoming her mean stepmother, this is 1950’s Disney.

Cinderella is sweet, demure, saves mice, won’t say anything bad about anyone, and won’t stand up for herself.
Not exactly our ideal of the modern woman.

And for many of us, and now my daughter, it was our first romance.

And while the idea of the demure, endlessly sweet, quietly suffering heroine has stuck around. It’s changing.
Paranormals and urban fantasy have brought a new breed of heroine, one who can be as kick ass as the hero, and as ruthless, but I still find the heroine has far more restrictions than the hero.
The hero can have a terrible backstory, serious angst, and can behave like a jack ass, but I don’t see the same in the heroines from the books I’ve read lately.
It’s changing, but I think a lot of readers out there still want elements of Cinderella in their heroine.
Why not, hell, it’s a great fantasy. A prince is going to sweep us away from our miserable lives.
But right now I want to read a romance about a woman who stands up for herself and in the end saves herself.

I’m all Cinderella’d out right now.

I’m waiting for Mulan to be the hit of the day. Kickass girl saves herself, the army and gets the man of her dreams.

9 comments:

Kimber Chin said...

Have you watched Enchanted?
That kids movie plays up how silly Cinderella really is (if she were "real").

I was dragged to see it by a 7 year old, expecting to sleep through it. Instead I was laughing my head off, enjoying it.

But then, I'm a sucker for musicals also.

Maureen McGowan said...

I feel for you, Sinead... And I think we just have to keep pushing the envelope with our heroines.

Molly O'Keefe said...

oh my gosh Sinead - you're so right. We're indoctrinating our girls so young to want to be Cinderella. Worse - I was a Beauty and The Beast girl - so I was all about sacrificing myself for the greater good. Damn you DIsney. Damn you. Problem is the 50's Disney - particularly when it comes to the princess stuff -- goes down so easy. The later stuff has a lot of layers that three years olds don't get.

Conflicts are simple, motives and goals are simple. Chracters are nice. Weird that the princess 50's disney stuff is so sweet and goes down easy when at the same time you've got Pinochio and Bambi which both scared me beyond repair at a young age. Dead mothers and little boys turning into donkeys.

I'm with you - get Mulan on rotation as soon as possible.

I'm looking forward to Enchanted -- someday I'll be able to stay awake long enough to see a whole movie again.

Sinead M said...

Kimber, looking forward to Enchanted, although my 3 year old probably won't sit through it yet.

and Molly, Bambi, oh my God, the therapy bills... can't go there, possibly ever. Even Dumbo was sort of awful... he was taken from his mother...
I loved Beauty and the Beast as well.
She's also developing some love for Shrek, which I don't have any problems with.
As far as romances go, it's pretty spectacular..

Kimber Chin said...

Oh... a caution about Enchanted.
There is a part with a dragon that some kids found a bit scary.

I know you're likely one of those responsible Moms who prewatches the movies but I like to be careful.

Once I reco'd The Santa Clause, not remembering that Santa "dies" at the beginning. I think I scarred my friend's kid for life.

Not one of my finer moments.

Kristin said...

My *son* is/was in love with Mulan. And I couldn't be more pleased. A boy who liked a tough girl? Yay!

His favorite scene was when she cut off her hair. :-)

I think he watched it over 30 times around the ages of 2 or 3. And he still likes that one, and the kid is in 2nd grade.

My daughter was never really into the princess stuff, although she is girly and likes all things pink/purple. That was one big relief, to tell you the truth. I was a total tomboy as a kid, so I would have been completely clueless about the princess obsession.

Molly O'Keefe said...

Kimber - nothing can be as scaring as Bambi. Nothing.

I am totally unprepared for a princess girl. I think I will love it but it's so foreign from my mom experience right now that it seems totally crazy.

I took my son over to visit sinead and her girls the other day and Sinead's oldest wanted desperately for Mick to notice her beautiful dress and Mick was far too busy ramming a school bus into one of the cats...

Marcy said...

I watched Mulan for the first time last night with my daughter and was pleasantly surprised. She is a kick-ass heroine...and my daughter loved her! Yay! The only problem --now she want to learn karate. I know Mulan didn't use karate, but to my daughter, any kind of fighting is karate.

Now that's a good twist...a karate fighting Disney heroine! Do you think we'll ever see the day?

Sinead M said...

Marcy, I believe we will see a karate fighting disney heroine..

Mulan was a good step in that direction.

too funny about Mick and Claire. Yep, they sort of find their gender about twoish..

My daughter keeps acting out scenes from Cinderella, with me in the role of evil stepmother..
not sure how to take that one..

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