“No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dreams that you wish will come true”. What danger lies behind these beautiful words said by Cinderella?
Everyone loves Cinderella. Who doesn’t? She is beautiful and has a very kind heart. Don’t get me wrong, I do not hate Cinderella, not would I start a campaign against her either. In fact, I still frequently read this story to my daughter. What I want to highlight here are some of the characters and aspects of the story which may teach our children wrong moral messages. Here are the discussions.
Cinderella is a weak-willed character
“No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dreams that you wish will come true” This is the lyric of Cinderella’s favorite song. Beautiful words, with beautiful message. Believe in dream is good as it can give the strength to go on, and this is exactly what Cinderella does: dreaming. Her belief in dream is so powerful that she didn’t do anything to change her fate other than dreaming and waiting for someone to save her life. She simply lets things going on around her; she lets her stepmother and sisters steal her fortune and treat her as a maid.
Cinderella is lucky to have mouse friends who could sew and a fairy godmother who could turn pumpkin into fancy carriage. With the help of magic, everything comes easy for Cinderella and in the end her dream does come true. This side of the story wants to convey a message that dreams do come true to those kind-hearted people who believe in it. The children, however, may get the wrong message: if you believe in dreams; you only have to wait until the universe provides everything for you. It may takes sometimes for the children to realize that dreaming only will not change fate and to wait forever is not always a wise decision.
Cinderella’s motivation is only to be married by a Prince.
Cinderella shows her weak-willed character from the beginning of the story, but she seems to exhibit a little bit of effort when she hears that the Prince is going to have a royal ball at the palace. This is a romantic motivation. Perhaps, there is nothing wrong with this, considering that the most popular version of Cinderella story is originated in 17th century when the monarch still ruled the world. Marrying a prince at that time may be the only solution to provide the ideal happily ever after ending.
However, when you read this story to your children today, this motivation may sound anti-feminist. I started to question Cinderella’s motivation when I was in 5th grade. Why can’t Cinderella have a more noble cause to fight her life for? Doesn’t she have any other goal in her life other than to become someone’s wife? In addition, marrying a Prince is not only Cinderella’s obsession. Drizella and Anastasia also try to do anything in the world to win the Prince’s heart. I wonder if this side of the story is still relevant in our today’s life, irrespective that such romantic story still wins many children’s heart.
Does the Prince really love Cinderella?
Should Cinderella appear before the Prince with her broom and dirty look instead of her richly extravagant gown and make up, will the Prince still fall in love with her? Cinderella looks very pretty but it is all with the help of magic. What if magic is not available? This side of the story may convey a message to the children that if you would like someone to love you, you need to manipulate your look
Sibling rivalry between Anastasia and Drizella teach violence lesson.
Anastasia and Drizella fight all the time. They are grown up ladies, but still fight like a five years old. They seem to be forever slapping and kicking each other. The slapping and kicking get worse in the Disney’s sequel version, Cinderella III: “The Twist in Time”. Their behavior, dialogue and gesture are funny sometimes. They can make the children laugh. In fact they present some kind of slapstick humor. However, children may mimic the behavior. It may teach violence behavior to the children.
Overall, I still say that the classic Cinderella story is beautiful and has some good moral lessons, but behind this wonderful story, there are some aspects that might not be so good for the children.
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