Cinderella is not my favourite princess.
There, I said it. (Don’t hate me.)
There’s no denying her life is hard and she must have some saint-like qualities to put up with her wicked stepmother and awful stepsisters, but – and this is my problem with her – she doesn’t do anything except dream of something better. Of course, it’s important to have dreams for your life and I hope to teach Poppet and Pixie to have big dreams, but Cinderella seems quite content to dream her life away.
Everything that occurs in the film happens to her, as if she’s not really an active force in her own life. If not for the mice and birds, she wouldn’t have a ballgown for Anastasia and Drusilla to rip to shreds.
If not for her fairy godmother, she would have stayed at home in her tattered gown and dreamed of better days.
If not for the mice (again) she would have remained locked in her room until the Duke left.
If left to her own devices, nothing in her life would have changed. I don’t want my daughters to get the idea that other people will make their dreams come true.
Poppet and Pixie have a fabulous fairy godmother who is also their hairstylist extraordinaire. (She works magic with their curls, and I won’t deny the life-changing power of a good haircut, so if you’re on the East Rand and looking for a stylist, ask for AC at Pasquale.)
However, Cinderella’s uncomplaining servant heart is a quality I’d like to foster in my little princesses. I want to teach them that serving others is not the same as being a doormat. And I’d really like them to sing happily while tidying up instead of moaning about it.
Cinderella is kind and loving, more qualities I’d like to instill in Poppet and Pixie. She looks after the animals – even Lucifer, the mean cat. She doesn’t shout; she doesn’t even raise her voice. She forgives her stepmothers and stepsisters for their cruelty to her.
So, despite her passivity, we can still learn from her. And there’s nothing wrong with dreaming – as long as that’s not all you do.