Someday my prince will come with my one true love… money.
The story of Cinderella is one of the most well-known and referenced fairy-tales read to children. It has stood the test of time, and when Disney released their version of Cinderella it became an instant classic. Although Disney’s portrayal of Cinderella may not be as gruesome as the original version of the story, the effect on young kids were nonetheless just as traumatizing.
The reason it’s so traumatizing is because of the message it gives. Are you poor? Marry someone rich… preferably a prince.
There’s nothing wrong with marrying somebody of wealth, but when we look at Cinderella closer, the innocent singing to birds and mice facade slowly disappears. Cinderella was forced to be a maid/slave to her step-mother and step-sisters, but dreamed of a better life… which is understandable. So, when her fairy godmother comes and transforms her into a beautiful princess, she attends the ball at the castle. The prince is fascinated by her beauty and she doesn’t even know who he is. Like I’m sorry but he’s the prince how do you not know what the prince looks like?
She has to leave by midnight and then they search for Cinderella until they finally find her and she and the prince live happily ever after… with no prenuptial agreement.
Although it didn’t originate in America, isn’t that the American dream? A story of rags to riches. Is that why it remains iconic to this day? Is everybody Cinderella just waiting for someone to put a glass slipper on their foot? Or at least girls? If it wasn’t the American dream before, is it now?
Tiana’s story has a more career-driven approach to the American dream. The American dream in the more traditional sense. Tiana, from the Princess and the Frog, tells a tale about how hard-work and passion will get you the results you desire. This is also based off of the Disney interpretation of the fairy-tale, and not the original. In the Disney version, Tiana is a working-class woman who has no desire to have a man in her life, but to open up a beautiful restaurant. It’s not until she’s turned into a frog herself that she gets to know Naveen, the prince she meets who is also a frog, and falls in love with him. In the end they get married resulting in both of them turning back into humans, and she gets to open her dream restaurant, and they live happily ever after.
The two have very similar story-lines, both of them were poor and by the end of the film they had their dreams come true. So, which one had more of an impact on society and children? Cinderella. Why? Because work is gross.
Also it should be noted that Cinderella was released in 1950, while The Princess and the Frog was released in 2009. That’s a big time difference, but we’re still talking about Cinderella to this day while people do not bring up Tiana’s story that much.
There are two options when looking at the fairy-tales: date a frog, and then turn into a frog, only to then work at a restaurant for the rest of your life, or magically be in a ball gown and have a prince endlessly pursue you and then become wealthy resulting in you never working again. I’m choosing the second option.
Hey, I didn’t say I didn’t fall victim to Disney’s prince propaganda growing up as well. I just find it interesting that Cinderella and Tiana have a very similar premise of rags to riches, yet Cinderella’s story remains timeless and a quintessential example of what a princess is and what girls should yearn for, but why?
I thought the American dream was to work hard and you can achieve anything you’re passionate about… which is basically Tiana’s story. Women get criticized for being “gold-diggers” yet at such a young age they are taught that you don’t have to be poor if you find a rich guy. Has the American dream changed, or has society been feeding children the wrong information.
In all honesty Cinderella is the animated version of Pretty Woman, you know the one where Julia Roberts is a prostitute. Correct me if I’m wrong, but both weren’t rich, and both of their lives changed when a wealthy man came along. But, I’ve heard a lot of scrutiny about how Pretty Woman is unrealistic because a man would never marry a prostitute because it’s a degrading life choice, and men are better than that. Well at least Julia Roberts had a job; Cinderella was a maid in her own house and didn’t even have her own proper bedroom. Her friend’s were literally rats, and you’re going to tell me Cinderella deserved a prince, but Julia Roberts didn’t?
So what is it? What’s the truth? Is the American dream to work hard, or is it just to wait for a prince? It seems like now more than ever people of all ages are trying to find sugar daddies to support their princess lifestyle they’ve fantasized about. It’s a lot easier than saving up and working hard, and slowly but surely the story of Cinderella has turned into the American dream.