I recently a video tonight objecting to Cinderella. I won’t go into the entire thing (because it was reeeeally long), but the premise was that we wouldn’t read our sons a book about “Cinderfella,” a man who allowed his family to abuse him and then waited for a princess to save him. So why would we read our daughters the same story about a woman?
Now, I’m not objecting to this video because I write fairy tale retellings for a living and it’s bad for business. I simply felt I needed to address the video’s objections to the story.
I recently read a book on how to interpret fairy tales called, Tending the Heart of Virtue by Vigen Guroian. Guroian emphasizes the fact that many of the stories we know as fairy tales have lost much in translation. We lack the cultural understanding to really know what the originals meant. A lot of the (admittedly strange) little details are nonsensical to us because we don’t understand the world and language they were written in and for.
I think this holds a lot of truth for Cinderella.
Here’s my take on Cinderella (my favorite fairy tale, btw). Cinderella isn’t about a woman waiting for a man to save her. It’s about enduring cruelty and not growing bitter. It’s about waiting on God’s time when the world feels like it will crush us. It’s about trusting that God will give us our “happily ever afters” even when evil seems like it has won.
Cinderella’s character is kind, generous, and has the heart of someone who gives of herself to others…even those who don’t deserve it. With her actions, she loves those who hate her, and she refuses to give in to hate.
That doesn’t sound like a weak character in the slightest.
If you want to put it in even more perspective for those of us who believe in God, we as the Christian church are the Bride of Christ, aren’t we? Aren’t we waiting for our Bridegroom to rescue us from this darkness? And while we wait, we are to love those around us even when they hurt us. We are to keep the soft hearts of servants, and we’re to trust that God in His goodness has our perfect ending planned for eternity. Our bridegroom will come, and we will rejoice in His presence forever.
Cinderella isn’t about the slipper. It’s not about a helpless woman. It’s about love, self-sacrifice, and faith. Does that make us weak in the eyes of some? Yes. But read 1 Corithians 1:27.
“But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong”
So yes, I will encourage my daughter to read and enjoy Cinderella. I will teach her to be a strong woman who loves God and others. And I will encourage her never to give in to bitterness, hate, or despair. I will encourage her to be like Cinderella, for those who put their trust in God will truly find their happily ever after.