In Cinderella’s Defense…

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.

5 thoughts on “In Cinderella’s Defense…

  1. I agree with your interpretation of Cinderella wholeheartedly. And the interpretation you disagree with is wrong on so many points besides the fact that enduring evil and keeping faith and goodness is a great strength, not a weakness.
    There are, in fact, a great many fairy tales (of the Brothers Grimm or other) where the male protagonist is the youngest son, despised and mocked by his older brothers, thought to be half-witted, in an obvious underdog position. Also, the protagonist who succeeds in his quest, whether male or female, almost always does it with help of magic helpers (and the reason they deserve it is pretty often goodness of heart, helpfulness to the weak, courtesy to the old etc., rather than active heroic character traits).
    Besides, I never thought Cinderella was saved by the prince. If anything, she was “saved” by the magic (fairy godmother or the magic of her mother’s grave) which allowed her to get out of the oppressive household and go to the ball. And even that was only an opportunity for her to shine, both through captivating the prince and obeying the rule of the magic by leaving at midnight. The prince had to do his part, too, searching for her and recognizing her true worth eve when she was in rags, showing he wasn’t just a shallow guy blinded by superficial beauty.

  2. Romans 8:28King James Version (KJV)
    28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

    No matter what we face in life, if we keep our focus on Jesus, all things will eventually work for our good. Adversity(tribulation) produces perseverance(patience), which develops character(experience), and then hope.(Romans 5)

    I completely agree with your post of what Cinderella is really about. (My favorite fairy tale, also) I once read a story called “Cinderfella”, which was about a young man whose brothers always treated him badly. He continually worked to be the best he could be, regardless of how he was treated. He developed integrity and character that eventually led him to save a princess (who he then married, of course), because he refused to give up in the face of adversity. If not for the hardships he had endured, he would never have developed the character necessary to face trouble and not back down.

    I think fairy tales teach that, if we don’t try to take them apart too much and end up “not seeing the forest for the trees”.

    On another note…I really enjoyed Before Beauty, and I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series. I would love to sign up for your newsletter (and read the secret chapter of Before Beauty and the Fortress short story), but I cannot seem to find the place to sign up. I can see it on my Kindle, but it will not connect, and I’ve tried three different browsers with your website with no success.

    And…congratulations on the addition to your family! 🙂

    • Thank you so much! That addition is why I’ve been so hit and miss online lately! Lol. And I absolutely love Romans 8. The entire chapter is a gold mine. <3

  3. Great interpretation. I’ve never thought of the backgrounds of fairy tales and how they were shaped by cultural practices we are unfamiliar with, or thought to compare them to scripture. I’m enjoyed your stories Brittany and am looking forward to reading more of them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *