The story of Cinderella has been around for centuries. Yes, centuries. And it has been told in many different variants. While it was originally thought to be created by Charles Perrault with his story Cendrillon in Tales of Mother Goose, which was written in 1697 and supposedly served as a major inspiration for Disney’s 1950’s animated film, perhaps the most famous written Cinderella adaptation was created by the Brothers Grimm. The Grimm Brother’s tale Aschenputtel, written in 1812, paints Cinderella in a much different light than the kinder versions we are used to. As she suffers the horrors of her mother and stepsisters, her father is still alive and does nothing to stop the torment. The young cinder girl’s stepsisters cut off pieces of their feet to fit into Cinderella’s shoe, and, at the end, they get their eyes pecked out by vengeful birds. While that’s definitely not the beautiful tale we know with magic mice and fairy godmothers, it is the best-known origin for Cinderella’s tale. So, how did something so dark transition into such a whimsical story?
Despite some of its darker roots, the story of Cinderella still brings forth hope to many young ladies today while also providing inspiration for some particularly beautiful adaptations, such as Disney’s new Cinderella that released in 2015. So, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Disney’s animated Cinderella, we’re going to discuss the reasons why Cinderella is still so important to our society today.
We Can All Relate to Some Aspect of Cinderella
It’s a tale as old as time. A beautiful young girl gets treated like a doormat, her kindness horribly taken advantage of. Or maybe it’s the tale of the ambitious young woman who finds her way into the life of the rich prince. Perhaps, Cinderella is so important to us today because she’s a reflection of many aspects we see in our lives or the lives of those around us. Frankly, it’s relatable. Many young ladies can relate to being treated poorly. We all start out so innocent in our lives, and it’s hard to find one person who didn’t have their innocence taken advantage of in one way or another. As we age and mature, we begin to value and miss the innocence of the beautiful young princess-to-be. And, in our culture, Cinderella represents innocence, something we’ve all had. There are others who see her struggles as a fight to become one of society’s elite, as a drive for ambition, and they relate to Cinderella in that way. Whatever the aspect, there are many ways to look at and relate to Cinderella in your life. Maybe that’s why she’s so important to our culture?
A Love of Fantasy
Or more innocently, perhaps Cinderella represents our inner child, our imagination, our love for stories, and the ideal of fantasy! It’s almost always one of the first stories that gets read to children, being so incredibly famous for generations. It embodies the ideal fairy tale. It represents fantasy- the fantasy that is important now more than ever in our lives to help us start over after a global pandemic and begin new again. Perhaps, giving our attention to Cinderella means never letting our inner child die. The imagination that sparks from seeing pumpkins become carriages and mice become horses while a poor young girl gets to experience that life-changing night; there’s nothing like it. That feeds our inner child and our positivity and happiness- something we absolutely need more of right now. Cinderella could be our proverbial light at the end of our dark tunnels.
Perhaps, if we let Cinderella inspire us, we can move forward from our harder pasts and experience courage and kindness- experience love and happiness and embrace the fantasy of what the future could be. Just maybe, Cinderella can help us see the goodness in what is to come and change our mindsets for the better. Perhaps, that is why she is still so important to us after all these years.
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