I come in peace and in no way shape or form am I claiming that Disney was not and is not a huge part of my life, but I have come to realize that major Disney story lines and movies have in many ways shaped my perception of love and life case and point: Cinderella.
It did not occur to me until two years ago when I decided to buy tickets for a play to watch one of my all time favorites, Cinderella ella ella eh. Everything about the performance was incredible from the wardrobe changes to all the performers that I could not help myself from falling in love with the story all over again. As the drama unfolded before my very eyes, I noticed that I was emotionally connecting to the story on a deeper level. After Ella’ found by her prince (thanks to the notorious glass shoe), I turned to my friend who with a very firm expression on her face sighed and said, “It is such a shame that we teach girls from such a young age that a powerful man must save us.”
I could not help but be furious with the truth that the story of Cinderella is not about a woman who saved herself from the wrath of her stepmother and stepsisters or escaped poverty on her terms but rather it was a man, and not just any man, it was a prince who rescued her.
Well, shit. Now my wheels were spinning, and I could not help but be frustrated by the vainness of it all.
Cinderella was noticeably the “prettier” sister of the bunch so what is Disney trying to say, that beauty trumps everything? No no no she was also morally and spiritually the purest of the group. Okay, Disney, I see what you did there but still…without the dress, the shoes, the carriage, and ridiculous get-up, are you implying that the prince would have never noticed her otherwise? Wait, are you also implying that he would not be worthy enough of her love if he were not a prince with tons of riches?
The truth is, I am not sure if we’ll ever know the answer to any of those questions. Although the prince did slip the shoe onto Cinderella’s foot while she wore her regular clothes, it does not change the fact that the first time he laid eyes on her and fell in love was when they met at the ball. One can also argue if her love for the prince was genuine or if she was more mesmerized by the glitz and glamour of it all.
None of this sits well with me and just sounds all too familiar. Here I am: a millennial, young adult who, thanks to society, has been taught that beauty alongside wealth is of utmost importance. On the weekends, women all over the world who are beautiful spend hours stressing over what to wear and getting ready all to appease the opposite sex. And for what? In the hopes that we might find love or a prince charming of sorts? I am over it.
And from this point forward, ladies, I urge you to please build your own damn castle and understand that real beauty reflects from your soul.
You deserve proper gentlemen who can see past the fluff that society inundates us with daily.
Also, on the other side, what are we saying to the men of the world? That their unconditional love is insufficient and that to find the love they seek that they need to be successful and established? Men should not be put up on pedestals, nor be our stepping stones. They are our counterparts. They make us whole, and there is not a damn thing they can buy or give you that will ever make you feel complete.
So to all the incredible men of the world, take the time to find a person who loves you and stares deep into your eyes, who chooses to be vulnerable with you, and only you, versus the individual who sees you as nothing more than their toy.
At the end of the day, real life is not a Disney movie and honestly not beauty nor riches should define love or your self-worth.