Throughout history, Disney princesses have had a lasting influence on women everywhere. Fairytales are a way for literature to uphold the patriarchal conventions of society. These harmless stories presented to children at a young age; establish the normalcy of the dominance of men in their minds. Social conventions and gender roles are all subtle learning’s that are picked up from everyday fairytale. This paper will focus on the contrast of character personality and social norms between two Disney Princesses, namely Cinderella (Cinderella 1950) and Merida (Brave 2012).
‘Cinderella’ Is one of the oldest most well known Disney princesses of all. She is also on of the most helpless princesses ever created. She is subjected to being a housemaid, in a house that should rightfully be hers’. (Since the death of her father) Cinderella was treated worse than a slave in her own home, made to do the dishes and clean the house. Yet she does nothing about it. She listens and obeys her cruel stepmother. All she does is sing a song and feel sorry for herself. At no point in the story does she decide to take matters into her own hands and fight for her freedom.
Cinderella is portrayed as a dreamer. She constantly wishes for a better life. One without her horrible sisters and mother. But most of her fantasies involve finding true love and getting married. She view marriage as the only solution to her problems. Enforcing the idea that a woman without a husband cannot survive.
She grieves over being excluded from the royal ball, she cries endlessly and longs to go for this perverse spectacle wherein woman are paraded and judged according to their beauty. Cinderella longs to find true love and believes that the only way to do so is to attend a ball where the prince get’s to choose his bride on the basis of her beauty. Here we see women are treated as objects merely present to look pretty on a mans’ arm.
Cinderella is a dreamer, but she is constantly waiting on other people to fulfill her dreams. She is incapable of achieving her goals by herself. She depends on supernatural power to transform her into a lady suitable to attend a ball; personally she does nothing to improve her social standing. Cinderella’s entire character is basted on societies notion of beauty and success. she gives into the male stereotypical idea of beauty and is greatly overjoyed by her new sparkly shoes and shiny dress. This reinforces the idea that men do not care for your brains or wit but rather your appearance.
Cinderella accepts a life of domesticity. She does not wish to be free of independent. She has no real interest of her own. She accepts the fact that she will be a homemaker subjected to the will of her stepmother first, and later her husband. All she wishes for is to find a man. Her life’s ambition was to move up the ladder from serventhood to wifehood. Once again we see the importance given to the male figure in the movie and the subtle oppression of women.
Cinderella judges her self worth on the basis of her ability to attract a man. By herself and alone she feels useless and helpless. Even society is portrayed as one that gives more importance to the institution of marriage than the independence of a woman. Society seen as being superficial and male dominant, while women are portrayed as ignorant and weak.
In spite of being treated unbearably, Cinderella still returns home after the ball. Where she decided to wait for the prince to come rescue her. The love of her life, he carries her glass slipper in hope of finding the perfect fit, as he cannot remember what she looks like.
In my opinion Cinderella does not come across as smart, other than her beauty, cooking and cleaning skills she is nothing out of the ordinary. Take away the mice and the godmother and you will notice she does not do anything to improve her own situation. For example, the mice design her dress for her. Her godmother gives her a carriage...