In defense of “Cinderella”: is she really a weak Disney princess?

Here is the Twitter thread in which I found this video.   It’s a good explanation of why Cinderella, far from being weak and shallow (only interested in a dress and a man), is actually incredibly brave and a wonderful example of a strong woman who was her family’s scapegoat and eventually, through her own strong will and by remaining a good person, escaped from her abusive family and still retained her compassion and humanity.

Twitter thread by Lia (edited for clarity):

Cinderella gets a bad rep for being considered a weak Disney princess; a bad role model. But she’s literally one of the strongest! think about it.  She was a victim of being abused by her stepfamily for years, yet still remained a kind and caring person throughout all the verbal and mental torture.

Cinderella overcame her situation in the 1950 Disney classic due to retribution for her kindness and optimism. She remained positive through it, truly believing one day she would have the opportunity to escape her family and make her life better for herself every chance she got.

“She waited for the prince to come and save her” is one argument used against her.  But no, she didn’t wait for the prince to come save her. She wasn’t even looking for a man the entire film. She just wanted ONE night of fun to completely enjoy herself by going to this ball.

Let me remind you of this: when Cinderella went to the ball and danced with Prince Charming, she wasn’t aware of who he was and it wasn’t her intention to fall in love. She thought she was dancing with just some guy and didn’t discover he was the prince ‘til she got home.

My point of this thread in defense of Cinderella is many people hate on her because she didn’t physically fight back or run away.  But look at the time period she lived in.  Women weren’t considered as men’s equals and seen as nothing but the purpose of being a housewife (cook, clean, etc.)

If she had run away from her childhood home, where would she have gone? She would’ve been completely homeless with no money to her name.   Even though she didn’t want to stay, she knew having a roof over head and at least being fed was needed to survive.

In conclusion, if you’re a parent or teacher, reconsider listing Cinderella in the “weak Disney Princess, bad role model for girls” group.   Cinderella was a strong character who overcame being abused and dehumanized for years through her kindness, and found her own way by using the other slipper she had to escape.



17 thoughts on “In defense of “Cinderella”: is she really a weak Disney princess?

  1. Anyone who looks down on Cinderella should look down on Harry Potter. Both were children raised by oppressive “caregivers.” Both overcame, partly though the help of benevolent forces who looked over her. In Cinderella’s case, it was the fairy godmother. In Harry’s case, it was Hagrid. But bottom line, they had always been some kind of royalty in exile.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I completely agree! Harry Potter also has a great message of a seemingly “weak” or “passive” character actually having the most inner strength and overcoming adversity and abuse. Harry’s background is very similar to Cinderella’s.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That is an interesting take on the story, and accurate. Another such tale of escape and finding unexpected refuge could be Snow White. Beauty, if I recall right, is sent to the Beast as a sacrifice and triumphs through her ability to discern the character behind the appearance. There may be more.

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    • Good point about Snow White.
      I think her stepmother (notice they are never the NATURAL mothers, that would be too upsetting for kids) was even more evil than Cinderella’s because she actually plotted to have Snow White’s killed (and have her heart delivered to her – that definitely could be taken as symbolic, since the Queen has no heart and SW has a big one). I haven’t tried to psychologically analyze who the 7 dwarves could actually be…parts of herself?

      Liked by 1 person

        • Grimm’s Fairy Tales used to scare me as a child.
          I hear they were based on folklore surrounding the Black Forest of Germany, a forest much darker than most due to the high number of very dark green conifer type trees and how close together they were. Inside the Black Forest there is very little light.

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          • The Black Forest and the Reinhardswald. From the article:

            “In that reading, the bleak forest is an unpredictable realm full of challenges that must be overcome. But does that make it evil? Well, that depends on your perspective. The forest is home to wild creatures, and humans have long been wary of what might lurk there, say experts.

            “‘The Black Forest is not called the Black Forest because it casts dark shadows,’ explains Uwe Schmidt, a professor of forest history at the University of Freiburg in southern Germany.

            “‘If you look at a painting from the Middle Ages, hostility toward the forest really jumps out. The forest isn’t even painted because it’s “black” — or uncivilized and inhospitable.’

            “In contrast to today’s cities, in which green spaces and trees are treasured, wild nature was not welcome to the settlements of the Middle Ages. For instance, medieval Freiburg had virtually no trees, although it is literally in in the Black Forest, says Schmidt.”

            Seems the people of the Middle Ages were afraid of the forest.

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      • The Dwarves may be sensitive new age guys, except Grumpy, maybe, but clearly male but non-threatening. There are stepmothers all over the Grimm’s tales. That may reflect the common situation in those not so distant times of fathers remarrying due to mothers dying in childbirth.

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  3. Dear LuckyOtter and Friends, Cindy-bashers need to get a life. There’s nothing wrong with a woman who wants to marry a decent man, and have a few nice dresses.
    Back in junior high (early 70s) i couldn’t help but notice that simply wanting to be a girl, and wear nice dresses, was rather frowned upon. It was like unspoken, but the message was clear: girls’ pursuits should be about the same as boys. Not validating at all to any girl who wants to use her education to someday help her children with their math and literature homework, and do the bookkeeping and taxes while her husband runs the auto-center.

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    • You’re right, of course, but the point I was trying to make is that Cinderella, despite being traditionally feminine, had a lot of inner strength and was able to help herself out of an abusive situation.


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