Throughout the ages women have always appeared to be victims of oppression by men. There are many cultures and religions that have separate rules for the men and the women. Traditional gender roles have cast men as the providers, while women are the nurturers and stay home to keep the house clean, cook, and care for the children and their husbands. Even the clothes men and women wear are subject to the different rules. Men are free to dress without restraint in order to get the job done, where as women are required to dress modestly - in some religions covered from head to toe, and compelled to cover their hair in others. However, the fairy tale of Cinderella turns the idea of male repression of women on its head, casting women in a position of dominance. It is still a man's world where women must bend to the demands of man, the ball for example. It is in these confines, the ultimate goal in obtaining a suitable husband, that we see what women are capable of doing to one another in order to reach their goals. Women use different techniques in order to keep other women down. As Tony Morrison states she is "alarmed by the violence that women do to each other: professional violence, competitive violence, emotional violence. [She] is alarmed by the willingness of women to enslave other women." (Cinderella's stepsisters, p. 500) In this situation, the women in Cinderella, specifically the step mother and step sisters, dominate Cinderella in many ways: name calling, degradation, mocking, and dishing her false hopes. The story as portrayed in Cinderella by Charles Perrault, Ashputtle by the Grimm Brothers and the Walt Disney adaptation written by Grant as well as the animated film Cinderell...
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Behrens, Laurence and Rosen, Leonard F.Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum. Eighth
Edition, University of California ; copyright 2003.
Prof. Waller Hastings
Northern State University
Aberdeen, SD 57401
Source: Andrew Lang, The Blue Fairy Book (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., ca.
1889), pp. 64-71.
Lang's source: Charles Perrault, "Cendrillon, ou la petite pantoufle de verre," Histoires ou contes du temps passé, avec des moralités: Contes de ma mère l'Oye (Paris, 1697).
Revised October 8, 2003.
Other sources :
1) Walt Disney's animated film Cinderella
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