Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The False Teachings of Cinderella

Author's Note: For this entry, I am referring to the version of Cinderella that was popularized by Disney. I thought about writing this after watching Repertory's Cinderella musical with the pre-school kids of the foundation where I work for.

I feel bad that Cinderella was written for the kids.

Okay, okay. I sound like a fairy tale's wicked step mother for writing this down. But please, allow me to share my thoughts about the fairy tale that most of us loved as kids.

Fairy tales are among the most influential tools that shape the way we see the world. As a little girl, I thought that Cinderella's tale was sweet. But as I grew older, I realized it was silly and as a result, I wanted to blame the fairy tale for all my love-related misfortunes as a teenager.

I dislike the way Cinderella teaches kids about love at first sight. In the old times, men attend balls for them to meet brides-to be. But now at this age of wild bars, suave moves and cheesy pick up lines, the tale of Cinderella can mislead so many young girls into thinking that the men they meet at bars are up for serious relationships. (Hmm... So now you can relate, huh?)

Aside from this, Cinderella, among other fairy tales, stereotypes step mothers and step sisters. Nowadays, they are not a rarity. As a result of divorce and single parenthood, they exist in more homes than one can imagine. So I don't think it's best that kids, with their bright, young minds, think of a step mother or sister as someone who's out to oppress kids.

What is even more dislikeable about the tale of Cinderella is the part when Cinderella's misery is ended by marrying Prince Charming. It is silly to teach kids that marriage is the answer to their woes. Because it just isn't. Marriage can even lead to more agonies if it is not done for the right reasons.

Cinderella was oppressed yet, she followed the orders of her step mom. It is again, good that the fairytale teaches the value of obedience. But it is awfully wrong to teach children blind obedience to the point that they become doormats. It is time that kids are taught about their rights and the presence of agencies like DSWD because as we know, many children suffer from domestic violence.

I just think that Cinderella needs to be updated. This story may be a good basis for understanding yesterday's social situation. However, since fairy tales are the most influential pieces of literature made for kids, it might be better to create wise and proactive heroines similar to Mulan and Anastacia.

On the other hand, Cinderella must be enjoyed as a myth and as a children's fairy tale. It shows that good things can happen to people with good hearts. It teaches us to dream and to hope. Because if we're good, then boppity-bippity-bop, our wishes may come true.

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