Friday, 31 January 2014

Lessons from Cinderella

People often talk about “a Cinderella story” where someone triumphs after a period of obscurity and hardship. In romances, this theme is often played out when the “damsel in distress” is rescued from drudgery and oppression by the handsome hero.

This popular theme in novels can give the impression that women need rescuing all the time from dire situations. Although a spot of rescuing here and there (where the hero of the novel sweeps onto the scene and snatches the heroine from the clutches of the nasty villain) can spice up the plot of a romance novel, I do have a problem with heroines who are spineless and lack spunk.

If we look at the story of Cinderella more closely, she is no shrinking violet. In fact her behaviour indicates quite the opposite:

1) She lives in the moment, and while she is at the ball, she enjoys it, putting out of her mind the worries at home.

2) When she dances with the prince, she smiles radiantly at him, and then brings out his pursuing masculine side by disappearing, leaving a trail of mystery in her wake.

3) She does not chase after the prince like everyone else in the kingdom. In fact, she runs away from him, and the prince is so bewitched that he searches high and low for her until he finds her.

4) She does not try and get a job in the palace… instead she goes back home to her nasty stepmother and ugly stepsisters and continues working there, without expecting the prince to rescue her.

So for me, a true “Cinderella story” should be about a heroine who isn’t waiting to be rescued. She should be making the most of her lot in life, and her positive attitude should be the thing that attracts a good man into her life – with or without the assistance of a fairy godmother.