Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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Cinderella Fairytales have been told for generations to children of all ages for many reasons; values, dreams, enjoyment and hope. Cinderella is one of the most favorite fairytales told and studied due to over 700 variations of the story. The most widely known tale of Cinderella is the version written by Charles Perrault in 1967; an exciting tale of innocence and hope for a beautiful and abused little girl, who was saved by her prince. It is surprising to find that such a fine story could bring stereotypical criticism to itself.

Karol Kelly, a professor of women's history brings criticism to this tale when she correlates "Pretty Woman," a film from 1990 to the fairytale Cinderella. Kelly claims the movie is demeaning to women and the feminist movement that has come such a long way with equal rights since 1960 when it began. The main characters of the film are Ed, a wealthy prestigious hero and Vivian a poor, helpless heroin who depends on a man to save her, both similar characters to the Cinderella story.

She continues to point out similarities between the film and the fairytale stating that Pretty Woman is more updated, for example "in the openness of sex." Arguing, Kelly shows that women in movies who are powerful are either "silly" or "evil" such as the fairy godmother and the stepmother in Cinderella, (651) she then states, "Males are seen as rescuers; females are more passive." (651) Furthermore, Kelly argues that Vivian "has neither power nor identity and her feisty personality indicates counter phobia, a fear of being helpless, rather than independence." (651) Surprisingly, Vivian possesses even less power than Cinderella. In conclusion, Kelly maintains, "Cinderella expresses the gender expectations of the 1950's. Pretty Woman demonstrates that feminist ideas are...