cinderella complex-my view and analysis of it-with backing by various Cinderella stories-and cultural norms.

Essay by lazymeUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, April 2002

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The "Cinderella Complex" is the largely repressed attitudes and fears that keep women from the full use of their minds and creativity forcing them to wait for something or someone external to transform their lives (Colette Dowling, 1981). Most modern adaptations of fairy tales, as well as original versions, place negative gender expectations on women. Perrault's Cinderella provides an example of how the heroine of the story must be "rescued" by a man of princely matter and helped by outwardly forces to achieve recognition and respect. Its story revolves around the assumption that women should be "beautiful, polite, graceful, industrious, obedient, and passive" (Karol Kelley 649). Cinderella operates as a patriarchal instrument, producing and nurturing a psychological dependence in women.

Providing cultural and socio-historical information, fairy tales have helped perpetuate stereotypical virtues of the "ideal" woman throughout vastly different societies. Cinderella does not bear grudges against her oppressors, the stepsisters and stepmother; she is civil and kindhearted.

Through this plot, a woman is told that in order to overcome such oppression, one must be patient and virtuous and wait for the day the reward to such endurance arrives in the form of a man. Thus, young women are trained into dependency.

The qualities of feminine beauty and virtue are always related with that of conscience. For a woman to be virtuous, she must be beautiful, obedient, patient, sacrificial, and sexually innocent. When a woman lacks any of these feminine qualities, she feels guilty. Dependence therefore becomes a source of freedom from perceived hardship. Instead of becoming independent, women rely on a man as a source of protection, identity, and proof of love (Kelley 648). In Cinderella, the prince validates the womanly qualities through admiration. Her insecurities and hardships vanish at the site of her prince. In order to...