Cinderella Sexism Analysis

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Writer Ngozi Adichie says a feminist is a “person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes,” meaning both sexes are treated equally. “Cinderella” does not portray women as equal to men, rather it suggests that a woman’s value highly depends on a man and teaches girls to become patient victims. For instance, it places attention on a woman’s chastity, beauty, passiveness, as the story accepts abuse, discourages powerful women, and insists on a double standard.
In “Cinderella”, a woman’s worth is identified with her chastity. As Cinderella’s glass slipper is the most famous symbol in “Cinderella”, it is also the most sexist. In Perrault’s version, the prince uses the glass slipper as the only proof that Cinderella was truly the princess he danced with at the ball (Lecture Notes, 5/11/17). Further analysis can interpret the glass slipper as a sexual symbol, like the “key in the lock” (Lecture 5/11/17). Since Perrault specifically made it a glass slipper, its brittleness and fragility can be an analogy to a woman’s virtue. During Perrault’s time, a woman’s virtue is so sacred to men, that one’s future would be shattered like glass if their reputation is tainted. This qualifies as an antifeminist symbol as it places much pressure to keep one’s virtue because men have said it would devalue her.
The men in “Cinderella” also value women for their beauty. The prince has a ball for all the maidens in the land to find his future wife, which “amounts to a beauty contest” (Lieberman 386) for a new trophy wife. While some argue that Cinderella’s rebellion of going against her stepmother’s instructions of staying home shows that the story has feminist qualities, the prince weakens her achievement when he chooses her only because of her beauty as “girls win the prize if they are the fairest of them all” (Lieberman 385). Her need for independence is transformed into the prince’s need for a pretty wife, making her again an object in her family. Once integrated into the prince’s family, Cinderella goes from the maid of her family to the smiling porcelain doll next to the prince as the “first job of a fairy tale princess is to be beautiful” (Röhrich 110). This gives the impression that the only way
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