If the Shoe Fits: Why Cinderella is Actually Awesome

Cinderella-Look-Glass-Slippers-1280x960-Wallpaper-ToonsWallpapers.com-

So with Disney’s Cinderella (2015) set to release in theaters today, there is a lot of angry backlash on the previous Disney films (don’t forget Cinderella (1997); along with the whole story of Cinderella. This doesn’t surprise me as Cinderella has been hated on for years, and to be honest, Cinderella may not be my favorite character, but she and her story really do not deserve they kind of abuse they have received over the years. So I decided to dedicate this post on why the tale is not as bad as we make it out to be. So let’s deal with the “issues” of Cinderella one by one.

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

1) Staying in an Abusive Home

Cinderellanecklacegrossripfashion

Everyone I know always asks the question, “if her life was so awful, why would she stay in the house?” Many feel that she is too passive and should have left striking it off on her own. Well there is one big problem with that scenario of leaving, Cinderella didn’t live in 2015, she lived in the 1600s (earliest version) or 1800s (Brothers Grimm). In those time periods there was only three occupations open to a woman; governess, servant, and prostitute.

Governesses were typically well-bred women from poor families, sent to live a life of educating children, moving on to a new family when the old one grew up. For most of these women, by choosing the life of a governess they were signing themselves off as spinsters, doomed to never marry (as one does not marry a governess) and care for others’ children instead of having their own. For Jane Austen fans, think of Jane Fairfax in Emma. Everyone pities Jane as she was educated and raised well, but the only path for her is as a governess, dooming her to a very low class and as mentioned before a life of singlehood and low pay. Even if Cinderella was extremely well-educated (we know she came from an upper class family but are unaware of whether or not she was taught), this field was not something she could do as no self-respecting family would hire a governess without a letter of reference, which her stepmother would never give her. Besides the fact that governesses were often paid poorly, they could be abused by the the patrons- whether the father or son- and dimissed for “wanton behavior” if the patrons attention, i.e. rape, lead to the governess becoming with child. They then would be forced into no other employment but prostitution.

Servants mean domestic and those that served in taverns, pubs, and other eateries. Now I am not including those of trade in this list, such as seamstresses, cobblers, millners, etc.; as these professions weren’t open to the average women but were run by guilds or families, with the same family carrying on the occupation. It wasn’t like today where you can work in retail or food services; go to college and get a degree to work in another field; switching your employment. In those days your father was a tailor, making you (if a son) a tailor, and your son a tailor. People couldn’t just come by and bring a resume plus an example of their work and expect to get hired. Women would typically work in those fields only if their family controlled the business, of course quitting work when they get married.

Instead most women were servants or serving-wenches. Life of a servant was very, very hard and extremely back-breaking work. The servant awoke typically at dawn, before the rest of the family, and worked until way after sundown. Theyprepared the fires in the rooms, collected the eggs, fed the animals, prepared breakfast, did laundry, swept, washed dishes, cleaned the floors, cleaned the windows, cleaned the walls, prepared lunch, dressed the ladies of the house, prepared their toilette, etc. It was extremely hard work and extremely low pay. To make matters worse, servants were seen as property of their employers and were to be at their whim. Those that were pretty were typically raped, and if they became with child (and were unmarried) they would be dismissed without a reference and forever besmirched. Now shows like Downtown Abbey make all those with servants seem really nice and caring, but most people with servants weren’t as involved and didn’t care about them. And rape happened a lot. If you really want to get a view of life as a servant, read Alias Grace.

Then we have prostitutes. This is where most women found themselves when they needed to make money as it was more lucrative than the above places, and was always a way to make money. This was the hardest of all professions as diseases ran rampant, people mistreated you, Madams or pimps could keep all your money or abuse you, you could be raped instead of procured, if you became with child you better hope you had money to take care of the months you couldn’t “work”, and most of all you were treated with disdain, never helped or seen as important to society. Unlike today, where prostitutes are still people and can go to the police if beaten, threatened, or harmed in any way. Back then, if you were a proustitute, people could do anything to you and no one would care. The police would ignore you as you were the “dregs” of society. It was a hard life.

So when you look at it that way, what Cinderella had wasn’t all that bad. She was able to remain in her home, where she recieved food, water, and most of all didn’t have to worry about being raped or dismissed in a moment’s notice. She was protected and well treated in the fact that she was treated better than most servants. Was this what the daughter of the house deserved or anyone deserves? NO. Was it better than most women of her time? YES.

Of course there was always the fourth option of marrying, but with the way the stepmother treats her, she most likely will be recieving no dowry which means marriage choices are limited to zero.

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

2) Only Cares About Shallow Things Like Boys and Pretty Clothes

Getting the picture?

Now this statement really irks me. Everyone I know who hates Cinderella always says that they dislike that she only stands for shallow things like being boy-crazy and wanting to wear nice clothes. Now hold up everyone, nowhere in the book or the original film is she only all about looking good and liking guys. In the original story all she wants to do is go to a ball. With a life of servitude, of course she wants to go out and have a fun time. Don’t tell me that during the middle of the week when you are at school or work you don’t dream of having a fun time Friday or Saturday night. Going out with your friends to a party, club, movies, etc. Well the same for Cinderella. Back in that time servants only had certain days off. They would get typically every other Sunday or so, weddings of their masters and lords, and of course Christmas and Easter holidays. This ball was a big thing, and Cinderella dreamed like to have the opportunity to visit it. She didn’t care about the guys she would meet, never thinking of them; she didn’t think of the fine dress she would wear, as she didn’t own one; all she was thinking of was the fun she would have there-dancing and feasting. Now don’t tell me you have never looked forward to a night of fun-eating, drinking, and dancing.

DreamingCinderella

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

3) They Hardly Know Each Other and are in “Love”

Cinderella

This is also something people always complain about the message it is sending to children. Cinderella and the prince know each other for one night and think they are in love. Well…not exactly. It is true that in the Disney film they only know each other for one night, but in the actual fairy tale they know each other for three days. Now I know some of you are thinking, three days pshahh; but that is actually a long time. Remember, once again that this film takes place in the past and things were done much differently then. Most princes were in arranged marriages at children or teenhood. Each marriage was planned for land, money, and power-love had nothing to do with it. Often times they would never see their bride or groom, but just be sent a portrait, meeting only after the ceremony is completed. Most of the time they wouldn’t even be in the same marriage ceremony, but had it done by proxy-that is having a stand in for the bride or groom. For instance when Marie Antoinette was married to King Louis XVI, her brother played the part of the groom in the Austrian ceremony. So once again, three days is a lot when you would often have zero contact.

And let me point out that if you watch the film again you realize that the “love” Cinderella is feeling is more of a wonderful memory to keep her going. She doesn’t expect to run into the prince again, let alone have him send his advisor with her lost shoe.

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

4) Foot Fetish or Incredibly Stupid Male

cinderella_shoe_gif

Which brings us to the shoe. The part of the movie everyone likes to hate on. “Why does he need a shoe to find her?” “How stupid must he be not to recognize her face?” “Does he have a foot fetish or something?” “Like that shoe isn’t going to fit a thousand other women.”

Well this is actually a more ingenious trick to find someone than you would think.

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

Give me a minute and I will explain. So a lot of the time we think he should have recognized her right away by hair color, face, etc. There is two problems with that, first of all the way the aristocrats and courtiers dressed was all very similar. They often had wigs, hats, head-coverings, and loads of makeup. After the prince seeing so many women in one night, it is easy for him to mistake someone else for his true love, such as with her stepsisters. If they were close in height and build (corsets) had the same color hair, he could easily be confused. Remember this was back when everything had to lighted with candles and chandeliers, it’s not like he saw her in fluorescent lighting.

Besides some people have a hard time recognizing someone in full makeup, hair, and dress when they are used to seeing plain, and vice-a-versa. When I was in high school I wore very little makeup, t-shirts, and jeans. I always left my hair down and naturally straight. For junior prom I went in a gown, had my hair curled and styled, make up done, wore heels and NO ONE I mean NO ONE recognized me in the dim hall. And these were people who encountered my voice everyday. If in that case they couldn’t recognize me, well…I could see the reverse for the Prince.

But that does not cover the shoe debacle. “No,” you still say. “That shoe could fit thousands of other women.” Except it couldn’t. That shoe was designed to fit one person and one only. Now you have to remove yourself from a present state of mind. Today you can go to Payless, Marshalls, Wal-Mart, or whatever and find a shoe you like, purchasing it and you are not the only one as thousands of others all over the country are buying the same thing. Back then it was different. Everything was custom made. You don’t go down to the Payless and buy a shoe or Forever 21 and get a dress. Everything was ordered and made to fit you exactly. Depending on your economic status you either bought the material and made your dress at home, or hired a seamstress to create an outfit for you. The same goes for shoes. Each one was handmade by a cobbler to fit the client’s foot. Feet are actually very unique so the shoe would be designed to fit that client and that client only. Now, would someone else who has the same size feet not be able to wear your shoes, no they probably would, but it won’t fit like it would the client, therefore clearly showing it does not belong to that person.

In fact, as Cinderella does not have a coach in the original tale and runs past the prince home, this is an extremely logical approach. If the girl is running, that means she must live by. If she lives by, than she must have had her shoes made at one of the local cobblers. Thanks to guilds and family businesses, there would only be a few and the prince would only have to approach each cobbler who would recognize their own handiwork and be able to tell him who the shoe goes to. I mean it is a glass slipper only one cobbler probably could make it. It is an ingenious plan and would have worked, if not for that fact that the show wasn’t made by a cobbler, but gifted by Cinderella’s mother in the tale, and a fairy in the film. This of course causes the Prince to have to try and approach every house to find his lady love.

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

5)Waiting Around and a Prince Will Save You

cinderella-wedding-day-shoe

Now this one always gets my rankles up. People complain about Cinderella just waiting around to have a prince save her. Yes it is bad to be waiting around for some guy to come along. But read the story! Watch the film! Cinderella is not expecting some guy to come around and save her, she is living her life and when a nice guy comes around is open to having a relationship with him. There is a big difference in hoping to catch some rich guy who will take care of you (Cinderella’s stepsisters) and having a rich, nice guy come into your life and you being open to being with him. As I said, if you read the story or watch the film, Cinderella doesn’t care about the prince she only wanted to go to a ball. She doesn’t want to catch the prince, but just have fun. She doesn’t try to go after him, he comes after her. It’s him that does the pursuing, not Cinderella. And is it really so bad to be open to love and open to possibilities? No. And let’s be honest, you saw her life, how could she say no? Not to mention he is the future king, it’s kind of hard to say no (unless you are Anne Boleyn)

And let’s give some props to the Prince. Now I’ve said this multiple times when I talk about the Darcy/Lizzie relationship, but the fact that the prince is willing to marry a girl who has been living as a servant for the past few years and most likely isn’t royal…that’s huge! HUGE. It was not done as this was scandal on the household, was a major diss to royal families everywhere that he would rather have a pauper than their highbred daughters, it brought no new money, it brought no new land; in essence it was a bad deal but the prince didn’t care as he loved her. We as Americans, especially those of us living in the west, do not comprehend “old money” vs. “new money”, and are used to two people from different social-economical worlds marrying. But back then, this did not happen. So props to you Prince.

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

So Cinderella may not be as forward thinking or as modern as many out there wish, but for her time period Cinderella and the Prince are pretty awesome. And instead of hating on them you should all hate on the dad. Yep, the dad. If you read the original story, the mom dies, dad remarries, the stepmom is evil, but then we never hear of the dad again. Now in the film they give him a pass by making him dead, but just because he isn’t mentioned again doesn’t mean he died. I think he was a selfish loser and that he cared more about making money, the pleasures of his wife, etc; than he cared about his daughter. That needs more exploring, analyzing, and hating than Cinderella

Well I hope you enjoyed this post. Comment below on your thoughts and views on what I wrote, and let me know if you want another post like this. If you are anti-Cinderella 2015 I wish you a very happy unwatching. If you are going to see it, I am as my niece wants me to take her, I hope it is as good as Disney wishes it to be with their massive merchandising (it’s everywhere). Otherwise happy friday.

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

For more on Cinderella, go to Cinderelly, Cinderelly

For more Brothers’ Grimm, go to Happily Ever Aftermath: Grimm (2012)

For more Disney, go to Well I Feel Sheepish: Chinese New Year

For more fairy tales, go to Heaven on Earth

Advertisements

The Past of a Man: Under Capricorn (1949)

under Capricorn

“The past of a man it is something.”

Now this is an Alfred Hitchcock film that is not as well known or talked about, for various reasons. A lot of people think the story is too melodramatic, and others don’t like it because certain elements resemble Rebecca and Gaslight. However, the reason why most people at the time hated it was it came out right after the news of Ingrid Bergman’s affair with Roberto Rossellini, the impeding divorce of her husband Dr. Petter Aron Lindström, and the birth of her twins by Rossellini. (To read more on that go here.) I on the other hand really liked this movie as I love:

  1. Alfred Hitchcock
  2. Ingrid Bergman
  3. Joseph Cotten

Really now, how can you ever think this was horrible?

MeanGirls I know right!

The title “Under Capricorn” references the Tropic of Capricorn, which bisects Australia. As you can tell now that I’ve explained the title, the film is set in Sydney, Australia during the 19th century.

So before we get into the film, we need to touch on the background history. In the 18th-19th century, England tried to discover a better way to deal with the mass amount of criminal activity and overcrowding jail cells. One thing that England did was hanging. However, people began to get upset about that. Some of the crimes were not really all that bad, but yet people were being given the death penalty. In order to have a harsh punishment, less-crowded jails, and less death-transportation became the way to go. Originally convicts were sent America, but with our revolution in 1776, that option was no longer possible. In the 1780s they started sending people to New South Wales, but with the Napoleonic wars, more labor was needed and they stopped the transportation.

After the war, problems arose again and they turned their attention to Australia. Between 1788-1868, they estimate about 165,000 people were sent Australia from a sentence that was usually 3 years to life (average was 7-14 years). Most people who were sent over were guilty of poaching, arson, robbery, and murder.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

They were usually sent to extremely remote areas to prevent escape and discourage any attempt at returning. While it was allowed for people to return after they served their sentence, most people wouldn’t. More often than not they would create a better life in Australia. Typically, criminals would change their names, get land, farm, and create a brand new life for themselves.

This ended in the 1860s, although it had started to drop off by the 1830s. Most of the areas that were for “convicts”, began to become real towns and attracted better emigrants. (Most of this info came from the Victorian Crime and Punishment website, if you would like to check it out)

Now back to the story.

Under Capricorn

So it is 1831 in Sydney, Australia. Sydney is still a frontier with most of the population being ex-convicts. The new Governor, Sir Richard arrives, bringing along his foppish, indolent, “rich boy” nephew, Charles Adare (Michael Wilding).

It's one of those guys!

It’s one of those guys!

So Charles is hoping that he will make a fortune out here in Australia. While there he meets the gruff Samson Flusky. Samson is a convict that had been transported from Ireland out to Australia to serve his time, for murder.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

But now he is a successful buisnessman. He owns a lot of land and makes a lot of dough. He is highly respected in the community.

Joseph Cotton Under capricorne24se

Anyways, so Samson has now reached the legal limit of land he can purchase and needs to look to new ways in order to expand his business. He wants Charles to purchase the land and sell it to Samson, guaranteeing a good profit.

Under Capricorn

Charles is intrigued by the prospect and agree to the invitation of dining at Samson’s house. While there, he has a pleasant surprise. He knows Samson’s wife, Lady Henrietta (Ingrid Bergman).

Under Capricorn Dining eating

She was friends with Charles’ sister but now has encountered a lot of problems. She is an alcoholic and shunned by society as she is seen to be crazy.

Under Capricorn Aah oh no ugh

Sam decides to invite Charles to visit as much as he wants, hoping it will help bring his wife out of her current depression.

Now Charles has always had a crush on Henrietta and is confused at her crazed behavior and decline. He asks his uncle about what happened to her. Lady Henrietta was the daughter of one of the fine Irish gentry. To the surprise of everyone, she ran off with one of the handsome stable boys, Samson, to elope in England. Lady Henrietta’s brother went after them and was killed by Samson. Instead of the noose, Samson decided to go to Australia.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

Lady Henrietta followed him to Australia and waited seven years for the term to end. After Samson served his years, he was different. He wanted to be rich and to buy everything, but that was never enough. Henrietta was extremely unhappy and began drinking.

Sadface Batman

Now unbeknownst to all, Samson’s housekeeper Milly has a crush on him.

Under-Capricorn-Leighton

She has been running the house and secretly feeding Lady Henrietta alcohol. She is hoping that Henrietta will kill herself, leaving Samson all to Milly.

perfect plan

Charles decides to help try and restore Henrietta’s confidence. At Sam’s urging, he moves into their home. But that’s not all he’s interested in. He has always found Henrietta to be attractive, and now she is vulnerable and needy. He begins to pursue her.

Under Capricorn Kiss

Charles’ work has been going great. In fact, Henrietta gains enough courage to try and take the power back from Milly and put her in her proper place as housekeeper, not wife. Milly turns things around and Henrietta runs up to her room and locks herself in. Charles goes in to talk to her and Milly sees them. She tries to use it to her advantage, telling Sam all kinds of lies about their behavior. This angers Sam, who kicks her right out of the house. (Sam you rock! I always had a soft spot for Sam. I don’t know if it was because he was played by Joseph Cotten or because he just seems like a great guy who has been mistreated.)

Under capricorn

Henrietta is doing much better, and improving more and more each day. In fact she is doing so well, that when she receives an invitation to the Governor’s Ball, she is eager to go. They all get ready, but Sam decides to not go after all. He had purchased a ruby necklace for her, but after overhearing how Henrietta and Charles don’t consider ruby to be the right accessory, he decides not to give it to her. You see Sam has enjoyed having Charles there as he has helped his wife, but at the same time it has been upsetting. With the two together, it makes him realize just how different he and Henrietta are. He thought it could be different in Australia, but sees that moving to a new place hasn’t really changed societal rules.  Sam thinks the rest of the ball will be the same, and that he’ll be too out of his element or that he’ll embarrass himself. He decides to stay home.

Under-Capricorn4

Sad and lonely

At the ball, Henrietta stuns everyone as they all adore her. And more importantly, Henrietta has a great time.

Under Capricorn Dining eating

Back at the house, Milly has returned.

im-back

Milly asks for forgiveness and her job back but also starts talking smack about Henrietta. She tells Samson exaggerated stories of what has been going on between Henrietta and Charles. The two had shared only one kiss, and everything had been instigated by Charles. Milly, on the other hand, insists that Henrietta is the one that has been carrying on and that it has gone much, much further. To further push the issue and him, she tells him that Henrietta is of a different class than her and Samson, and those people do things non-aristocrats could never get away with.

you're evil

I mean seriously this girl is a major jerk.

jerk_alert32

You just need to understand that he loves his wife and back the heck away from him. You- you-

wordICan't say Toy Story

At first Samson shrugs it off. Charles is younger than Henrietta and more concerned about clothing than anything else. But that evil woman Milly keeps pushing him, and when she mentions the differation in classes, that’s where he snaps.

800__shadow_of_a_doubt_blu-ray_04_intense stare angry upset mad creep

Sam goes to the ball, makes a scene, and humiliates Henrietta in front of everyone

under capricorn ball

She returns home, weeping and half-crazed.

Sad and lonely

Sad and lonely

Charles runs after her and tries to help her. He tells her to leave Sam, but Henrietta can’t. She tells Charles that she deeply loves her husband and is bound to him. You see, Sam didn’t shoot her brother, she did.

Say What

Yep, that’s right. Sam has never killed anyone. Henrietta fell in love with Sam as he was kind and handsome. Can you blame her? He’s one attractive man.

MeanGirls I know right!

The two wanted to marry, but it was impossible as Samson was a much lower class than Henrietta. So the ran off to England, but her brother followed them. Her brother tried to kill Samson, but missed and the two struggled. Henrietta took the gun and shot her brother so he wouldn’t kill Samson. Samson took the blame as he didn’t want her to suffer in  jail.

aw cry

Unfortunately, that didm’t actually help. Henrietta couldn’t stay at home, and couldn’t leave Samson by himself so she followed him to Australia. Not only has she been dealing with the guilt of killing her brother, but the guilt of allowing Samson to rot in prison for her deeds. To further this, when Samson came out of prison he was a changed person. This lead to even greater guilt and drove Henrietta to the bottle. No wonder she’s been going crazy.

Sad and lonely

Now even though Henrietta admits this to him, Charles doesn’t really believe her. He thinks it is just her way of trying to protect the man she loves.

When Samson sees Charles in his house with Henrietta, he becomes incensed  for the betrayal and kicks Charles out.

Under Capricorn

Charles steals Sam’s horse and takes off. While riding, the horse breaks its leg, causing Charles to have s a really bad fall. He reluctantly returns to the house and relays the news. Samson goes for his gun to “shoot the horse”, but Charles believes he is going to kill him, as he has “killed” before. The two struggle over the gun and during the conflict, Charles is shot.

Under Capricorn struggle gun

With Samson’s past, he is immediately thrown into prison, to either rot for good or be hanged. Henrietta tries to save him and tells the Attorney General the truth. That Samson has never killed anyone, she did it. This presents a serious problem for Samson. The only way he can get out of his predicament is if he corroborates Henrietta’s story, but then she will be sent back to Ireland to stand trial and imprisonment. If he says his wife is lying, then he will be killed. The Governor is really pushing a conviction as he wants someone to be punished for trying to harm his nephew. The AG gives Samson twenty-four hours to decide.

A no win situation

A no win situation

Back at the house the evil Milly sees the perfect oppurtunity to get Sam. She tries to poison Henrietta and plants a shrunken head on her bed to further scare her. Fortunately, she is discovered and ousted.

Good-bye

Good-bye

Meanwhile Charles has recovered from his wound and vouches for Samson, telling everyone that it was an accident.

Charles is put on a ship back to Ireland, and Samson and Henrietta are now happy. Henrietta has been freed from the poisonous Milly and finally from the guilt of what she did to her brother and Samson. Samson is better as he finally knows that Henrietta truly loves him and that he didn’t destroy her life.

Under Capricorn

All in all, this film really teaches you one thing:

let go past

Yep, sometimes you just need to move on.

1949UnderCapricorn

halloween banner

To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart

For to the previous post, go to Werewolves Roam Among Us.

halloween banner

For more on Alfred Hitchcock, go to Horrorfest III: The Revenge

For more on Joseph Cotten, go to You Think You Know Something, Don’t You?

For more on Ingrid Bergman, go to I’ll Always Be There When You Need Me

For more on the Victorian Period, go to Redone Done Right