Ever since its release in 1950, Disney's Cinderella
has been decried by critics as being as a bad influence on children (particularly young girls).
In the 1950s, Dr. John Kershaw, an English medical officer, argued that, "The expectation of meeting a dream lover and automatically living 'happily ever after' keeps children from being taught 'to realize the difficulties and responsibilities of marriage.'"
More recently, Cinderella has been attacked for the "princess culture" that it cultivates. From the Sentinel & Enterprise
Assistant English professor Joe Moser said he believes Disney's "Cinderella" is a patriarchal, cautionary tale warning American women against being too independent. Released in 1950, the movie came shortly after World War II, a time when many women took jobs outside the home because the men were away. Moser thinks some of the aspects of the film were a push to put women back into their supposed place.
"Cinderella is remarkably passive throughout the entire movie," Moser said, adding that Prince Charming didn't take much of his life into his own hands either and relied greatly on his father.
Rather than make her own dreams come true, he said, Cinderella waits for others, such as her fairy godmother, to do the work for her, and trusts that things will turn out right.
The message it sends is that it is best to buy into the status quo and that one's dreams can be achieved by following the rules set by previous generations, Moser said.
critic Peggy Orenstein has even written a bestselling book on this subject, Cinderella Ate My Daughter
To the best of my knowledge, I've never seen Cinderella
. Perhaps I should consider myself lucky for having escaped its poisonous influence.
Chicago Daily Tribune - June 1, 1954