The Cultural Importance of Cinderella

The Cinderella shoe by Christian Louboutin
The Cinderella slipper by Swarovski
The original Cinderella movie poster from 1950.
Disney’s 2015 live action remake
Hilary Duff and Chad Michael Murray in A Cinderella Story (2004).
Cinderella portrayed by Brandy, 1997.
Cinderella castle at Walt Disney World
The Polly Pocket Cinderella castle from 1995 (I received this for my 4th birthday, and I thought it was so rad).
Scarlett Johansson photographed by Annie Leibovitz.

Cinderella is mythical and she is also an image of social mobility; she is the classic tale of “rags to riches” and she also represents something greater than that – she represents a character of goodness and kindness among people who are petty and unkind. When Walt Disney Animation Studios released Cinderella in 1950, there was pressure to succeed given the standard that Snow White set with that monumental film’s release in 1937. Snow White set an animation standard that is still being taken seriously today. With that said, the aesthetic that Cinderella presented is also highly valuable – the ideas presented are original and fantastical, that is why Cinderella has made such a cultural impact and has stayed relevant today.

From the pumpkin that turns into a carriage to Cinderella’s glass slippers, the imaginary comes to life in Cinderella and this plays a vital role in the creative development of young children. Throughout my childhood, Cinderella made a significant impact. My mother made my fourth birthday party theme Cinderella and I still remember parts of that day fondly, and how fantastical I considered Cinderella. Furthermore, in 1997, the release of Brandy’s portrayal of the princess was remarkable and I consider that film to be one of my favorite made-for-TV films of all time.

Later into the millennium, Hilary Duff’s portrayal of Cinderella in A Cinderella Story was also unique; she played a down to earth high school girl who took orders at a diner and was bullied by the “popular” girls in school. I was 12 years old when that film was released and given the fact that I saw this film before I went to high school, the values that it presented (a down to earth nature) impacted me alongside the other values that the Cinderella character represents.

After I graduated UC Davis, I needed to find a job quickly to make a living, so I worked in a bakery; many days I would work shifts that would be closing the bakery and when I would tidy up to close the bakery, bakers who were ending their shift used to call me “Cinderella” because they always saw me sweeping and making sure everything was in order for the next morning.

Cinderella plays a significant role in how people understand social mobility; she is a character that under a set of circumstances is made to be less fortunate, and surely there is much to question about the fact that she needs a prince to become a princess, but truly, Cinderella does represent more than her story line. She represents an opportunity to consider how important your dreams are wherever you are in your life and the importance of how all dreams are valuable. Cinderella has made a significant cultural impact with this premise, more so than other famous Disney Princesses such as Snow White or Sleeping Beauty, and she remains more relevant than ever.

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