When poor, frumpy and sad Cinderella lost hope that she would go to the prince’s ball, she sat next to the window overlooking the castle and started crying. She, the most beautiful girl in the whole kingdom, if you could imagine, was locked in an attic room and didn’t know what to do until miraculously, the fairy godmother appeared and worked her magic with the pumpkin and all the rest.
Since then up to now, it has become important for women to fit into shoes, into stereotypes, into beauty standards, and into life as a whole, obviously. What has become important is that dream of the prince and the life in a shiny architectural construction on top of the hill with beautiful scenery and diamond floors. The shoe that, according to Charles Perrault, brought happy family life to its owner is today the same shoe that we put on in the morning before leaving home and becoming explorers of dependences. Or to put it in other words, we continue developing that Cinderella syndrome, also known as the fear of independence.
Nowadays, there is hardly any difference between Cinderellas and their ugly sisters. They, we, you, everyone, or just some of us have adapted well to a specific social group and have developed their existential philosophy of dependences. The fight is already out in the open – in bars, clubs, hair salons, in princes’ beds. The ugly sisters have paid their visits to the department of deformation, enlarging their busts and plumping up their lips, and they have started wearing shoes in smaller sizes. They are now serious competition in the fight for the heart of the prince. Cinderella is irrevocably lost after she has been knocked out of the race, some features of public morals are also lost, and life on the top and dependence on the prince are a priority only for those who suffer from the Cinderella syndrome.
This is the only way I can explain to myself the presence of Cinderellas and their ugly sisters in not-so-well-functioning relationships with men. The Cinderella syndrome has its historical and social roots, which you can find in books, in fairy tales, in houses ruled under domestic violence.
Is the Cinderella syndrome a social phenomenon? Having factual freedom, do we actually manage to be independent? These questions cannot stop overwhelming me, especially on a day like today, when I am trying to fit into a pair of tight shoes. These questions are the ones I am trying to answer on a day like today, when men with castles and expensive cars have proclaimed themselves princes and are out hunting for women, looking for dependences.
I am wondering why no one ever completed the Cinderella story and why no one ever said anything about the life of princesses after the spectacular wedding celebration. I am wondering whether Cinderella was dependent and if we want to be like her.
Text: Steffi Stoeva