ByShayLynn Redford, writer at
ShayLynn Redford

Have you noticed how many cinematic adaptations of the Cinderella story exist? More than you can count with 10 fingers, that’s for sure. This brings up the question: Why do we keep coming back to this classic tale over and over again? Some see the repetition of this story as a problem — can’t they come up with anything else to write about? But the story connects so well with audiences — particularly female audiences — because at some point in her life, every girl feels like she’s the victim of circumstances beyond her control. OK, her dad may not have died and left her in the care of a wicked stepmother and annoying stepsisters, but every girl has a “wicked stepmother” and an “annoying stepsister” in her life.

So if you want to understand why we love this story so much — and why Hollywood keeps remaking it — you have to understand how the Cinderella story mirrors our experiences and relates to our everyday life.

A Daydream On Screen

'Disney Cinderella' (2015) [Credit: Disney]
'Disney Cinderella' (2015) [Credit: Disney]

What girl doesn’t want her life to be a fairytale? The exquisite dresses, the dazzling shoes, and the perfect prince is what we stare into space thinking about. Hence, why we love watching the Cinderella story over and over again. We get to feel the magic and romance that makes us giddy, and soar into the clouds of our daydreams for the movie’s run time. Cinderella is not only a story of hope and romance, but the heroine gets her happily ever after! Not only that, the evil stepmother and stepsisters gets what was comin’ to ‘em. Justice is always served in our daydreams . . . aww, everything just works out perfectly!

We Are Not Defined By The Title We’re Given

Without Cinderella’s consent, she was given the title of a “servant girl." She was forced to do the chores, the cooking, and to sleep among the cinders. Because she was a servant, no one noticed her or thought she was important.

'Ella Enchanted' (2004) [Credit: Buena Vista]
'Ella Enchanted' (2004) [Credit: Buena Vista]

As viewers from the outside in, we sympathize with Cinderella and wish she could be the person she aspires to be. That is the beauty of this fairytale — despite what she’s considered, she is who she wants to be. She’s positive and helpful to all; when she’s frustrated she does what she loves, even if her stepmother forbids it. And because of this strength, and not succumbing to the title she has, she is able to break free and give herself the ending she deserves.

At one point or another, we might feel placed under a title that attempts to describe who we are — something that acts as an anchor pulling us down, and we feel we can’t reach our full potential. Cinderella shows us that we are stronger than that anchor. This story gives us a sense of freedom even if we feel like we are being tied down by something.

Life Is Unexpected, But Miracles Do Happen

Cinderella’s journey from rags-to-royalty was a path of unexpected turns. First off, she didn’t know becoming a princess was even in the cards for her. She starts out healthy and happy with loving parents, but in a blink of an eye her world changes — her parents die, and she’s an orphan and servant to a stepmother and stepsisters. Living in this situation doesn’t make any kind of saving seem plausible. But we all know how this story ends. Through her bravery, a Fairy Godmother, and a Prince Charming, miracles took place.

You can plan your day out to a tee, but it is guaranteed that it won’t happen exactly as planned. Like it or not, life is unpredictable. We don’t know when something bad is going to happen. We don’t know if we’ll spill spaghetti sauce all over our favorite t-shirt on the day we wear it. We don’t know if we are about to lose our job because the company found someone more experienced to work for them. We just don’t know! But we must not lose hope.

As we witness Cinderella’s miraculous journey, we can find comfort in knowing there will be small miracles through unexpected events. A friend dropping off cookies on the day we are feeling depressed, having the wonderful aid of Spray-and-Wash to remove a stain, and being offered a new job, are just some of those small miracles to help us overcome those hiccups along the way.

The Cinderella story solidifies that miracles do happen and that there are “Fairy Godmothers” to help us along the way.

You Can Overcome Poverty

The United States Census Bureau estimated there to be 43.1 million people in poverty in the nation as of 2015, and more than half of them are women. This number is large enough to mean that we are all involved with poverty one way or another. We see this struggle of money in the story of Cinderella, so we love to hear her success story.

Cinderella was a poor servant girl who lived under the “care” of her stepmother and she kept the estate standing. With these predicaments, her rags-to-riches story gives us a spark of hope that we can do it too. And no, it wasn’t all through the prince; you have to realize she goes from having nothing to having everything because of her persistence and endurance. Just watching her overcome her fears and accomplish so much from courage and optimism encourages us to mirror her strength so we can become better ourselves and better our situation.

There Is No 'Perfect Mold' For Friends; They Come In All Shapes And Sizes

Cinderella makes a family of her own through the friends and confidants she acquires. After looking at each version of Cinderella, we see that friends come in all sorts of shapes and sizes — all with their own personalities.

  • In the original cartoon Disney’s Cinderella (1950) and in their new live-action Cinderella (2015), we see the young girl confides in mice and birds. Maybe not the most realistic of things, but a great representation that you don’t have to have everything in common with the people you love.
'Ever After' (1998) [Credit: 20th Century Fox]
'Ever After' (1998) [Credit: 20th Century Fox]
  • In Ever After (1998) Danielle (our Cinderella, Drew Barrymore) is friends with the nearby farmer boy Gustave (Lee Ingleby) and she turns to Leonardo da Vinci (Patrick Godfrey) for help and advice. One of these friends is younger and free-spirited, and the other is older and wiser. This shows viewers that all ages can make a positive difference in our lives.
  • In A Cinderella Story (2004), Sam (our Cinderella, Hilary Duff) always finds strength through a coworker at the diner she works at. The people in your workplace is a family all of its own.

These are just a few examples, but with so much variety it shows us that we can find a friend in anyone. Friends are the family we choose; people to give us strength and courage when hard times hit. Cinderella definitely needed extra help to achieve her dreams, and whether it be a mouse or a famous inventor, there was always someone there for her.

Giving Up Is Not An Option

Cinderella teaches us to not give up. Even though times are hard you need to stay positive and hopeful. Cinderella lives the life of a servant: full of pain, restricting demands, and abuse — physical and mental. If she can go through all of that, then we can finish that paper or presentation we’re procrastinating; we can confront our “ evil stepsister,” we can do whatever it may be. We all have days that we just want to stop trying, but Cinderella reminds us that we can’t just throw our hands up in defeat.

'A Cinderella Story' (2004) [Credit: Warner Bros.]
'A Cinderella Story' (2004) [Credit: Warner Bros.]

In A Cinderella Story (2004) this idea is repeated quite a few times, as Sam (our Cinderella, Hilary Duff) remembers her father’s words:

“Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”

That fear of a raging stepmother or that fear of being embarrassed in front of your prince charming, should not stop you from hitting your home run. That home run is never going to happen if you don’t keep swinging.

Problem Solved: It's A Story Of Hope

When we know we’re not alone in the struggles we have to deal with, we find comfort and hope. Since we all need those things in our life, we don’t mind seeing them over and over again in the books we read and movies we watch. The Cinderella story is definitely a story that all can relate to. It’s full of hidden messages of endurance and strength, showing us that anything is possible and that we can overcome the “wicked stepmothers” and “annoying stepsisters” in our lives — that maybe our daydreams actually can come true.

'Another Cinderella Story: Once Upon a Song' (2011) [Credit: Warner Premiere]
'Another Cinderella Story: Once Upon a Song' (2011) [Credit: Warner Premiere]

After reading this synopsis, every time you indulge in a Cinderella story, these ideas will be more evident to you; you will find the pieces that match up in your life. Cinderella is a happy tale that shows dreams do come true. Even if it is redundant, we secretly all love it. A tale of hope, love, and a happily ever after deserves to be looked at over and over again.

Which Cinderella version do you relate to the most?


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