Tuesday, 26 June 2012
Golden Girl Project: Cinderella
This is not only referring to the fairy tale princess "Cinderella", who we've grown to adore. This isn't really about the Disney princess Cinderella although I might touch on it. This is about the real Cinderella or (plural) Cinderellas. I can identify four Cinderellas in our history, but you might see others.
There's four types of Cinderella.
1. Rags to riches
2. Beauty transformed
3. Magic and enchantment
4. Moon goddess symbolism
The first is about the story of a poor girl, treated badly by her ugly sisters and step-mother. She becomes a beautiful dancer at the palace ball, wearing a magical stunning gown with glass slippers. Then the prince loses her and goes in search of her at midnight. The only thing he finds is a glass slipper that Cinderlla lost in her flight. Now the prince searches the land by getting women to put on the slipper. It doesn't fit anyone except the girl in rags. Then she becomes this transformed princess. There is a lot of transformation going on. This occurs a lot in fairy tales. It's usually the men who shapeshift from bears, beasts and frogs into princes.
The second "Beauty transformed" is the case of Cinderella's contact with a fairy godmother. This friendly being helps Cinderella to go to the ball. She turns Cinderella's ragged dress into a beautiful ball gown. Cinderella appears at the ball, so lovely that everyone in the palace watches her. The prince falls in love with her. Yet she can't remain beautiful and dressed up for long. Later in the story she again becomes the girl in rags. The prince who searches for the mysterious dancer finds the girl in rags instead. This is a mushier sugar coating of deception.
My third view of Cinderella is about "magic and enchantment". This fairy godmother is like a visiting goddess. She appears when the others have gone. The pumpkin turns into a stage coach. This pumpkin is symbolic of witchcraft and magic. The creatures such as lizards, newts, rats and mice are transformed into footmen and coach driver. This is very typical of fairytales that men turn into animals and animals turn into men. Women turn into princesses or crones.
The moon goddess or goddess of night, is found buried in this traditional story. She's the fairy godmother and Midnight is the key to the plot. Glass slippers are symbolic of wealth. The story of Cinderella has altered over the centuries though. The fairy godmother was the spirit of Cinderella's own mother in different versions. The Brothers Grimm wrote the version of Cinderella that we're fmailiar with. Earlier Perrault wrote Cinderella.
So the four Cinderellas that I've noticed in reality probably don't bare any resemblance to the fairytale. Real life has its tragedies and it's darker plots. The main subject is about the Golden Girl Cinderella, a symbol of this type of woman: Cinderella as a woman can be rags to riches, transformed beauty, magical and enchanting and very flamboyantly dressed up as well. The colours are Red and Gold. Glass slippers are an element or object that resembles mirrors, crystals and diamonds. The pumpkin is a vegetable of harvest as well as a tool to of the supernatural. A carved pumpkin was used originally to keep ghosts away.
Here is my outline on the four Cinderella's from history:
Jeanne Antoinette Poisson
This lady was better known as "Madame de Pompadour". She lived in the 18th century high life from rags to riches (or really just middle class to high class). She's famous for being a courtier and the favourite girlfriend of King Louis XV of France. She was involved in things like planning development, politics and the arts. This was a very clever, career orientated business woman from over 200 years ago. She was a fashion icon for her era and wore the most lavish clothes. Her signature styles reverberate today with "pompadour" hairstyles.
Who was supposed to have said "Let them eat cake". She was born an Austrian in 1755, a daughter of a Holy Roman Emperor and a queen. She married King Louis XV1 and she wasn't very popular in France. She had an extravagant lifestyle with vices and gambling. There was political reasons for others not taking to this queen of France because many disapproved of her being an Austrian. There tends to be, on reading her biograpy, shows her isolation from the French and comes across as an unhappy queen. During the French Revolution, she was imprisoned and beheaded.
Fast forward to the 20th Century, the next Cinderella is both "rags to riches" and "beauty transformed". She's an icon of Hollywood and a blonde bombshell. Her real name was Norma Jean Mortensen. Starting out as a young married model with brown hair and a pretty smile, she became the screen goddess that we know. She turned from a brunette 'girl next door' type to a shining blonde vision on screen. She has a distinctive look that women continue to copy today. It's as if a goddess was reborn in this woman. Her life later on took a down turn and no longer was a fairy tale. She was involved in politics and then ended her life at the age of 36.
I don't believe the British monarchy has ever had such a widely loved member of the family before, until Diana. (To me Princess Diana resembles the Cinderella from Disney). This was a fairy tale princess. The wedding was very beautiful to watch and I was only a small child. The life story of this princess is almost like the fairy tale but without rags, cinders, pumpinks, ugly sisters, shoes or magic. Her life ended in 1997 during a fatal car crash.
This post of the Golden Girl Project with 4 different women instead of one. That is because I can see a pattern with Cinderella and these four women. Maybe others don't agree. Maybe some will see a link of each woman with different characters.
The main theme is definately about transformation to meet her dream lover. This is many girl's wishes come true. What underlines this is the transformed beauty, recognising the inner goddess, finding self esteem and glowing confidence. While she was in a pretty ballgown, all was an illusion. She was actually dressed in rags but no one else noticed. Midnight is when the facade fades, and it has time limits. This says magic is brief and temporary but worth it. For noticing your potential, you can be anything you want to be, even for one moment, so people remember you and love you with that particular time in memory.
The goddess figures here as the fairy godmother, and Cinderella's mother, or a fairy. Fairies have long been associated with goddesses and nymphs. This fairy helped Cinderella and answered her wishes. Magic and enchantment can be real and not just fake. Dressing up and acting up is one way of appealing to those you want. The story appeals to the female populace as it's about a party girl who feels out of place but she does go there. Cinderella might be about the quest for true love and a shift from girlhood to womanhood. The absent father, the cruel step mother and sisters show it's time to leave and be whisked off by a prince. Cinderella reveals the magic of being a woman and how a woman can find her inner princess.
(Edited to include last paragraph at 01:35 on 27/06/12)
Bibliography for Cinderella
(The image at top is from a Ladybird publishing "Cinderella" book cover.