If the Shoe Doesn’t Fit, You Still Have Your Sisters.

The following blog is a guest post by UMKC student Roda Mohamud. A proud graduate of Southwest Early College Campus, she is currently a first-year student at UMKC, and is exploring a number of possible majors. This blog post draws from a research project she completed for her English 225 class.

cinderellaEveryone’s watched the story of Cinderella while some have read the story. They’ve either watched Brandy or the 1950s Disney version of Cinderella. When I was young, I remember me and my sisters watching the latest Cinderella movie. Whether it was starring Hilary Duff, Anne Hathaway, or Selena Gomez, we watched it. We always watched the movies because we thought it was a fun story about a girl who persevered and became a princess.

However, it turned out we were wrong. We were getting lots of strong messages that weren’t about a girl overcoming hardship. The messages promoted women and sisters putting their relationships and everything aside for a guy. The message that Walt Disney sends out is that stepsisters are ugly and mean to each other and to other people as well. The film also sends out the message that we have to compete with our own sister for a handsome, rich guy by any means necessary. For example, in the film when the duke brought the glass slipper, not only did the stepsisters turn against Cinderella, but they also turned against each other by insisting the shoe was theirs even though one sister’s heel was hanging out of the shoe and the other sister’s foot was completely bent. The sisters in the film were terrible to each other. They always fought, said rude things, and were down-right selfish. This was especially evident in the scene where they were having their music lesson; they fought and called each other names. They didn’t care for anyone’s feelings. The message is to always be in competition with your sisters and for resources in getting “the prince”.

The shoe also appears in a later version of Cinderella by the Grimm Brothers called Aschenputtel. This story has ugly messages of its own. For example, to try to fit the shoe in this story, one of the stepsisters cuts off her heel and the other cuts off her big toe. They did this to marry the prince. Later, when the stepsisters go to Cinderella’s wedding to get some of her fortune, they get punished for their greed by being blinded for eternity.  The message in this story is to sacrifice your body parts for a man who doesn’t end up marrying you anyway. Because of all the ugliness in these stories, I think the sister bond is more significant than getting the man.

As Women’s History Month approaches, we should take a look at ourselves and see if we have that positive sisterhood relationship around us. If we don’t, we should take action in building that relationship or making it better. Sisterhood is about feeling confidant in yourself and sharing that confidence with your sister. Also, it’s having that relationship that no man can come between. Sisters – don’t ever change yourself for a prince.