Beauty In Fairy Tales

1580 Words 7 Pages
In the world of fairy tales, the ‘Cinderella story’ often portrays its protagonist as being beautiful and innocent, granting her the ending of ‘happily-ever-after’ with her Prince Charming. Unmatched beauty and subservient innocence have become a virtue for women, a societal expectation. This ideal for women is unfortunately what has been emphasized both in fiction and in contemporary society. In both Roman myths and modern day fairy tales, beauty is an advantageous and essential characteristic and trumps even intelligence and independence. The protagonists of Apuleius’s Cupid and Psyche, Charles Perrault’s Donkeyskin (1695), and Sylvia Plath’s Cinderella (1956) are all expected to successfully catch the eye of their Prince Charming with their …show more content…
There is nothing wrong with lusting after someone who is openly acknowledged as pretty. Even the elder goddesses in the Roman myth are not uneasy about their love, asking whether “it is no crime surely, to sleep with a pretty girl?” (Apuleius 125). The gods are fine with the superficiality of Cupid and Psyche’s relationship, suggesting the normality in their young love. In Fairy Tales and the Art of Subversion, Jack Zipes argues that fairy tales are a “literary discourse about mores, values, and manners so that children would become civilized according to the social code of that time” (Zipes 3). Psyche’s beauty could mean social prestige, power, hierarchy, something that children could hope to achieve through the implicit values in the discourse of these fairy tales. Cupid “has found and seduced a pretty girl,” and knew from the moment he saw her that he was going to marry her (Apuleius 142). In order to obtain such a man as Cupid, Psyche must be pretty; this Prince Charming figure is something that young girls strive for, which gives them the illusion that what is on the outside is more important than what is on the …show more content…
A Prince Charming will then swoop in and take her as their wife after one glance of her or one dance with her. The Cinderella character has no say in her fate and is expected to wait to be rescued by a man that only loves her for her beauty. Adaptations of the Cinderella story continues the enduring theme of virtuous femininity because it’s a princess story, full of magic and romance and gorgeous dresses, where outward looks, other internal characteristics, is the ideal. It is a problem if this theme is the only perspective that girls see in a heroine; however, there are children’s stores such as Maleficent, Pocahontas, and Mulan that emphasize the woman figure as courageous and

Related Documents