I don’t quite know why, but I felt like writing this today. I don’t really know how to explain it; I was just going to write a post on all the possible other jobs that the Disney Princesses could have. But instead I ended up writing a AU (alternate universe) story of Cinderella.
I guess part of the reason why I wanted to write an alternate version of Cinderella was because it is so easy to be wrapped up in a Disney Princess universe about love and balls – and those two words together sound extremely dirty, sorry PG readers. Let me try that again: it is so easy to be trapped in this small bubble of make-up and dresses and ball gowns and princes coming to the rescue that we forget that the world around us has so many more issues. Like this one.
So I thought I’d rewrite a fairytale, this time Cinderella, to just spread awareness of an issue. Just read on:
Cinderella is bonded to serve her stepmother and her two stepsisters. They force her to work and do not let her go to school. The rest of the town are unaware of her condition.
One day Cinderella decides that she is deserving of an education. Her two stepsisters asked her to read a label on a box the morning before and when she could not do it, they laughed and threw their books and pencils at her. When her stepmother was out visiting her relatives in the town nearby, and her two stepsisters were at school, Cinderella sneaks out and observes a class from outside.
The prince of the town is attending the class and realises she is staring in through the window and invites her inside because he thinks she is pretty. At first, Cinderella was naive, she assumed that he invited her in because he was considerate, because, for once in her life, she thought there would be decent people out there in the world. But then when she started conversing with him, she realised that he only cared about the way she looked.
Cinderella went back home absolutely downcast. Furthermore, her stepmother found out and she increases the amount of work and beatings. Her stepsisters are absolutely jealous that the superficial prince paid attention to Cinderella and constantly put spiders in her bed at night.
One day the prince finds out where Cinderella lives. Her stepmother locks her up in her room while she fanfares him. She offers the prince many dowries to marry her daughters, but the prince does not oblige. He is determined to marry Cinderella. In resignation, her stepmother settles a deal with the prince and then brings Cinderella out so as to sell her off. The prince has promised to give the stepmother a few cattle, a generous sum of money and a new maid as an offering.
Cinderella is absolutely dumbstruck, but after some thought she decides to marry him on one condition: she gets to go to school.
It is not a perfect marriage, but Cinderella puts her efforts into graduating high school. She submissively obliges to the prince until she manages this. After which, Cinderella seeks advice from her guidance counsellor and manages to clinch a scholarship to a local college. The prince is unwilling to let her go, but she puts forward a persuasive argument towards her education and the benefits it will have for his kingdom. She is able to do this as, going to her classes diligently, she has learnt the power of rhetoric.
After completing her degree, Cinderella returns to her town with a child protection officer and a lawyer. She manages to sue the prince and get a divorce along with half of the prince’s property and money. The prince was not intelligent enough to get a prenuptial.
Cinderella, an educated and single woman now, with a good start-up fund, creates a non-governmental organisation to raise awareness towards the issue and current situation of child slavery. In her mid-thirties she ends up marrying a man who is also involved in raising awareness towards child slavery.
In the end, Cinderella decided she did not need a glass slipper or a prince or a fairy godmother. She could be her own step out of poverty and slavery, she could be her own Princess Diana and she could, not only grant her own wish, but grant many more wishes to the thousands of boys and girls who were trapped in the same condition as she was.
Till next time,
Photo credits go to Labour Rights Blog