Disneys Cinderella castle scaled
Disneys Cinderella castle scaled

Editorial: Is the New Cinderella Too Heavy Handed?

Is the new Cinderella (see it on Amazon Prime) too heavy handed? Caution: Spoilers abound in this editorial.

There’s a new Cinderella in town. Once upon a time (1950), Cinderella focused on escaping her evil stepmother, getting a fancy new gown, and going to the ball to meet (and happily-ever-after-marry) the Handsome Prince. Cute when I was five.

In the new and updated Cinderella, just released on Amazon Prime Video, Ella wants to achieve entrepreneurial success and the ball is a networking event brimming with well-heeled potential customers and influencers. What about the Prince? He’s OK, she thinks. He’s a customer. (He bought a gown at triple the stated price and gave it to his sister but only after first suggesting Ella lower her price.)

Ella’s deepest wish is that everyone get to know her name and visit Dresses by Ella to fulfill their fashion fever dreams. But alas, all the retail establishments in town (with their blatant all-male signage, including lots of “Brothers” and “& Sons”) are run by men. When our heroine attempts to engage in commerce, she’s accused of theft.

The new Fairy God “mother” dress is Ella’s design, versus the classic which deemed Cinderella’s own dress not good enough. (Yeah, yeah, I know. It was torn apart by the stepsisters, but come on, FG. You’re magic. Fix it; don’t replace it. That always annoyed me.)

There’s more. So much more. (For example, ask me about the sister’s view on clean energy, climate change, and defense spending.)

Yes, it’s a lot. But right now, women are dealing with a lot. If the new Cinderella feels a bit like a slap upside the head maybe it’s because we can’t afford to be subtle.

  • Women-founded companies are still getting a tiny percentage of venture capital. How tiny? Less than three percent.
  • The number of women running Fortune 500 companies clocked in at 41 this June — a record. Woo. (Sarcasm.)
  • Only 11 percent of board seats for publicly traded companies are held by women.

Disappointing and dispiriting, right?

But the current state of the world is worse than dispiriting. It’s horrifying.

  • In Afghanistan, women and girls face an uncertain future under the Taliban. Previously, the Taliban banned almost all education for women and girls, stoned and lashed them, and banned them from almost all public interactions.
  • In Texas, the most restrictive abortion law in the U.S. will ban abortions after 6 weeks, including those needed to save the mother.
  • All over the world, traffickers sell women and children into forced labor and sex slavery.
  • In many places, individuals and groups politicize science leading to the rejection of life-saving vaccines and the solutions to all matter of worldly ills. Not just an issue for women.

Wow. That got dark fast, huh? We started with a review of frothy streaming entertainment (albeit entertainment with a message) and ended up with lost and ruined lives, torture and torment. But it’s all related. Bear with me.

The media we consume influence what we think. This doesn’t just apply to the news. Films and TV shows also contribute to our view of the world. Your viewing habits can shape your thinking and vice versa. That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to what we and our families watch.

So, is the new Cinderella too heavy-handed with its messaging? Perhaps, but maybe it’s time to kick subtlety to the curb and get our messages out there via every channel we can think of. Be direct. Maybe the message will reach those who need to hear it most.

Psst. Looking for movies about women entrepreneurs that you can stream now? We’ve got you covered.

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