A couple of days ago I realised that my children see happiness, and whether or not they are ‘good’ as inextricably linked. The post below, and this one about little Miss Sunshine, are reflections on that.
Once upon a time there lived an unhappy young girl.
Her mother was dead and her father married a widow with two daughters.
Her stepmother didn’t like her one bit. All her kind thoughts were for her own daughters. Nothing was too good for them – dresses, shoes, delicious food, soft beds , and possibly an education (although the detail on that is a little sketchy).
But for the poor unhappy girl, there was nothing at all. No dresses, only her step-sisters’ hand-me-downs. No lovely dishes, nothing but scraps. No rest and no comfort. She had to work hard all day.
One day beautiful new dresses arrived at the house. A ball was to be held at the palace and the step-sisters were getting ready to go. Cinderella didn’t even dare ask if she could go too. She knew very well what the answer would be.
Cinderella sighed. “Oh dear, despite being such a good girl and doing everything I am told, I am still so unhappy. What can I do?”.
Suddenly, something amazing happened. As Cinderella was sitting all alone, there was a burst of light and a fairy appeared.
“Don’t be alarmed, Cinderella”, said the fairy, “I know you would love to go to the ball. And so you shall….”
“How can I, dressed in rags?” Cinderella replied. The servants will turn me away!”
The fairy smiled. With a flick of her magic wand, Cinderella found herself……… not giving an actual shit!
She didn’t gee a shit about what she was wearing, or that her step mum had told her she couldn’t go out, or that the house was a mess.
“Hmmmpphhh” declared Cinders, “I’m old enough to get married. Why the hell have I been abiding by all these nonsensical rules for so long?”
“Now for your coach” said the fairy. Quick, get me a pumpkin”
“No” said, Cinderella. “I’ll call a cab”.
“As Cinderella was debating whether she would be more comfortable sat in the front or back, the fairy warned her, “Be sure to return by midnight”.
“Yeah Yeah” she thought, and off she sped, asking the cab driver to turn up the music as they went.
Cinderella had a wonderful time. The Prince loved her shabby-chic-boho-vintage look, and they had a right old laugh larking about, dancing like idiots, and stuffing their faces with champers and chips.
Then, she heard the first stroke of midnight!
She remembered what the fairy had said, and suddenly she started to give a shit.
She started to care quite a lot of what people thought of her, and how she was tampering with the norms of social convention. It went against everything she had been told. She had always been told to be a good girl. That if you were good, people were happy. That if you were good, you would be happy. So how come she felt so sad?
She turned to leave, then the Prince caught her arm,
“Come on Cinderella, who cares what they think, let’s start a conga!”
Fairy godmother or no fairy godmother, Cinderella decided she was bored of doing what she was told, when clearly all she had been told was utter bollocks.
“Yeah, alright Prince charming.”
With that, she put his arms around her waist and conga they did.
In the morning, she woke up on the sofa in the lobby, next to the Prince, with a renewed vigour for life.
As she was getting ready to go, she realised she couldn’t find her shoe.
“I’ll help you find it, if you like” said the Prince.
“Nah, you’re OK said Cinderella, they were killing my feet anyway.
Cinderella and the Prince had such a great time, they decided to stay in touch. Over time, they revised all the rules of fairytale land, the monarchy, and social conditioning. They decided it would be good if they tore up the rule book, and started again.
It felt naughty for a while.
But in the end, after a small amount of social upheaval, and a year or so of negotiations around acceptable working conditions for maids.
They all lived happily ever after.
This post is part of my NANoWriMo challenge.
Writing this post, I remembered some great feminist parodies of fairytales I read a while ago. And that in turn reminded me of my favourite feminist blogger and writer who you can find at Blue Milk.
Here is an extract from the about page:
“Blue milk is part ‘bluestocking’ and part ‘mother’. It is a journal of experiences. I write about what’s on my mind.”