Tag Archives: Cinderella

New Shows + Movies by Women — September 3, 2021

In the wake of Texas’s unconstitutional ban on abortion, I’d urge everyone to call their congresspeople and demand the codification of Roe v. Wade into law. This goes doubly for us men. This is too often seen as an issue for women alone to support, rather than as a human rights issue. Too many men who support the right to choose do so quietly – and while ours aren’t the voices that should lead the fight, we too often mistake that fact for the idea that we shouldn’t even participate in it.

Our leaders, such as they are, need to hear men’s voices being angry about this, too. Many of those leaders still treat cis men’s voices as mattering more than any others. That feeds into how we got to this point. It’s still an exception for men to raise our voices in support of the right to choose.

We don’t have to imagine ourselves leading a fight in order to vocally make clear that we support that fight. Women need us to raise our voices in support of their rights, to add pressure on our congresspeople that cannot be added if we keep quiet. We either meet that expectation or we fail it, and if we as men can’t even meet the expectation of making a few phone calls to voice our support for the right to choose, then what the hell good are we in the first damn place?

There are many actions to take, but the point is, start taking one of them now. Don’t figure this is someone else’s fight to wage. Being an ally is not composed of opinion; it is composed of work.

Getting to this week’s movies (there are no new series):

NEW MOVIES

Cinderella (Amazon)
directed by Kay Cannon

Camila Cabello stars as Cinderella in an updated, musical interpretation of the fairy tale. The cast for this is impressive: Idina Menzel joins as her evil stepmother, Billy Porter as the Fabulous Godmother, and Pierce Brosnan and Minnie Driver are the king and queen.

As a musical, it uses covers of pop songs. While not exactly the same territory, the trailer sparks of “Moulin Rouge” and the anachronism of “A Knight’s Tale”.

Writer-director Kay Cannon has previously directed the underrated “Blockers”. She also wrote and produced the “Pitch Perfect” series, as well as on “30 Rock”, “New Girl”, and “Girlboss”.

You can watch “Cinderella” on Amazon.

Worth (Netflix)
directed by Sara Colangelo

Michael Keaton plays Ken Feinberg, the attorney who led the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. The fund had to calculate the monetary worth of individual lives lost in the attack. Stanley Tucci plays a community organizer fighting for victims’ rights.

Director Sara Colangelo previously helmed the disturbing Maggie Gyllenhaal vehicle “The Kindergarten Teacher”.

You can watch “Worth” on Netflix.

Take a look at new shows + movies by women from past weeks.

If you like what you read on this site, consider subscribing to Gabriel Valdez’s Patreon. It helps with the time and resources to continue writing articles like this one.

Silent All These Years — F*ck “Cinderella”

by Vanessa Tottle

What does Cinderella look like to a victim of child abuse? If you’ve been hit, or beaten, or terrorized, or tortured – what does Cinderella tell you? “Shut up, take it, know your place. God sorts out the rest.”

Or, in Kenneth Branagh’s latest re-imagining: “Have courage and be kind.”

“Courage.”

Courage is to not sit there happily like a dumb puppy glad even for negative attention, wagging her tail for more. Courage is to not stay silent and accept that being abused is your destiny in life. Courage is to say, God may get to it eventually, but if it’s wrong, it’s wrong, and I’m here now.

“Be kind.”

Be kind doesn’t mean to take the slights of abusers like a whimpering simp. It doesn’t mean to knuckle under.

If you’re getting beaten, terrorized, tortured, enslaved, we don’t need a fairy tale or a movie or a Disney movement being sold to little girls telling you to shut up, take it, and know your place.

And don’t tell me that it’s just a movie or just a princess. It’s “just” part of a multi-billion dollar industry with more than 25,000 princess products, and “Cinderella” conveys messages to children seeing their first movies about what is and isn’t heroic, what is and isn’t courage, what is and isn’t being kind. What it teaches them about those values is wrong and dangerous.

I knew my place once and that was getting hit and having my life threatened day after day. I was Cinderella, told she was destined to be nothing and sit in her attic and think of why she deserved this abuse, who looked out the window and wondered what was wrong with her – just her – so special in all the wrong ways that she became determined to accept it, live it, suffer it quietly and cry and cry and cry, but only when no one was looking.

“Have courage and be kind.”

That’s what I believed. It sounds like a good message, but not to women, not to abuse victims, not the way it’s perverted and redefined by Cinderella and especially Branagh as, “Shut up, take it, know your place.”

I believed that courage was being quiet and kindness was to be forgotten. Branagh’s Cinderella – most Cinderellas – follow suit.

As Cleopatra pointed out, Cinderella – especially Branagh’s lavish but insane retelling of it – is at its heart a way of reinforcing the idea that if you suffer now and don’t complain, you’ll be rewarded later. Disney-brand Indulgences are on sale in the lobby.

Branagh’s Cinderella tells an abuse victim, “Have courage and be kind.” It tells her suffering is its own reward, so don’t fight, don’t object, just accept, and get locked in that attic with a stiff upper lip.

Others may watch it and see the pretty dresses and the handsome hair and the CGI slippers. I watch and I see myself as a child, not knowing better than to accept. Courage was being quiet. Kindness was to be forgotten.

I know better now than to think those are the marks of a role model, of a hero. These aren’t traits to emulate, this is a character to pity, and for most women in similar situations, no magic will arrive. They will have what they’ve been taught is courage, which is the courage to stay with their abusers. They will be too kind, forgiving every hit they take. They will have this courage and be this kind until they are broken, until they are abusers themselves, or until they are dead.

This is what Branagh teaches in a Cinderella more conservative and patriarchal than any other version: accept the abuse, but look good enough in public to hide it. Don’t breathe a word about it, just smile and be polite. If you sustain enough without objection, your reward will find you.

“Have courage and be kind.” Courage was being quiet. Kindness was to be forgotten…

Those weren’t the exact words I whispered to myself every night, but they’re close. I used to wake up drenched in sweat. I used to piss the bed. I used to hit myself to stop from crying because I was quieter that way. I took the long way home to weep behind bushes where classmates couldn’t see me. I believed myself courageous. I believed myself kind. Nobody taught me what those things really were. All I had were tales like Cinderella that taught me wrong.

And even if the magic does save you, and I was very lucky to get out, you don’t stop the screaming in your head, you never lose that urge to cause yourself pain to quell the wound that never heals, you never trust the way that you see other people trust, the way that you see Cinderella trust. You still wake up in the middle of the night. You still take the long way home.

Branagh’s Cinderella teaches that abuse leaves no lasting impression, that if you suffer quietly enough you will be rewarded, and it misrepresents courage and kindness as meekness and self-subjugation. It is the wrong message to send to abuse victims, to women, to children, to society. I don’t care how “classic” it is. I care how dangerous it is.

So fuck you, Kenneth Branagh. And fuck your dangerous, damaging movie, too.

Help! I mixed up “Cinderella” and “50 Shades of Grey”

by Cleopatra Parnell

Help! I double-featured Cinderella and 50 Shades of Grey, but I forgot which film is which! Will you help me figure it out?

Let’s see…a woman gives in to suffering at the hands of those around her. This suffering has no rhyme or reason, but after she gives up her agency and allows herself to be abused, she is rewarded with a handsome man who covets her after only one brief meeting where he barely gets to know her. That was definitely…which one? Damn, I’ll need to be more specific.

OK, in one the hero is forced to wear bondage gear that was so tight the actress could only eat liquid foods while shooting the movie. That has to be 50 Shades, right?

Cinderella corset

Oops!

OK, in one the hero is definitely locked away in a life of slavery and unrealized dreams. Every day, she does backbreaking chores that please her master, who wishes nothing less than to dominate her and remind her of her place. I remember in one, the hero asks questions and learns about why this is before making her decision. In the other, the hero shuts up, accepts it, and cries alone to herself.

That MUST have been 50 Shades.

Cinderella dirty

I’m so bad at this!

Hmm. Cinderella is all about women, right? The evil stepmother, her older stepsisters, a fairy godmother, and Cinderella herself. So the one that spends the most time focusing on the relationships between men must be 50 Shades. It’s all about domination and ownership, right? It must really focus on men.

Cinderella just some dudes

Oh gosh no what a surprise!

Cinderella pushes Cinderella herself to the side to talk about how awesome men are at being men with each other. But if Cinderella invents new characters in order to create healthy relationships among men who are patient and grow to understand each other, then it must invent characters with whom Cinderella can develop healthy, communicative relationships, right? It can’t just turn a movie about Cinderella’s struggle into an ode to how awesome and understanding men are, can it?

The movie that offered its female hero a confidant and equal who was willing to talk to her about difficult decisions couldn’t have been…

50 Shades Dakota Eloise

Whaaaaat? That…that doesn’t look like Cinderella! She’s wearing jeans and eating something that’s NOT LIQUID. Now I’ll never be able to tell these movies apart!

Wait, I think I’ve got it! In one, the hero has a job and educates herself. She has friends and a family life. She gives into a potentially harmful relationship, but at least she’s worked hard enough for herself to have options. That relationship is her own choice, one which she educates herself about, and it’s not a choice made for her.

In the other, the hero scrubs floors, and she’s taught if she shuts up and scrubs floors extra hard then magic will happen and reward her for shutting up so good! What’s the reward? A man likes you! Fuck yeah!

I think I’ve almost figured out which is which now. The one that’s somehow more feminist, I remember that one! That’s 50 Shades. The one that makes you look at the big house in the nice neighborhood and tells you if you don’t rock the boat or try to change anything for the better, maybe one day you’ll live there? That’s Cinderella. Cinderella is the one where she doesn’t even put up as much fight as she did as a 1950s cartoon.

DISCLOSURE: Both BDSM and Disney movies are fine. Shitty representations of either aren’t.

Cinderella Glass Slippers

50 Shades Bind