“Shakespeare said that art is a mirror held up to nature. And that’s what it is. The nature is your nature, and all of these wonderful poetic images of mythology are referring to something in you.”
— Joseph Campbell
Most of us know the rough plot of Cinderella, by virtue of Walt Disney’s 1950 film: Cinderella is an orphaned child under the “care” of a wicked stepmother and two even more wicked stepsisters. Cinderella is denied a chance to go to a grand ball at which the local prince will choose his bride, but a fairy godmother endows the girl (temporarily) with beautiful trappings, and gets her to the ball.
While Cinderella and the Prince fall in love when they meet at the ball, circumstances intervene and Cinderella flees home at midnight. The Prince scours the land for Cinderella, and eventually identifies her by the glass slipper she left behind at the ball. The Prince and Cinderella marry, and (literally) live happily ever after.
The plot of Disney’s version is taken near-verbatim from a 1697 story called Cendrillon by Charles Perrault, which Perrault describes as the retelling of a much older folktale from out of southern Italy. The earliest known version of the story is the Greek myth of Rhodopis, recorded in Herodotus’s Histories around 700 BC.
Perrault said the moral of the story was “While it’s good to have intelligence, good sense, and good breeding, you likely don’t get anywhere without a fairy godmother”. That is, success in life basically comes down to preparation plus a bit of luck. This is certainly a profound truth on its own for men to absorb. Luck is a major factor in success, no matter what the American Dream might say to us. But there are much more significant messages about gender roles and gender relations hiding beneath the Cinderella story, ones men should understand as well as if not better than women.
A woman’s sex appeal is magic
To get to the ball, Cinderella is endowed by her fairy godmother—i.e. by magic—with all the exterior trappings, allure, and clothing needed to catch the attentions of the prince. In Disney’s film the fairy godmother is a fat old babuschka, implying the wisdom of older women is what transforms Cinderella. But the magic that makes Cinderella into a beautiful princess is not wisdom or fairy dust. It’s a metaphor for something far more powerful and primal: the magic of a young woman reaching adulthood and the peak of her sexual attractiveness, at age 18-25.
As all men know, this attractiveness is godlike in its potency. In the Cinderella story, the magic is powerful enough to arrest the prince’s mind at first sight; powerful enough to make him search his entire realm to find her. In the real world, sexual attractiveness has brought down governments, as well as inspired most modern music. Cinderella’s stepmother and stepsisters (all significantly older than her) cannot achieve it despite all the artifice of poise and finely-tailored clothing (and, perhaps, three years in a Gender Studies degree).
A woman’s sex appeal is magic that runs out
This is the most important part of the story: the magic that transforms Cinderella is strictly limited by time. At midnight, Cinderella is returned to rags. In real life, around age 30, women’s physical attractiveness tanks. In both cases, the magic is gone, forever.
Women don’t realize the magic is running out until it’s too late
Cinderella is too swept up in the prince’s eyes and the glamour of the ball to notice the passing of time. Consequently she is caught out by the clock chiming midnight and has to flee for home, panicking at the loss of her glamours.
Women—especially when feminism dishonestly presents natural childbearing as practical or possible past forty—also don’t hear the clock chiming midnight. They, too, are too swept up in a different diversion: typically, riding the cock carousel through their most fertile years. Such women invariably are the ones bitterly complaining they are invisible to men and bitterly regretting their empty wombs when they’ve turned 40.
The glass slipper
When the magic fades, it spares one thing: Cinderella’s glass slippers. This seems to be a plot hole given the rules of magic in the story, but makes sense symbolically. Leave aside the sexual subtext of the prince’s servants going around his entire kingdom “trying on” every maiden to see if the slipper fits: the glass slipper is a potent symbols of fertility, good genes, good breeding.
A slipper made of glass is beautiful but delicate – one false step, one heavy footfall, and it shatters, irreplaceable. Is childhood any less delicate, any more replaceable? And the slippers also symbolize Cinderella’s youthful beauty: again, irreplaceable, gone with one false step, one descent into slutdom. The slippers are symbols of the prince and Cinderella’s children to be.
Single fathers should not remarry
Cinderella’s troubles only begin when her father, a widower, remarries. Versions of the story differ on whether it’s for love or so Cinderella has a mother figure, but either way it’s a mistake from Cinderella’s point of view. Statistically, single fathers are better at parenting than single mothers. Child abuse is most prevalent among the children of divorced women—and when it does occur, it’s typically at the hands of a partner not biologically related to the child.
…Especially not to single mothers
Cinderella’s stepmother has two children of her own already, and she is never said to be a widow — implying she’s either an unmarried mother or divorced. The match does not end well for Cinderella or her father, who dies shortly after he marries the stepmother. It is well-understood in the manosphere that (a) you can’t turn a hoe into a housewife, and (b) a bad woman can easily shorten one’s life.
Cinderella’s stepsisters are vain, unfuckable bitches, ugly inside and out—and willing to abuse the traditionally feminine Cinderella. This is entirely consistent with the behaviour we see from the daughters of single mothers. Statistically they are not competent at holding down relationships and often have major mental issues, in no small part because their mothers never taught them any better.
Cinderella’s stepsisters are the daughters of the West at large: girls with no fathers physically, emotionally or spiritually present in their lives.
A wise prince understands he is the prize
Cinderella’s prince embodies traditional masculinity. Despite the pressure from his family and society at large to marry, the Prince refuses to settle for just any girl: no stepmothers or stepsisters for him. He settles only for a girl that he deems worthy, even if he has to turn over the whole kingdom looking for her.
Men in the West have, to their disgrace, reversed this situation. Women ride the cock carousel on the (in many cases justified) expectation that some thirsty sucker will be picking them up after they choose to get off the ride. Women are permitted to “wait” for their “soulmate”; men are permitted to settle.
The prince, then, embodies good advice for men: screw who you will on a casual basis, but be selective and be careful who you marry or live with. Because the wrong choice will fuck you up six ways to Sunday and ruin your whole kingdom.
On the other hand, if you do manage to identify a woman who’s at peak sexual attractiveness and has a good character, the prince has good counsel as well: move mountains to wife that shit up, because such a woman is rare if not extinct, maybe only one in the entire realm, and there’s a godawfully big pack of ugly stepsisters out there looking to snare you.
A good myth, like any good story, teaches us things about human nature without us realizing it. Myth, therefore, is worth seeking out; worth reading; worth contemplating. Never doubt that myth is under attack from vested interests, especially in the modern era. Consider the sterility and destructive themes of Frozen as compared to its parent fable, The Snow Queen.
Cinderella, fortunately, endures. The story has come under revisionist attack over the years, but none of these pale, ungrateful versions have persisted in the public mind or overturned its lessons. Even as late as 2015, Hollywood still had sufficient courage to produce the story essentially unchanged from the 1950 version, with all of these messages intact.
The red pill, for women, is a glass slipper: an understanding that what they have is incredibly seductive and beautiful—but fragile and only good for a limited time.