Cinderella: Power of Love Plus Really Good Shoes

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Ever since Disney re-released Cinderella on DVD, commentator Tanya Barrientos has been thinking about what the fairy tale princess would be doing if she lived in 2005.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

Commentator Tanya Barrientos is a features writer and a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer. She's also a 40-something feminist who recently spent an evening watching a classic Disney fairy tale just re-released on DVD.

TANYA BARRIENTOS:

I grew up thinking Cinderella was a sap, raised as I was during the height of the Ms. magazine feminist movement. Back then, it was decreed that the fairy tale scullery maid was nothing more than a bibbidi-bobbidi bonehead, planting the seeds of a rescue fantasy in thousands of little girls' psyches. While I was it watching it the other day, I was surprised to be seeing her in a different light.

Bra burning is so 30 years ago. These days domestic princesses are in; ask any five-year-old girl. In a world where TV viewers are mesmerized by shows about extreme makeovers, Cinderella is hardly enemy number one; she's the poster girl of sweet success. In fact, if she weren't made of celluloid, she probably would be crisscrossing the country giving seminars.

Using what I'm sure would be an `animated' presentation, she would reveal the magic behind her rags-to-riches tale. She'd recount her humble beginnings, explain how she learned to be a crackerjack homemaker and stress how once she finally got her glass slipper in the door, she put her best foot forward to land not just the man, but the lifestyle and the keys to the kingdom. She'd be "The Bachelorette" and Carrie Bradshaw from "Sex and the City" all rolled into one, a hardworking gal with an unflagging faith in the life-changing power of love and really good footwear.

Back in the day I saw Cinderella as nothing but a passive pushover waiting for her prince to come, but maybe that was looking at the story half empty. To be fair, the movie was made back in 1950 when the best way to hop class was to marry rich. Still, the story is timeless. In fact, there have been a couple of modern versions made just recently. Did you see "Maid in Manhattan" with Jennifer Lopez? Have you heard of Anna Nicole Smith?

As an old-school feminist, I'm willing to give Cinderella a second chance. Who knows what happened after the wedding? Maybe she went to law school. Maybe she started a catering business. Maybe she became a newspaper columnist. All I know is whatever a gal decides to be when she grows up, I'm not going to blame her for hoping a handsome prince will come. And maybe he'll even do the dishes.

(Soundbite of "Someday My Prince Will Come")

BLOCK: Tanya Barrientos is a features writer and columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

(Soundbite of "Someday My Prince Will Come")

ROBERT SIEGEL (Host): This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

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