Susan's Blog

Monday, May 15, 2006


I love the fact that Natty loves Cinderella. He grins and grins at it while he’s watching. It may not be Disney’s best effort, but it was actually the very first movie I ever saw. I have a very vague, long-ago dreamlike memory of driving to the Wilton Cinema in Connecticut with my mother and my sister and seeing it there. There were two parts of the movie that I loved the best: first, where the birds and mice create a beautiful ballgown for Cinderella, out of scraps, and then, which gets ripped off of her by the bitchy stepsisters. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I think I got a tiny bit of a sexual frisson at that part. Maybe Nat does too; God knows he is a red-blooded teenage boy.

The second scene I love is when the Fairy Godmother whips together her ballgown from the tattered dress, with the flick of her wand. Cinderella reaches upward and swirls of magic whirl around her, head to toe until she’s covered in a frothy bluish-white confection of a dress. Granted, Cinderella herself is a bit of a milktoast as a character; she is just too good to everyone, although she does mutter under her breath at her “family” who orders her about. She is, however, the epitome of the abused person who can’t leave her situation. I feel for her, because where could she go, in an era like that? And she probably didn’t want to admit that her situation was as bad as it was. But how much anger must have simmered beneath that placid surface. It is just a tiny bit evident at the end, when she produces the mate to the glass slipper, now broken. “But I have the other one,” she says calmly, knowing at that moment that she holds the world in her hands for the first time.

Cinderella is the ultimate make-over and living-well-is-the-best-revenge movie. These reasons are why I have always loved it. But I do not know what parts resonate for Nat. I love his unabashed enjoyment of a “princess” movie; I love the way each of my boys ends up in the room, watching, at some point, even though they would never admit that they like Cinderella in the least. There is something deliciously satisfying with having these three very masculine males glued to the television watching the trials and tribulations of this poor young woman, who is destined to become a princess, thereby challenging all of society’s narrow notions of what American young men are supposed to like.

I suppose the most important aspect of Cinderella is the Fairy Godmother, who took whatever raw materials were around and made them into something wonderful: rags became a dress, mice became horses, a pumpkin became a carriage. She gave Cinderella the chance — albeit limited, only until midnight — to be whatever she was up to being. Whatever she felt like being. A beauty at a ball, rather than an abused maid. And though he is no Fairy Godmother, and his brothers are not (thank God) abused, sometimes it feels like Nat gives my other two boys the freedom and opportunity to be more who they are simply because he is so much the way he is.


That was a brilliant post. Remember it for your next book or article!

— added by Anonymous on Monday, May 15, 2006 at 9:01 pm

Good essay. Nice viewpoint. Thanks.

— added by Autism Diva on Monday, May 15, 2006 at 9:40 pm

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