Cinderella, directed by Clyde Geronimi, is a movie about a pretty girl who has been made a servant by her ugly stepmother and stepsisters, and deserves a better life. Cinderella is the fairy tale basis for all other movies, in which the underdog prevails against all odds. Ever After, directed by Andy Tehnant, is a movie based on Cinderella. Besides some differences in characters and a change in setting, it has the same good beats evil concept. Maid in Manhattan directed by Wayne Wang is a newer version. It brings motherhood and a difference in ethnicity to the table.
Although the servant girl also prevails in this newer version, she does so by working hard at her job and keeping her independence. The article, “Fairy Tales and a Dose of Reality”, by Catherine Orenstein, is about the non-realistic fairy tales that media today still displays. Between picking bachelors and winning game shows, these unrealistic shows give people false perceptions. “Commercialism, Materialism, and the Drive to Fulfill Beauty Ideals in the United States” by Katie Hickey, is an article that discusses some of the media affects on girls.
All of these sources deal with the trend of girls trying to become the perfect image. During the process of idealizing the perfect image, many girls suffer psychological problems with themselves and their own body image. Since the times when artists inaccurately drew their models to create a more appeasing painting, the media has always touched up women. This trend is demonstrated from paintings, magazines, fairy tales, and television. Shows like “The Bachelor” and “Joe Millionaire” demonstrate how easily won over a man can be by a simply beautiful woman.
Many of the women are far from intelligent but one standard to be a participant seems to clearly be looks. From Katie Hickey’s article, “women stare at beautiful female faces out of aesthetic appreciation, to look for potential tips-and because a beautiful woman could be a rival worth monitoring”. Women in media almost always measure up to the physical perfection standard. Because of this, competition also is a motive in this trend. People learn from fairy tales that if a prince gets a choice between two women, he will pick the most attractive one. This is true for everyone and is pure genetics.
One of the first lessons taught is to not judge from the outside, but that it is what’s inside that counts. Realistically, first impressions are mostly visual and make huge impacts. People understand this and go to the media to know what they are supposed to look like. Causes that lead this trend to continue are mostly pressure from expectations of society. Media, advertising, and fairy tales people grow up with, all play a role. In Ever After, Jacqueline is treated worse than her sister is because their mom believes she could not possibly have a chance with the prince.
Margaret, however, is displayed as a petite figure with blue eyes and blonde hair while her sister is thicker in size with black hair and brown eyes. Margaret gets special treatment and the adoration of her mother while Jacqueline, at one point, even gets chores thrown at her like she is a servant. Again, in Cinderella, the stepsisters are portrayed as ugly and deviant without a chance at the prince. Cinderella on the other hand, is petite, blonde-haired, blue-eyed, and although she is deviant, viewers long her to win the prince’s heart.
She lies just as much as the stepsisters but has more of a chance at the prince because the charming prince could only want a charming wife. When young girls grow older, they drop the fairy tale role models and move on to models that are more realistic; the ones on television that are lean, mean, dieting machines. Mothers always tell their daughters not to idolize models because the magazines use effects and touch-ups to create their beauty. Although this is true, those models are still something to compare to and thus still create a competition atmosphere.
They are the ones that create the fashion, hair, and make-up fads. They are the ones people read about getting thinner and getting plastic surgery. Why should advertisers stop this? After all, “In 2006 alone, the top 20 global beauty companies accumulated one hundred and four billion in sales” (Hickey). Television is broadcasted for one thing and that is to sell. As long as people are willing to buy, these media messages will not be stopped. The social impact of this trend is the growing amount of girls and women with bulimia, anorexia, drugs, and plastic surgery.
With the perfect bodies and models in majority of the media, the next step for the women around the world is a quick and easy way to have the same image. With new technology, there is more and more ways to quickly change your body, many being in unhealthy ways. ”According to a survey, sixty-seven percent of women in the U. S. between the ages of twenty-five and forty-five are trying to lose weight. Fifty-three percent of these sixty-seven percent are already at a healthy weight and are continuing to try to lose more” (Hickey). In Maid in Manhattan, Marisa Ventura does not get noticed in her aid uniform. It takes her dressing up in expensive clothing to get a man to notice her. This is the same in Cinderella and Ever After.
Not only do the men not notice the underappreciated women, but when they find out the women are lower class, the men are furious and appalled. The message that is getting across to women is if you are not naturally a Cinderella, change yourself to become what society expects to be able to be saved by prince charming. The pressures of media and of having a perfect body image can cause psychological problems to many.
When young girls grow up reading fairy tales and happily ever afters, the princess who prevails is clear to them. As girls get older, this trend does not go away, it only changes idols. Pressures of the media, friends, and even pressures of one’s own standards can cause things like bulimia, anorexia, or the rise in plastic surgery. This will also cause many health problems to more and more girls at strikingly younger ages. Self-esteem can also be lowered when constantly comparing one’s self to the high standards the media feeds us. This trend is likely to continue because of advertising, and expectations of society.
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