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Ever After – Still The Same Old Cinderella Story

1879 words - 8 pages

Ever After – Still the Same Old Cinderella Story

In the movie, Ever After (1998), director and co-screenwriter Andy Tennant attempts to put a spin on the fairy tale we all knew growing up, Cinderella, by trying to empower the heroine and updating the film to appeal to a modern audience. Tennant explains, "I wanted to tell a very different version of Cinderella because I have two daughters, I did not want them growing up believing you have to marry a rich guy with a big house in order to live happily ever after" (Friedmeyer, p. 4). Did he accomplish? On the surface it would seem that Ever After is a modern feminist film, empowering women, but under the disguise, it still has the ...view middle of the document...

Even with money and the power it came along with it, she ultimately fails. It is Prince Henry who is able to finally free Maurice and he does so with only using words from his mouth. Henry would also convince his father, the King, to release all imprisoned servants who were planned to be shipped to America because of debt that they owed. This showed that even with money, Danielle is still powerless. It did not matter that she dressed up as a higher class; she still was not able to rescue her friend with “fame and fortune.” The male characters in the film, the King and the Prince, were the ones who have real power and have the ability to change people’s lives.
Gender also determines occupation and activities. According to Melissa Taylor and Chris Segrin, “A traditional gender role refers to a view of close relationships in which men are expected to be the primary moneymakers and women are expected to be the homemakers and caregivers” (2010, p. 6). The Prince is rich so he does not need to work. Cinderella and Danielle both stay at home and do housework while the male figures in the stories are able to leave the house to do as they wish. Danielle wakes up early and does demeaning, dirty work-feeding animals, gathering and cooking food for and serving her step-mother and step-sisters. Danielle is their caregiver waiting on them hand and foot. She and the other servants clean the house and do their laundry. When they are selling produce at the market, it is only the female servants of the house who are there working and only women are shown in the kitchen, cooking and preparing meals. At the end of the film, all the servants who are doing the royal laundry were also female. The men in the film are shown riding horses, chasing each other, stealing and fighting with swords. They are pictured doing things that are stereotypically masculine while females are shown cooking and cleaning; things that stereotypically females do.
Another stereotype is that of gender expectations - that females are dependent while males are independent and strong leaders. According to Kelley (2003), “being dependent is identified with femininity” (p. 648). Ever After and Cinderella both have males that are heroes and, in the end, rescue the female characters. When Danielle’s father was still alive, the manor was prosperous with many servants. After his death the step-mother, Rodmilla, took over. Under her leadership, the manor grew deeper and deeper into debt and was barely getting by with the help of a wealthy landowner, Pierre Le Pieu. He would buy produce from them weekly and would also purchase stolen household items from Rodmilla. This was also evidence of male hegemony because without a man in her life, she was not able to sustain her household. With her husband gone, she required constant assistance from another man, Pierre Le Pieu. Without a husband, Rodmilla is not able to keep the house from falling apart. She even had to sell Maurice off...

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