In watching Cinderella again for the first time in years, doing so has allowed me to study the character of Cinderella, and I have gained a new perspective on her and even a respect for who she is.
I have seen or heard people say that, because of her kind and gentle nature, Cinderella is passive and submissive to the Tremaines and takes orders from them with a smile or cheery attitude. Not to mention they think she should do something more to change her situation rather than just dream. However, I think such things are big misinterpretations of Cinderella’s behavior and situation.
It’s true that Cinderella is a positive person who is kind to just about everyone, including her stepfamily. A major example of this is when she delivers them their breakfasts: we see that while Cinderella is calm, quiet, and polite, her stepfamily is bossy, loud, and rude. She says “Good morning” to each of them and calmly says yes to all of the things they demand her to do. Of course, the Tremaines do not reciprocate her emotions and clearly don’t deserve such treatment from her. Yet why does Cinderella still behave this way towards them? Because by remaining a kind, gentle, caring woman, she wants to and has remained true to herself, despite all that she has suffered. She also refuses to let their mistreatment give her a pessimistic outlook on life.
The Tremaines hate Cinderella and are jealous of her purely because she is beautiful and kind. Her good looks and kind nature make them look inferior in comparison, which they cannot stand, so they want to make her inferior to them instead. The Tremaines want to break Cinderella’s spirits. They don’t want her to dream, they don’t want her to be happy, nor do they want her to have confidence or faith in herself; basically they want to turn her into a miserable, unattractive person. And Cinderella knows all of this. But if she were to give into her anger and sadness, she’d be stooping to the Tremaines’ level and be acting just like them (which is just what she doesn’t want to do, since the way they behave is not right).
After all that has happened to her, Cinderella remains superior to her stepfamily because she is still kind and her beauty shines even through her servant attire. She has large amounts of goodness within her heart that her stepfamily does not and will never have. At the same time, she knows that her behavior will never cause the Tremaines’ to change their behaviors (don’t count the sequels for the moment). But in all, Cinderella not changing her behavior is her way of sending an indirect message to the Tremaines that she has not given up and refuses to let them destroy her dignity and who she is entirely. Because she won’t change, this annoys and angers the Tremaines, especially Lady Tremaine.
Also, consider Cinderella’s overall situation: she is outnumbered and overpowered by the Tremaines. She virtually cannot stand up for herself, and when she tries to, she is silenced, ignored, or punished. If she tried to fight or talked back to them, they would punish her by taking away what little possessions she has left, give her more work, or worse, kick her out entirely. Even though she has been turned into a servant, Cinderella still has a home, clothes, and food. She really cannot afford to lose what little she has left, and she has so little because the Tremaines, especially the girls, have taken everything from her, from her fancy clothes to probably even her own room.
And contrary to what some people might think, Cinderella is definitely miserable and resents her situation. She also doesn’t take every order with a smile: when Lady Tremaine tells her to clean the tapestries and draperies, Cinderella frowns and tries to argue that she already did them. But Lady Tremaine tells her to do them again, and Cinderella realizes her situation is futile. Even when the Tremaines aren’t around (thus she can’t get in trouble with them), Cinderella does complain a little, such as when she is about to work on her dress, and they call her, to which she says, “Oh, now what do they want?”
But again, despite the abuse she endures with each encounter every day, Cinderella refuses to give up and let them destroy her. For someone who has been humiliated and abused for much of her life, Cinderella has a great deal of diligence and inner strength by not letting her situation affect her world view. In the end, her greatest reward for putting up with it and working so hard as a servant was marrying the prince and escaping her stepfamily forever.
“I just want a mexican main girl character. Princess or not. I just want someone who will make little mexican girls proud and grow up strong. Not the "stereotype” that girls are forced to be by our parents.“