The Cinderella Conspiracy


As a child I loved fairy tales. One of my favorites was Cinderella. As an adult, however, I soon woke up to the reality that life is no fairy tale. What I did not know at that time is that through this story the patriarchy was conditioning me and other young girls to drink indiscriminately from the collective unconscious to facilitate the status quo.  We were conditioned to be good women for whom marriage and the idea of marriage were a major preoccupation. The preoccupation extended to an obsession with finding prince charming as a means of escape from home life, for instance. In the reading of these fairy tales we were being subtly warped by the patriarchy into being passive, subservient, defenseless, and conflict avoiding types in sync with patriarchal dictates. Psychologist Carl Jung explained that there is a human collective unconscious informed by archetypes and universal symbols many of which become embedded in fairy tales (Huff Post 8/23/2016). In the case of Cinderella, upon reading the text, a young girl inadvertently guzzles from the collective unconscious and in turn internalizes the substance of the presented archetypes and universal symbols as to what the archetypal wife material should look or act like. Cinderella then situates individuals to live out the preconditioning of the collective unconscious in their own experiences.  It is time to stray from the script delivered by the collective unconscious or at least reexamine and reassess it.


The Princess (2004)

Handsome prince,

filed tongue,

velvety thoughts—

love’s a grand idea.

Grand idea

golden slippers,

a rhythmic dance,

filmy soft clouds,

a fairy’s white dress.

White dress and veiled face,

bright eyes,

wedding march,

troubled mother,

sunset journey.

Sunset journey,

errant lover,

dull eyes,

dreary splendor,

distant godmother.

 Distant godmother,

demanding marauder,

weighty vows,

obscure pathways,

a lost one.

A lost one,

weary stares,

vacant core,

painful ashes.

You may read similar poems in my book Splendor from Ashes

37 thoughts on “The Cinderella Conspiracy

  1. It’s always interesting to look closer at the real story behind the stories. I know the stories aren’t perfect, but I do love a good fairy tale. Tangled is one of my favorite Disney movies.


  2. Fairy tales should be seen as that, fairy tales, and my beef with the princesses is that I feel it teaches girls to be entitled and selfish. I was talking about it with my mom, and asked her, please, when my daughter is born, do not call her a princess! I do not want her growing up thinking that she “deserves” the things she should work hard for!


  3. We should be depicted in books as the heroes that we are. I can’t bear to read another book where a girl needs saving. We’re strong and we’re capable of many things. Authors should write about that.


  4. Beautiful poem. While I loved the Disney movies growing up, I am glad that now some of the movies are showcasing the heroine in a stronger role without the need of a prince. My son LOVES Moana and she is a really strong character. The message of the movie is about finding yourself, there isn’t even a love interest! Thanks for this post.


  5. I love fairy tales, this poem took me back to my childhood! I always though I was a princess. But as you said, we soon got a bit of reality, I became a woman who likes to do everything by herself, I for sure dont need a prince to rescue me or take me away from my circumstances. As a society we have much more way to change on how woman and relationships are perceive.


  6. This is such a beautiful post. I loved fairy tales growing up but as an adult I see they are far from reality.


  7. Cinderella was my favorite fair tale along with Snow White. I love this poem and never really realized the real meaning of the Cinderella fair tale before now. It is indeed something to think about. Thanks for sharing the poem.


  8. Hi ingrid, I love this movie / back and love how you are so creative and come up with innovative poems! I would love for you to write a poem / story about domestic abuse for my blog . Morgan xx


  9. The thoughts behind fairytales are so incredibly sad. It really did give us this weird idea of life. That after marriage there was no more story. I hope that we can create a world of better fairytales for future generations.


  10. I was never really into fairy tales as a child and I think it’s because my parents never emphasized them much. Now that I know a little more, I’m still not into them and don’t really like the whole prince charming saving the helpless girl aspect of most of them. I do like some of the newer Disney movies now where the girls save the day instead of the princes.


  11. Believing in fairy tales definitely has consequences, and when it comes to relationships, the consequences can be costly. There’s so much reality to wake up to. Relationships can be beautiful, when based in reality, with responsible adults, willing to do their part.


  12. I agree fairy tales are not that fair and real life is really so damn different. But I guess that’s reason they’re called fairy tales so that despite so many difficult situations in real life, we don’t forget to dream and believe that something better might happen one day!!


  13. I love this poem so much! I love that it provides the deeper background of fairy tales to people, especially children. Your poem is beautiful. It brings me back to childhood!


  14. What a beautiful poem! You are so talented. I’ve always loved fairy tales but accepted the lack of reality in them as I got older.


  15. It’s interesting to see how we allow stories to frame our reality as well as the other way around. It is only now we are realising the inequality in certain stories and how they give us preconceived ideas on how we have lived.


  16. Who doesn’t love fairy tales? happy endings? of course we all want that. 🙂 but we don’t always get that. Great post!


  17. I came to the same realization a while ago as well. It’s been happening for thousands of years, men are raised with the mentality of supporting a family, women are raised with the mentality of raising a family. Then everything else in between a women will stress about. It’s just a constant cycle that society has embedded into the teachings of “life”.


  18. Life is a journey and with it we learn so many things. Reality can be difficult but it is my opinion that we need to continue dreaming just like Cinderella. There is always light at the end of the tunnel.


  19. This is such a lovely poem. Very well-written. I love fairy tales before when I was a kid but when I get older it’s really far from reality.


  20. When I read, I’m reading for pure enjoyment only. I do not want to think about if there’s more to the story than originally thought…unless it’s that type of book. My mind is working overtime all the time. Reading calms it down.


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