Cinderella is a story about marketing

Pressure

In the Grimm Brothers version of the Cinderella story, one of the wicked and vain stepsisters – let’s call her Charise – claimed that she was the rightful wearer of the glass slipper. Only problem? Her feet were too big.

No problemo, says Wicked Stepmother. Out comes the kitchen knife, slicey slicey off goes Charise’s big toe, and voila! the shoe fits. The Prince escorts the stepsister off to the palace, until birds alert him that her shoe is filling up with blood. Then the birds peck out her eyes. (You don’t remember this part? My copy had some disturbing illustrations.)

Completely undeterred by her sister wandering as a blind and limping beggar, the other wicked stepsister  – Jessamine – claims the slipper. Her foot is also a bit too big: slicey slicey, off with her heel. It works out exactly the same way, because the prince is clearly not that bright. Shoe fills with blood, birds sound the alert then peck out her eyes. Jessamine goes to join her sister in pain and obscurity.

The moral of the story

Like many fairytales, this makes more sense as an analogy than as a story. So let’s make the moral about positioning.

It’s easy to understand the desire to jam that glass slipper on your foot. The rewards are massive: money, adoration, power, (dim-witted) admirers… if you can wear the slipper you can have them all.

But we forget that the slippers were made for Cinderella . Made with magic! They’re a custom-fit solution that we can’t use without sacrificing parts of ourselves.

We also forget that the big prizes go to the first one through the palace gates. Even if the slipper fits you perfectly… there’s only one prince, and Cinderella’s already nabbed him. You might get a slightly warty baron, but that’s all.

When we forget these two things, we get blinded. And we hurt ourselves, and allow others to shape us to fit someone else’s path to success.

But what if…

Charise and Jessamine, horrified by the idea of slicing themselves into a dodgy version of someone else, decided to be themselves. They started a marvellously bitchy website commenting on how fantastic they look and how sooty the new princess is and oh my GAWD did you see what the High Duchess of Grabavia was wearing to the coronation? It’s the sixteenth century, hellllloooo.

All those who were tired of Princess Cinderella and Her Attack Birds of Death, or looking for the latest goss on The Least Observant Prince in History, flock (PUN) to the website. Soon Charise and Jessamine are rolling in admirers, money, and high-end gift bags. The End.

Charise and Jessamine could own that story in a way that they couldn’t own the Path to Princessdom. It allows them – requires them – to use their natural gifts, their voices, and their totally wicked hairstyles. And it rewards them accordingly.

So the moral of the story is this:

You can’t fit someone else’s slipper. Find your own.

Have you lost touch with your own glass slipper and started eyeing off your sooty stepsister and her shiny feet? Together, we can uncover what you need in Goddamn Radiant, the three-hour marketing transformation.

Creative Commons License photo credit: kevindooley

  • Oooh, Yay! So excited about this new venture! Lots of exclamation points!!!!!

    Also, who wants a dopey prince like that? He can’t see blood through glass? Frankly, Cindy can have him.

    Alright, I have to go read more entries, hugs.

    • He’s certainly not the brightest of monarchs. Honestly, I’m concerned for the future of that kingdom. Cindy’s never had a formal education and the prince is dumb as a plank. This can’t end well!

      • Here’s to hoping that Cindy takes the initiative to educate herself and save that poor, otherwise doomed kingdom.

        (Is this conversation an indication that we need comfy padded rooms? Because, really, that could be fun.)

  • OMG OMG, this is fucking BRILLIANT.

    I can’t believe I never heard about the slicey-slicey part, but then I just realized I never actually read the story. I just saw the Disney version. Very different!

    • Naughty language on your first comment? I preen! 🙂

      Tell me about the realisation point, dearest, I do so want to know.

      • Just that I THOUGHT I read the story until you got to the gory part, which I’d never heard about. That’s when I realized that my memory of Cinderella is all from that Disney movie. I’m so culturally deprived!

  • Love this new site – looks just like you! Sassy, sunshine and citrus 🙂

    I had read an older version of that story and it had similar mayhem. As a matter of fact, nearly all the fairy tales are like that what with motherless children and cannibal witches 🙂

    • I was tempted to add a second moral to this story: the Grimm Brothers were MESSED UP.

      Thanks for the site love! There’s a professional and much awesomer version coming… I rather hope the colour scheme stays. It’s neato!

  • Ah, the real Grimm fairy tales tend to be rather dark and foreboding, with a tendency to skew towards blood, violence and death – the completely opposite of the laughter & merrymaking that goes on in the Magic Kingdom, ruled by Mickey. If you want some really interesting readings, read the several variations of Grimm’s “Little Red Riding Hood” . . . but I digress.

    I think it’s extremely important to BE AUTHENTIC with yourself, find what makes you happy, what really turns you on (not in THAT way . . . dirty minds), and pursue it. Or, as Catherine is fond of saying, find your Right People.

  • Oh wow, I have never heard such a gruesome version of that story. But I guess everything is getting more G-rated nowadays.

    Awesome analogy, though. I would hate to be the person who’s doing the slicing and making people fit into what I want them to be.

    • In this case it was their mum. Which is both common and totally tragic, I think.

    • Yes, the older versions of the tales are far more graphic.

  • You know, I always wondered about that story – surely there must have been hundreds of women with the same size feet as her. It’s just simple statistics.

    I have a deliciously violent version of the Red Riding Hood story featuring pins. I keep meaning to video it for my blog.

  • So pleased that your new thing is up! I subscribed to the feed and the newsletter and then started reading the content (I have faith in your awesomeness).

    If you haven’t already, track down Bill Willingham’s Fables graphic novels (in which Prince Charming is indeed a dimwit, and Cinderella is a clever undercover agent who pretends to be an airhead).

    But: great moral!

    • I read the first couple trades of Fables. Not bad at all.

  • Story! Yay!!! 😀

    And so true.

    The hard part for me has always been finding places where it’s safe to be myself.
    Thank Goodness for the Internetz.

    • It’s one of the big reasons I love it. Connections everywhere!

  • First, I want two sidekicks and I want them to be called charise and jessamine.  they’ll be the ‘oh, *no* honey.  uh uh.’ sisters.  When I am thinking of cutting something of myself off for the dubious prizes the world offers they will snort and wag fingers and make snide faces and then when i make the noble choice they will preen and strut and hold me upright because otherwise i might fall over from the way bravery often careens into me and doesn’t not leave me feel sturdy until much later when i stopped being self conscious about it.  

    they would remind me that any award I have to compete for by giving up myself is fool’s gold.  because, explain to me, why i can be so smart and find that so easy to forget?  what’s the point of all my brains when they fail to remind me of and reinforce my awesomeness at those crucial, most vulnerable times?

    nope. brains, you’re out. Charise and Jessamine are in. They pull off ‘don’t give a fuck’ better than you ever could.

    but i still love you, 
    E.

  • Pingback: The alchemist, jester and the marketer talk bestest people()