Marcia Lieberman's Some Day My Prince Will Come

1801 Words8 Pages
So many girls have this fantasy of being Cinderella and having a “fairy tale” life, but what version of Cinderella and what types of fairy tales are these girls looking up to for their idea of an ideal life? In Marcia Lieberman’s essay “Some Day My Prince Will Come,” she opposes the views of another scholar, Alison Laurie, who believes that fairy tales are something that radical feminists would approve of because the stories, “suggest a society in which women are as competent and active as men, at every age and in every class.” Lieberman argues that it is popular fairy tales--the ones that we all know and the ones we read to our children--that actually acculturate the masses of young girls in society, therefore the lesser-known stories cannot…show more content…
Lieberman’s point is that fairy tales make beauty the basis for which reward is given, not intelligence, work ethic, or anything else a radical feminist would see as an asset. Lieberman also stresses that in popular fairy tales, beauty is associated with being kind and well-tempered whereas ugliness is associated with being ill-tempered and often jealous. This can be easily shown in one of the most popular fairy tales of all—Cinderella. In this, Lieberman argues, Cinderella is oppressed by her cruel, ugly stepsisters and stepmother who force the kind, beautiful girl to do all the chores in the house. Cinderella ends up getting the prize (marriage to the prince) based on looks alone. Most fairy tales follow this general concept: pretty girls who don’t do much get the prize in the end. Lieberman also argues that for boys, it is the bold and active ones that win whatever prize is available, which follows the ideas of traditional gender roles. Lieberman makes a strong point throughout her essay that, “Marriage is the fulcrum and major event of nearly every fairy tale” (325). What Lieberman is trying to stress is that fairy tales always have an emphasis…show more content…
The most popular ones have the beautiful girl getting married and having a happy ending, but what about the lesser-known ones? Why aren’t they as popular? Most people haven’t heard of fairy tales like The Robber Bridegroom or other stories like it. This could possibly be because the heroine breaks the mold of the gender stereotype girls are placed in. She is cunning, resourceful, and brave. She definitely does not fit into the passive role that has been given to the more popular heroines. As in many fairy tales, the beautiful daughter is basically given away as if she is an object to a man who wants to marry her. Of course the girl’s father approves of the suitor because he appears rich, but the girl is not as impressed. She, “did not like him as much as a bride should like her bridegroom,” (Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm). This alone breaks the rules of the fairy tales we all know because there is a mention of whether the girl likes her suitor or not. In most fairy tales marriage is a prize, not something that has to do with actually liking someone. The girl then goes to her fiancé’s house and hears a bird screeching that she should turn back because she is in a murderer’s house. After exploring the dark home, the girl discovers and old woman. The next rule is broken when the old lady is kind to the beautiful girl and tries to help her. She is neither jealous nor mean, as popular fairy tales would lead us to believe.

More about Marcia Lieberman's Some Day My Prince Will Come

Open Document