Information for Parents
Common Sense Media says OK for kids 5+
Sweet fairy tale classic for little princes and princesses.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this Disney classic is one that families can enjoy together. Kids will likely already be familiar with Cinderella and her Disney Princess colleagues due to a massive marketing effort behind the ladies; their images appear on everything from backpacks to toothpaste. As for other issues of concern, little ones might be upset by the wicked stepsisters and stepmom, who can be very mean and even destructive. In today's world of blended families, it might also be worth discussing that not all stepparents and siblings are mean. And Cinderella is the quintessential passive heroine rescued by a male character (in this case, the Prince), so discussions about her meekness might be in order.
- Families can talk about how many people are troubled by the passive heroine, who meekly accepts her abusive situation and waits to be rescued. It's worth discussing, with both boys and girls, what some of her alternatives could have been ("If you were Cinderella, would you do what that mean lady told you?"), and making sure that they have some exposure to stories with heroines who save themselves.
- Talk about how the women are depicted in the movie. What kinds of stereotypes about appearance and behavior do you notice? For younger kids: Why are the stepsisters ugly and Cinderella pretty? What would the story be like if Cinderella was ugly?
- If you had a fairy godmother, what would you like her to do for you? Or would you like to be a fairy godmother? Whose wish would you grant?
The good stuff
Educational value: Some good life lessons: Life is often what you make out of it; positivity can be found in even the worst of circumstances.
Positive messages: There are both positive and negative messages in this classic fairy tale. On the positive side: Although it may be difficult to find good in terrible situations, a positive attitude will provide great strength. Happiness is a choice. On the downside: The portrayal of romantic love could mislead young girl's ideas about how real love and relationships work. Also, the movie supports the idea that passive female characteristics and a dependence on men is normal and positive.
Positive role models: Although passive, Cinderella is a kind, generous, and forgiving person. She loves animals and takes care of her undeserving, extended family. She wears a smile and keeps faith that her unfortunate situation will get better. However, her stepmother and sisters are greedy and selfish displaying great hatred due to their uncontrolled jealousy.
What to watch for
Violence and scariness: The evil stepsisters tear the beautiful ball gown that the mice have made for Cinderella. The violence is mild, but there are tense moments that may disturb younger viewers.
Sex: A kiss is shared between Cinderella and her prince. Plenty of focus on romance, marriage, coupling.
Language: Not an issue
Consumerism: Cinderella is a Disney Princess, whose brand reaches far and wide. Expect to see Princess branding on consumer merchandise, food products, etc. as well as in books, websites, and other media.
Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not an issue