The Cinderella Complex

Fandango’s Provocative Question # 183:

Does diversity casting in TV shows or movies, where fictional characters who were presumed to be white in the source material are portrayed by non-white actors, concern or bother you? Why do you feel that way?

When I was in grade school and summer vacation was just about over, one of the neighbor girls decided that she was going to host a ” Princess Party ” to celebrate  going back to school…weird right?  Thinking back on it, I realized that must have been her Mom’s idea.

Anyway, some of us girls busted out  our Halloween masks and costumes and made crowns and wands. Then we started to chit chat about what Princess we were going to be and of course our references were Disney Princesses.

Right away I said I was going as Cinderella ( and considering three of us had already called it, one more shouldn’t have made a difference ) and it didn’t until…

We were sitting under a tree in my front yard making wands out of tinfoil.

At the time she was my best friend and I guess she decided she needed to break the news to me. I still don’t know who put her up to it. ” You can’t be Cinderella. ”

” Then I can be Snow White ” I said. That was an ok choice she had dark hair like me. plus my dress wasn’t from a box, so I didn’t really have to be Cinderella.

My friend sadly insisted ” you can’t be her either.”

I said why not and  my friend  said, ” because you just can’t be. I know!” she looked relived and she said ” Maybe you can dress up like a cat!  That would be neat… A Princess Cat!”

” I’m going to be Cinderella. She’s my favorite. ”

” Anita. ” my friend was really upset. ” You can’t be Cinderella because your Mom is from Hawaii. ”

My Mom being from Hawaii was code for ” Anita you’re not white. ”

My Mom is actually Filipino but she was born and raised in Hawaii.

” So? ” I was getting frustrated. ” So what? You don’t look like Cinderella. You look like that girl in the Yo Yo commercials. ”

My friend got up, threw her half made wand to the grown and stomped her foot. ” She’s ugly! ”

I remember I said she sure was and I picked up my wand and flounced off.

Just like a Princess.

That was actually the last argument me and my friend ever had because when school started again I guess I snubbed her and I wouldn’t walk to school with her and even though we were in the same class I made sure I didn’t even look at her.

Our Moms used to do coffee and cigarettes after they got home from work and I guess my ‘meanness’ was brought up and my friend’s Mom said I had gone from being a nice girl to a hateful one and did my Mom know what my problem was?

My Mom honestly didn’t know about the Cinderella issue and even if she had she probably would have told me I could stay home or if I went to not make trouble.

In the end I went as Cinderella in a cool Princess dress that my Grandmother had made for me by hand for Halloween the year before ( no fooling, it was beautiful and well made because she was a talented seamstress ) and I did not make trouble.

Years later I remember how good the cupcakes were and I remember how silly some of my sister Princesses looked in their plastic Cinderella Halloween costumes at the end of August.

None of them really looked like Princesses that day- not a single one of them.