The Cinderella Syndrome

Communication / April 23, 2015 / No Comments /
This paper examines how societal shifts, the sexual revolution and the changing role of women have affected how women look at themselves.

The paper examines male and female gender roles and discusses how they have magnified the myth of women’s equality with men. The notion of gender confusion, and a subconscious fear of independence by women is documented in the research published in 1981, by feminist author Colette Dowling. She labeled this phenomenon the Cinderella Complex, and her research, conducted in the 1970s has served as the foundation for research on male and female roles in today’s society. There is an abundance of material available on this topic, some of which are examined and include current research, books and movies that have been released using the theme of “Cinderella.”
“In the decades following Colette Dowling’s 1981 introduction of the concept of gender confusion and misconceptions that she called the Cinderella Complex, women as well as men gradually became more comfortable with the reversal of sexual roles. As society moved toward the end of the twentieth century, the vivid images of the female as the damsel in distress and the male as the protective provider appeared to be fading from its collective consciousness and to be associated much more with the past than with the present. A mass media that had contributed greatly to the repeated impression of these older sexual stereotypes began during this era to promote a perception of the female reflective of her new, improved and much more liberated place within society. Standard-Times correspondent Sarah Guille pointed out this promotional transition in a 1999 article dealing with modern myths and their effects on both media and society. Guille noted that modern scenarios portrayed a Cinderella who, `instead of being carried off in a horse-drawn carriage to a fairy-tale castle with Prince Charming, went to work and could make her own ball gown, build her own castle and take responsibility for her own happily ever after` (Damaged by the Myth).”


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