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    An Analysis of Halloween as Looming and Blair

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    Halloween is looming and Blair, my four year old great-niece, has been talking about it for weeks. She told me, confidentially, quietly whispering in my ear, that this year shes going as Cinderella. Im sure I frowned upon hearing the news. I was hoping for Xena, Warrior Princess or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But no, four year old Blair Allison, the product of three generations of awakening feminism, wants to go as Cinderella.

    I shouldnt be surprised that Cinderella has captured another generation. Its impossible to get through the day without seeing her image. Shes on party plates, p.j.s, twin sheets, lunch boxes and tee shirts. One tends to forget that Cinderella emerged from a fairy tale. Disney has immortalized her and Madison Avenue has made a fortune off her image. Shes everywhere.

    Cinderella embodies all that America loves best. Shes young, shes beautiful and shes on the verge of realizing the American dream. Rags to riches, triumphant, what could be better? However, ominously, Cinderella, has a darker side. How do I tell Blair about Cinderellas fatal flaws? For, despite, the picture perfect image, and despite the advancing years, Cinderella, is still as codependent as ever. In fact, the sin of Cinderella is her ongoing, untreated codependency.

    Where has Cinderella been this past decade? Why has she been in denial while the rest of America worked on its inner child, adult child and dysfunctional family issues? Its clear shes missed John Bradshaws series, “The Family.” Obviously, she hasnt boned up on codependency, let alone, women who love too much. If Cinderella had stayed current, she wouldnt be covered with ashes, still trying to please an impossible parent. In fact, she might not be marrying the Prince. Its crystal-clear, as clear as a glass slipper, that Cinderella is a candidate for recovery.

    If Cinderella had watched the PBS series, “The Family,” she would know shes living in a dysfunctional family. Cinderellas family tree is more than a bit fuzzy. Was her mother dead or merely missing? And, what about her dad? There are so many versions of Cinderellas life, its impossible to ascertain the truth. Like many children today, Cinderella is living in a single-head of household, household and of course, she has the whole step sibling issue to contend with.

    If Cinderella had identified her codependency, she might have challenged the abuse and shame going on in her home. Why was she emptying the chamber pots and sleeping with mice while her step sisters spent the day preening and ordering her about? This is abuse, clear and simple. No self- respecting, recovering codependent would take this lying down. And speaking of lying down, theres the whole issue of her sleeping in the fireplace. Cinderellas self-esteem couldnt be lower. Doesnt she have a shred of responsibility to herself and her loyal fans to rectify this situation?

    If Cinderella had identified her codependency, she would have realized she was a woman who loved too much. After all, wasnt she rushing things a bit with the Prince? Theyd had one date, if you could call it that, and now shes agreed to marry the man. She barely knows him; hes practically a stranger. True, hes rich and true, hes famous but does she really believe theyll live happily ever after?

    I hate to bring up the issue of Cinderellas deception but lets be honest, the Prince didnt even recognize Cinderella in her everyday life. Like many women who love too much, Cinderella is afraid to be her true self. This relationship is off to a bad start. What will the Prince do when he discovers Cinderellas lack of education and social skills? Does she have the smarts to take over as mistress of the castle or is Cinderella living in a fantasy?

    Blair is too young to deal with the complexities of Cinderellas background and life problems. Perhaps, in time, a few books on womans issues need to find space alongside the fairy tales. Perhaps its wrong of me to malign Cinderella at all. Jenny Lyn Bader, in her essay, “Larger Than Life,” laments, “It was the generations that preceded ours who killed off our heroes.” I am of that generation and perhaps much too hard on heroes. Right or wrong, I want Blair to be aware of the Cinderella trap. Hopefully, Blair will not waste time waiting for Prince Charming. Hopefully, Blair will never need to be rescued and hopefully, Blair, with or without a prince, will live happily ever after.

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