Cinderella is a Virgin

April 19, 2010 at 1:32 pm 4 comments

With the launch of my book this past week, I think it is timely to take a look at the ultimate Virgin story – Cinderella.  You can find Cinderella stories in cultures all over the world.  In North America the most famous movie ones would be Ever After and Pretty WomanBollywood Hollywood and most recently The Year of the Fish are also great examples.

What these movies all have in common is that they follow the archetypal structure of the Virgin with a common method of  keeping herself small.  She holds the belief that she has to use her talent and energy to serve others to be loved or safe.  So she puts all her time into the stepsisters and stepmother’s needs and neglects her dream.

There has been lots of great analysis of Ever After and Pretty Woman because they hit such a strong cord with female audiences.  LaVeria Alexander and Alexis Krasilovsky ask the question if giving the protagonist a feisty attitude and physical strength really makes her story a modern feminine journey.

This is an excellent point.  Do we have to give the protagonist masculine characteristics in order to make her an endearing lead character? 

No.  It works for Daniel because it has not been done at the sacrifice of her having a dream of bringing the principle of Utopia to the Kingdom (the drive of the Virgin archetype in this version), and it here that the growth occurs in our protagonist.  She is strong but she carries a belief that she will only know the love of a mother if she is a servant to her.  This cripples her until she Gives Up What Has Kept Her Stuck and accepts she can live without the love of her stepmother.

In Ella Enchanted, they abandoned the Virgin journey in the book and substituted a Hero’s journey with a female lead and it did not work at all.

It is important when writing the initiation of the Virgin journey not to be afraid to show the Virgin as lacking in power, just as the Hero initially Refuses the Call.  It gives greater meaning to her eventual growth. 


Entry filed under: Archetype theory. Tags: , , , , , .

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Julie Swanson  |  May 5, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Kim, I a question regarding Anti-virgin stories that might help my understanding of this variant of the Virgin story. You mention WHALE RIDER in your book, very briefly, on p. 33, but don’t say anything about it being an anti-virgin story or having anti-virgin beats (I think because you don’t get to the chapter describing the anti-virgin type until later in the book?). I loved that movie, could really identify with it. It may not be an anti-virgin story as a whole, but would you agree that WHALE RIDER has some strong anti-virgin beats at least?

    Thanks. I really enjoyed and got a lot out of your book!


    • 2. kim  |  May 7, 2010 at 11:31 am

      Hi Julie,
      Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I had to go back and see the Whale Rider to look for anti-virgin aspects. Great movie. At first I was convinced it was just a Virgin story with the grand-daughter going against the wishes of her traditions as dictated by her grandfather. A great example of over-coming the father complex.

      But then it dawned on me, this is an Anti-Virgin story for the grandfather. His calling is to find the next leader to unite his people. He insists it has to be a man when all indications are the next leader is destined to be his grand-daughter. The community keeps trying to show him the error of his ways but he keeps insisting on the male tradition. He is working against himself until the whales come to show him who they have chosen. It is only then that the grandfather can fulfill his purpose in life. And the kingdom is brighter.

      Thank you for pointing this out to me. Please let me know if you have any more questions or insights.

  • 3. Julie Swanson  |  May 14, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    OK, not exactly what I was thinking of, but I see that you’re right, and that I was wrong (in thinking that it was an anti-virgin story for the girl), and that helps. It gives me a better understanding of the Anti-Virgin story. I hadn’t seen the movie in a long time and was thinking that the girl felt she was no different than the boys, but you reminded me that it was more that she knew it was her true nature/destiny to be her people’s next leader. And though she may have been the first girl leader, that doesn’t mean she was trying to go against her true nature–it was just sort of a first, she was an exception to the rule. She set a precedent. Thanks for taking the time to think about that for me.


    • 4. thevirginspromise  |  May 17, 2010 at 2:37 pm

      Great observations about the core nature of the Virgin. She is the source of rebellion against something that needs to grow and change. It would have been an anti-virgin story if, when the boy stepped out from spear training with her grandfather and offered to fight with Paikae, she had said, “no, that is only for boys”. Then she’s actually working against herself.

      Good luck with your writing and let me know if I can offer any more thoughts on archetypes and writing. It’s so great how you’re getting into this.



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Writing Feminine Stories of Creative, spiritual and Sexual Awakening

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