Cartoons are movies made by adults for children to teach them about life. While their animated form is colorful and exciting for children, their dialogue and plots are rather realistic if you take a closer look.

The story of Cinderella, tells of an orphaned girl who is maltreated by her stepmother. She receives the chance to attend a grand ball; with the help of a fairy godmother, who transforms her into a beautiful princess for one night, after her stepmother had ripped the dress she made into shreds. At the ball, she dances with the prince and gets acquainted and he’s captivated by her. At midnight, as per agreement with the fairy godmother, she has to leave the ball and return home. She got lost in the moment with the prince and had to flee at the stroke of midnight. In her flight, she loses one of her glass slippers and that becomes a clue for the Prince’s search. After trying the slipper on every maiden in the village, the prince finds Cinderella. He then marries her and they live happily ever after.

The above is a skimmed synopsis of the original story. I’ve heard many people reference it as a fairytale and not real life. A few days ago, I chanced on a modernized movie version of the story on TV. I had walked in on the ball scene and watched till the end. In the final scene, the narrator said something that stuck out to me and had me thinking differently of the story for the first time. She said as Cinderella went down the stairs to try on the glass slipper ” as she went down to meet the prince, Cinderella wondered if who she really was would be enough”. When Cinderella met the prince, she said “my prince, I’m Cinderella, an orphan with no dowry and no wealth. I’m not sure if this slipper would fit me, but if it does, would who I am be enough?” The prince replied “I’m a rookie king with yet a lot to learn so I’m not perfect either. If I’m enough for you and you will have me, then I will too”. I had to paraphrase because I forgot their exact words.

While I’ve always known this as part of the story, it hadn’t hit home like it did. By the time Cinderella tried the slipper, she had transformed from the glamorous princess at the ball to the orphaned maid she was. That is no fairytale in my opinion. When you take away the magic of the fairy godmother and all the other make believe stuff, it truly does come down to that real moment of two imperfect people finding a common ground and choosing to spend their lives together. So happily ever after, did actually happen for both of them because there was no pretense.

It had me thinking for a while and took me back to a conversation I had with a friend a few weeks ago. She had/has concluded that the average Ghanaian man is timid but masks it with machoism. And since she’s not attracted to white men and insists on marrying one of her own, she has decided to be more of the kind of woman Ghanaian men want in order to snag one. She has gone as far as deleting some of her social media applications because she had been told by some men that her posts made her come off as too harsh, feminist and abrasive. She said all this while trying to advice me to do same if I want to be married too. I remember telling her that I really don’t care to be anything other than myself to please some man. I can’t say everything she said but she made a lot of sense. While I’m proud of her for deciding to change into who she thinks she needs to be to get what she wants, I wonder what she’s sacrificing and how long she can hold it up. It’s a real power play to adapt to your environment and be demure, yet all the while holding the real power. Smart move if you ask me.

Being the thinker that I am, I analyzed the situation and I have a few questions. Were I to choose a similar route, what would I be giving up? If I give up my social media presence like she did, that would equal giving up my voice and we all know that didn’t go well for Ariel in The Little Mermaid. She traded her voice for legs so she could snag the human but he had fallen in love with her voice. Aladin asked the genie to make him a prince, so he could impress Jasmine, but she wanted the street rat she had fallen for. All of these animated movies point out real life situations that happen even today and probably are more rampant. I honestly cannot come up with one thing I would want to change about myself for the sake of marriage. If that means I never walk down an aisle, then say hello to the Ghanaian Oprah with a resident penis and no ring. I could tell my friend to be herself and not kowtow to society and it’s whims. But it’s a decision she’d have to make herself. I’m sure there are many like her among you. Men and women alike. I’m not saying don’t make healthy compromises for the sake of your relationship. I’m just saying that don’t do it while being someone else. The real you, is enough for the right person.

I know myself well enough to know I’m not demure. When the prince arrives to try on the glass slipper, he’ll find a girl who’s a bowl full of charming with a splash of roguish ways.