I think the real reason little girls dream of being a fairytale princess is to avoid housework. They know at a very young age that part of their lot in life is (still, even in the early 21st century) doing the bulk of the cleaning necessary for day to day living. Cinderella might have had a cruel stepmother, but I think it was being on her knees scrubbing the floor that made her long to escape her everyday life.
The handsome prince of course is nice to look at, but I think the emphasis must be more on his social and economic status (hey, honey, we have maids to do this! so you don’t have to!) rather than his rugged good looks. But even though Cindy lives “happily ever after” and leaves her old life behind – does she treat her maids with any sympathy? Probably not. She’s just so glad to get a manicure and relieve her aching red dry hands from the daily dose of cleansing powder and scrubbing, she probably doesn’t think about those who toil for her. After all, she’s made the leap to the upper class in the twinkling of a glass shoe!
Of course, the fact that her prince rides a beautiful stallion doesn’t hurt, either. C’mon, did they really take a pumpkin-carriage to the ball? The Cinderella I believe in would have jumped at the opportunity to ride one of the carriage horses with her date through the forest to the castle. Imagine, Cinderella thinks, riding that handsome steed through the forest and across the countryside, racing to her freedom. Maybe she flashes a mischievous smile to her prince, and races away without him. She has her freedom now – why stick around?
Ask any 8 year old girl – she wants a horse of her very own. She, too, longs for her freedom, and the horse brings it – like a bike, only faster, and more adventurous. Maybe a prince, too, for the same reasons. It’s all about “escape.” But what her older (much much older) sisters don’t tell her – is that the housework never ends. And the escape is only a fairytale.