The ugly stepsisters in the Overton Window

This past Sunday my mother-in-law kindly treated my daughters and me to tickets to see the National Tour of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway musical, Cinderella.  Of course it was lovely and magical; even my high schooler gasped when Cinderella’s rags magically turned into a ball gown right in front of our eyes.

“How did they do that?” she asked, but I couldn’t answer because I didn’t know.  It was quite astonishing. But one song in particular made me laugh:

The Stepsister’s Lament

CHARLOTTE

Why would a fellow want a girl like her, a frail and fluffy beauty?

Why can’t a fellow ever once prefer a solid girl like me?

She’s a frothy little bubble with a flimsy kind of charm,

And with very little trouble, I could break her little arm!!

Why would a fellow want a girl like her, so obviously unusual?

Why can’t a fellow ever once prefer a usual girl like me?

A SECOND LADY OF THE COURT

Her cheeks are a pretty shade of pink

CHARLOTTE

But not any pinker than a rose is

A THIRD LADY OF THE COURT

Her skin may be delicate and soft

CHARLOTTE

But not any softer than a doe’s is

A FOURTH LADY OF THE COURT

Her neck is no whiter than a swan’s

LADY

She’s only as dainty as a daisy

CHARLOTTE

She’s only as graceful as a bird, so why is the fellow going crazy?

CHARLOTTE & THE LADIES OF THE COURT

Oh why would a fellow want a girl like her, a girl who’s merely lovely

Why can’t a fellow ever once prefer a girl who’s merely me?

What’s the matter with the man?

CHARLOTTE

Yes, he’s witty, so disarming, and I like the way he really holds a room

Clever cunning, ever charming, how do I make him see I’m special?

It’s a pity

LADIES OF THE COURT

It’s a pity

CHARLOTTE

I’m as pretty

LADIES OF THE COURT

I’m as pretty

ALL

Plus I’ve got the patience of a perfect saint

So I’m waiting, always waiting

Nevertheless, I’m in a mess

CHARLOTTE

Loosen my dress, help me, I’m starting to faint!

LADIES OF THE COURT

Why would a fellow want a girl like her, a girl who isn’t dizzy

Why can’t a fellow ever once prefer

CHARLOTTE

A high-strung girl like me…

Ah, the usual feminist refrain…there is no such thing as a universal standard of beauty!  But of course there is and to say otherwise is really quite delusional.  We plain girls do best by accepting it, making the most of what we do have in the looks department, and then being darned charming to make up for the lack of objective physical beauty. One overcomes being plain by being sweet, not by being horrid.  After all, if you wish to catch a fly, you use honey, not vinegar.

But really, it is liberal modernity that insists there are no absolute standards; feminists aren’t even clever enough to come up with that idea by themselves, the poor dears.

Anyway.

Do you remember a while back I had my own little lament about how I didn’t have the right words to talk about politics because “left” and “right” no longer make any sense to me?

…to talk about politics, we have to use these grossly inaccurate terms that don’t really mean precisely or even approximately what we want to say. We end up sounding like teenage girls gossiping about their frenemies instead of mature adults using wisdom and good judgement to decide upon a course of action.

 

Well, I read with interest several recent posts at Zippy Catholic, from which I will pull two quotes for your consideration.

From How no enemies to the right perpetuates the mind trap:

We can think of modern politics as a mental prison composed of a soft chewy center, a comfortable center made of left-right faux opposition within the Overton window – differing mainly from place to place on how many and which particular unprincipled exceptions to liberalism are allowed.

And from Life outside the padded walls:

“Understanding our sociopolitical life as more of an ‘inside-outside’ thing than a ‘left-right’ thing changes our perspective significantly. Living inside or outside of a lie isn’t a matter of left versus right; it is a matter of the evil, false, and ugly versus the good, the true, and the beautiful.”

Of course, that makes quite a bit of sense.  This is probably why so much of the news, political discourse, and cultural commentary I read sounds like it was written by middle school girls on the rag rather than rational adults.  The good, the true, and the beautiful resides firmly outside the present day Overton Window clogged with (literal and metaphorical) ugly, high-strung, jealous stepsisters in denial of reality.

Humorously enough, the feminist denial of objective standards of beauty (which thereby elevates physical beauty above its proper place, anyway) probably is no small part of what makes a lot of people (men in particular, I would imagine) look up and say, “Hmm.  I know I am supposed to find the ugly stepsister just as beautiful as Cinderella, but some how I can clearly see she isn’t…hey, look, there’s a whole ‘nuther world outside this window!”

So thank you, grumpy feminist stepsisters, for making the view inside the Overton Window so appalling that some folks actually peek outside for the first time.

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16 thoughts on “The ugly stepsisters in the Overton Window

  1. It’s a really good post. Well done.

    This quote resonated with me and fits in well with the subject of truth and beauty, “Understanding our sociopolitical life as more of an ‘inside-outside’ thing than a ‘left-right’ thing changes our perspective significantly.” Modern women are encouraged to perceive beauty as an outside-in kind of thing, make up, botox, fashion. In Christianity we are encouraged to cultivate inner beauty. That doesn’t remain invisible, it actually rises to the surface, comes from the inside out.

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  2. After seeing Cinderella, you might need some mind bleach. Try this.

    I saw this for the first time after seeing 300. Talk about two very different characterizations of Xerxes. Superb cast and Omar Sharif finally gets to play a Persian.
    You were missed!

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  3. Real common….people complain about not meeting someone special, but if you suggest that there might be a reason, boy will all Hell break loose.

    Anybody else remember Rush’s old skit about a government-funded “Liberty Tattoo Removal Program”, where the beneficiary is so amazed at the improvement in his life when the pentagram was removed from his forehead, he was ready to try bathing? That is, in a nutshell, what “fat acceptance” and the like means to me. There is a not too subtle difference between “not insisting on model like looks” and “getting queasy when a prospective beau is 50 pounds overweight.”

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  4. Thinking back to when I was a kid, it wasn’t so much that the stepsisters were fat or ugly, it was that they were mean.
    While feminists are going to push “fat acceptance” as the”new normal”, most men are not going to buy it. They stayed skinny.

    Liked by 2 people

    • This is a really good point. There really are some men that prefer women who are rounder, seriously, but it’s pretty rare to like women who are downright mean. That point was well made in the original Cinderella story, the stepsisters were not unattractive because they were fat, but becasue they were mean. Cinderella herself is not beautiful in a traditional sense, but because of her inner beauty and what is in her heart. She cleans up well, that inner beauty gets translated to the outside making her attractive, while the ugly stepsisters are all bejeweled and adorned and yet they still remain ugly.

      That is a lesson our entire culture needs today but it is all but edited out with the disneyfication of our fairytales. Our culture spends far too much time obsessed over what is outside and no time at all examining what is inside of us. Even the fat acceptance movement reveals this, it is not physical appearance that makes us recoil so much as it is having someone demand our approval and acceptance and do it in a very shaming way.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I seem to remember the old story that as it takes more muscles to frown than to smile, wrinkles and such could be said to in part be the result of cruelty. The old versions of Cinderella (I’ve got a couple in the original German) show the stepsisters as having harsh looking faces and somewhat stooped, but not as fat.

        Come to think of it, it strikes me that I can think of a couple of people I know who are prematurely aged or uglified by wrath, and who doesn’t look better when they smile?

        OK, except for the guy who really needs to see the dentist? :^)

        Liked by 1 person

      • I tripped over a post about a facebook group that is getting a lot of static from feminists. After reading it, I came to see that feminists don’t want men to have any standards at atl. Me are not allowed to disqualify any woman who may present herself.
        That is not a two way street.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Hello Sunshine,

    A question for you, and, no pressure, but your answer may determine the fate of the Caldo women’s entertainment future:

    What do you think about the recent live adaptation of Cinderella?

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    • Hello Cane,
      Do you mean the one we just saw? Or is there a different one?

      The Broadway musical is quite good, worth seeing. Now, do remember that our values are never going to be portrayed in entertainment…but there was nothing seriously objectionable and the choreography, costumes, singing, sets and effects were all lovely. It was also well-cast; you can read about the cast here:
      http://cinderellaonbroadway.com/castandcreative

      I find it interesting that the young lady who played Cinderella cites Eph. 3:14-20 in her bio. I can’t recall ever seeing that in a bio before (except when we saw a play adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters).

      What I liked about it: Cinderella was portrayed as sweet, kind, and feminine as well as beautiful. One of the two step-sisters was plain of face but also had a sweet, kind demeanor and was rewarded with marriage to Jean-Michel.

      The other ugly step-sister was brash, bold, rude, loud, unkind, and fat. She set her sights on the Prince and he alone. She ends up unloved but is forgiven by Cinderella for her nastiness.
      I like the way Cinderella eschewed cattiness and forgave her stepmother at the end of the play.

      The girls just liked all the pretty dresses and singing and dancing. The audience was 85% female and everyone was very dressed up. I think your wife and daughters would enjoy it. 🙂

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      • Do the stepsisters cut off heel or toes, and then have their eyes pecked out by ravens?

        (they called it the “Brothers Grimm” for a reason, after all)

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