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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