Folklore, modern media, and historical events within the western world tell us that women are meant to be the fairer and weaker of the two sexes; while reiterating the idea that men are strong, and ultimately the saviors of women. This notion has been used to fortify the difference between the two genders. It claims that women cannot save themselves, or each other, and can only find their, "happily ever after," with the help of a man. Perrault's, "Cinderella: or The Glass Slipper," is the story of a mistreated girl, who eventually marries a prince, and goes on to live happily ever after. Within Perrault's, "Cinderella," women are illustrated as powerful, and are the sole characters that drive the plot. While the male characters within the story remain flat and generally unimportant. This story challenges the gender dichotomy that has depicted women as demure, and men as being critical in the lives of women. .
Perrault's, "Cinderella," is essentially a story about women. The women are given identifiers that allow the readers to foresee their actions, while the men in the story are flat. The males are nearly unidentifiable, showing an absence of importance amongst the male characters. "Cinderella," begins by characterizing the women in the story, describing Cinderella's new stepfamily as the, "haughtiest and proudest," (449). It introduces Cinderella and her late mother as, "gentle," "good," and the, "best in the world," (450). What stands out the most amongst these descriptions, is the lack of characterization of Cinderella's father. He is only described as being, "totally under the control of his wife," (450). It is presumed that without Cinderella's father being so feeble under the rule of his new wife, he would better protect Cinderella from being mistreated by her new stepfamily. In society, men are often portrayed as the safeguards of women, especially in the case of female relatives.