Betty Boop, Sadie Hawkins and Cinderella

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Of the three women, Sadie Hawkins, Betty Boop or Cinderella, which would be more likely to know how to fix her own rims and tires ? How to change the oil in her car, or even just simply check the oil? Which one would know when it is time to switch the windshield wiper blades or when to have her car tuned up? Myths and stories that children grow up with can have a lasting effect on the way girls feel about themselves and the women they grow up to be. Not only this, but they have an effect on how they may be perceived throughout their life.

The Sadie Hawkins story began with a comic strip. Two female characters came onto the animation scene in the 1930’s. One was created by Max Fleischer and Grim Natwick. This character is Betty Boop, who quickly became a symbol for female strength and personified the world of feminism. The other was created by Al Capp and also has become a feminist role model, and she is Sadie Hawkins . In Capp’s story, Sadie was 35 years old. The story revolves around a race, wherein the spinster chases eligible bachelors throughout the day, and the one she drags across the finish line by sundown, was required by law to marry her.

Over the years, this somewhat sad story has evolved into women standing up for what they want, and reversing the gender roles. It is a bit telling of a society, when a ‘holiday’ must be created in order for a woman to have the ‘chance’ at doing so, however…much in the same way Betty Boop put power back into the hands of women so too did Sadie Hawkins. The difference between the stories of Sadie and Betty, is that Betty was no wall flower. She did not need a day to make a man dance with her. In fact, Betty may have wanted men, but she certainly did not need men. If she were outfitting her car with new Goodyear tires , she would not need a man to come along for support. Betty would know which kind of tire would give her the best traction during a snow storm or which ones were rated safest and most durable.

Cinderella is a story of a different sort. Over the years, politically correct versions of the story have been written. These modern stories give Cinderella more of the characteristics and strengths that are possessed by Hawkins and Boop. Cinderella is pretty and nice, but helpless to change her situation. Her stepmother and step sisters are ugly and mean. Chances are that the stepmother and sisters would know how to change a car tire, but they would make Cinderella do it. She would get it done of course, but in order to do so she would most likely be standing on the side of the road with her pretty little foot showing…attracting not a man with the glass slipper, but a man with a tire jack and strong forearms. Or, perhaps ol’ Sadie and Betty may pull over…and teach Cinderella how to fix it all herself.

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