Home > Christianity, Church, community, Spiritual formation > The Fallacy of the Glass Slipper…(Part 2 of, “Where Are All the Men Hiding?)

The Fallacy of the Glass Slipper…(Part 2 of, “Where Are All the Men Hiding?)

There has been significant interest in my previous post, and I have been thankful for the feedback, questions, support and general feelings of resonance – and, not surprisingly, most of the feedback has come from women! (Surely men read blogs, too?!?)

As I have been able to think about the responses I have received, I have realized one important problem that perhaps need to be addressed above all the others – I would like to call it The Fallacy of the Glass Slipper.

The glass slipper, as the story goes, was made to perfectly fit Cinderella and no one else. It had unique design features that made it impossibly uncomfortable for anyone else who put it on, and was only at home when snuggled perfectly on Cinderella’s foot.

As improbable as this seems, it has become a cultural myth we unthinkingly embody.

We have come to believe that unless something fits us perfectly, it is not meant for us. We have come to believe that there is a glass slipper out there for us, and it is just a matter of time before it finds us – but until then, we are just fine waiting for it to appear (even better, waiting for the dignified person who is surely seeking me out, slipper in hand, because they know how talented/beautiful/awesome I really am).

I see this in many college students with whom I am privileged to journey. There are dreams spoken of that include the perfect job in the ideal location, the right spouse at the right time, the best church when I am most in need. Are these dreams wrong? I don’t know. I do know that these dreams are stifling, and that in itself is a problem.

This image of perfect fit has become an idol, and it has created within us an acute case of Cinderella-itis.

The world I know is not a world of perfect fits. This is a fallen world. I have had several different jobs within higher education, and while I have really enjoyed them all, none of them have been a perfect fit. It’s not because of the job, but because there is no such thing as a perfect fit.

There will always be aspects of anything we do (that is, anything we do that is worth doing) that doesn’t quite feel like it fits. And in this moment of realization we have a choice.

Our choice is this – we say “no thanks” to the opportunity, sit back in our comfortable chairs, and wait for the next one to come along (to which we will most likely say no thanks, or take begrudgingly which will quickly lead to life-sucking cynicism).

Or, we develop the ability to listen and to trust, and step into shoes that might not seem to fit at first, and maybe even seem like they will never fit. But as our feet get used to them, and the shoes grow with us (these are not literal shoes, people!), we begin to see that maybe our perceptions of the perfect fit were imperfect themselves.

And we begin to like these shoes. Sure, there is scuff mark here, and they might not be quite wide enough or have enough arch support. But I can dance more beautifully in these shoes than I ever have danced before, and it almost seems easier than I imagined it would be.

Let’s be people who learn to live beyond the maxim, “If the shoe fits, wear it.” Instead, let’s be people who say, “The shoe might not fit, but I am not Cinderella.”

  1. June 28, 2012 at 9:56 AM

    Good thoughts Jamie…reading the last post.comments too I think this a a huge issue that is deeply ingrained into our society. This glass-slipper fallacy (love that by the way) is relevant to the perfect spaces to minister, which I think is what you are referring to, but in this case I think most applies to the Church’s views of gender. Throughout history women have been told the only place they can minister is to children….throughout history men have been told they are no good with kids (they lack compassion, empathy, correct emotional aptitude). Even in the most egalitarian churches this current rages underneath everything. If we want men to jump into children’s ministry more frequently (likewise if we want to see more women in other forms of Church leadership) we need to address this gender issue.Just saying, I believe it is a part of a broader issue, more about the way the church presents gender at it’s root and than people wanting to find a “perfect fit.”

    • June 29, 2012 at 9:14 AM

      Thanks, Andrew. I think the church’s view of gender is certainly part of it. It is ultimately wrapped up in a societal view of gender, to which the church can and should offer an alternative. What better way than to say, “We value the contribution of all people in our children’s ministries, and to that end we want to make it possible for you to serve in this capacity.”

  2. June 28, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    I appreciated this post. Thanks!

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