although a woman may be ugly, although her soul may be stained with all the wrongs she learned at her mother's knee or through her mother's genes, a prince still comes for her.
Beats his way through the dark forest for her.
Battles dragons, trawls the aching wind, searches and calls and longs for her.
That's what Love does. It loves. And it doesn't ever give up, or else it wouldn't be love.
The old fairy tales are women's tales, told by women for the secret education of women. And have you noticed, women understand violence. (Not just the violence of a man killing his wives and hanging them up behind a locked door, but also of the beast who forces a woman to stay with him until she accepts him, and of the parents who sell their daughter into marriage, and of a stepmother's jealousy.) Fairy tales are all about women recognising danger and holding themselves strong against it until love finds them.
But I believe Love will find even the weak woman, the ignorant woman, the one with scars and stains and self-inflicted sorrows. Love will lift her out of shame and into her true inheritance of beauty. After all, the message of Cinderella is that souls are lovely even under ashes and rags. Sometimes the ashes are our mistakes. Sometimes the rags are the cruel words we learn to speak, the unkindness we are taught to propogate.
I believe in a story that wasn't told, of an ugly sister sitting lonely and bruised ... and of a handsome Prince who scours the wastelands looking for her until at last he finds the one woman whose fits just right into the beautiful soul-destiny he offers.