Paging Cinderella: This Country Built a Glass Slipper Wedding Chapel for Women

Officials in Taiwan called the church ‘romantic,’ but feminists are giving the structure a side-eye.
Tourists take pictures in front of the shoe-shaped church on Jan. 11, 2016. (Photo: STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Jan 17, 2016· 1 MIN READ
Culture and education editor Liz Dwyer has written about race, parenting, and social justice for several national publications. She was previously education editor at Good.

A new church in Taiwan seems designed to appeal to brides searching for the fairy-tale version of “happily ever after.”

To attract women, local government officials on the island nation off the southeastern coast of China have built a glass church designed in the shape of a high-heeled shoe. The 55-foot-tall glass slipper will open for wedding ceremonies in early February in the city of Budai. It took workers two months to install 320 blue-tinted glass panels at a cost of nearly $700,000, reported BBC News.

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“In our planning, we want to make it a blissful, romantic avenue,” Pan Tsuei-ping, the recreation section manager for Budai, explained to the news outlet. “Every girl imagines how they will look like when they become the bride.”

The fantasy of Prince Charming rescuing a woman thanks to her glass slipper has been around since the 17th century, when French author Charles Perrault introduced the magical shoe in Cinderella. The story has long been criticized by feminists for its gender expectations, particularly its message that women should be passive and beautiful and fall in love with wealthy men who will solve their problems. The 1950 Disney animated film helped export that message around the world, according to critics.


A photo posted by Rong-Jyun Wu (@rongjyun.wu) on

As for whether women in Taiwan are waiting to be rescued, on Saturday the country elected its first woman president, Tsai Ing-wen, who won the election with 56 percent of the vote.

Taiwanese authorities said the slipper is inspired by the experience of a local woman who lived in the area in the1960s. Her legs were amputated from disease, which resulted in her wedding being called off. The woman never married and lived out the rest of her days at a local church. The church built in her memory will cater to what local officials believe women want.

“There will be 100 female-oriented features in the church, like maple leaves, chairs for lovers, biscuits, and cakes,” government spokesman Zheng Rongfeng told local Taiwanese media, BBC News reported. “It will be tailored to women, especially female tourists visiting the area.”

Yet not everyone is enthused about the glass slipper church. A woman named Jessie Chou summed up the backlash to the structure in a comment on the Chinese social media platform Weibo. “I wear flip flops anyway,” she wrote, according to BBC News.

The building was given a side-eye by some men too. German sex trafficking prevention researcher and activist Matthias Lehmann tweeted a cartoon mash-up of Cinderella and the glass slipper church. “Finally! A #church for #women...” Lehmann captioned the photo, along with the hashtag “#sexism.”