1. Read the Brothers Grimm version of Snow White in which Snow White is asked to clean, cook, make beds, wash and sew for the dwarfs in exchange for shelter from the evil queen. Ask your toddler to imagine what might have been different if the dwarfs had been female instead of male, and instead of a tiny cottage in the Wood, if Snow White had stumbled upon Wellesley College.
2. Wonder aloud, what with Cinderella’s history as a cleaner, if she and Prince Charming are likely to share the division of labor in their home. Remark that, if the immaculate state of his white gloves is anything to go by, it’s difficult to imagine that he ever takes out the garbage.
3. Speculate if there is a connection between the Greek mythological Aurora, the goddess of the dawn who arose from the ocean in a saffron robe and rode her horse-drawn chariot across the sky ahead of the sun, sprinkling dew upon the earth, and the Disney Aurora who fainted after getting a booboo from a spinning wheel and whose prince needed to be rescued by bickering fairies. Decide that no, there’s likely no relationship at all.
4. Praise Belle for her love of reading, but segue into a discussion about the Stockholm syndrome as it relates to women, and how that might shed insight into the phenomenon of women who stay in toxic relationships.
5. Propose that the hatred that Anastasia and Drizella feel toward Cinderella is not the fault of the stepsisters, so much as it represents a complete indictment of Western society and its attitudes toward feminine beauty. Suggest that all three women might be victims of the same impossible societal pressures. Work in this timeless Naomi Wolf gem: “The contemporary ravages of the beauty backlash are destroying women physically and depleting us psychologically.” Continue Reading in Motherlode