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Huffington Post: Making Cinderella Relevant

huffpost logoGet your Elsa dresses ready, because there’s a new Frozen short film! But wait. There’s a catch.

If you want to treat your Frozen-obsessed daughter to Frozen Fever, a seven-minute film featuring Anna, Elsa, Olaf and the gang, you’ll have to take her to see Cinderella 2015, which will be released on March 13.

I wouldn’t have minded that clever marketing tie-in if Disney had updated the Cinderella plot. But they haven’t. At least, not that I can tell from the trailer in which the cackling, jealous stepsisters and stepmother try to diminish an attractive young woman for sport.

It seems like Cinderella 2015 is a live version of Cinderella 1950 with no meaningful changes that might make it relevant for girls who actually live in 2015. I would love to be wrong here, but if I’m not, I must ask: Disney, how could you? How could you get it so wrong after getting it so right with Frozen? And after Maleficent, which took the evil female character from Sleeping Beauty, originally conceived through unreconstructed eyes, and gave her depth and complexity? Maleficent also recast the concept of love’s true kiss as Frozen did, taking a man out of the equation. Those of us with young daughters are thrilled to be able to take them to a Disney flick without cringe-inducing plot and characters. So how did this happen?

Oh, well. Disney is valued at $143b. They can afford some mistakes. They can even afford to make another Cinderella one day. So here are some ideas on how to make Cinderella relevant.

Cinderella 2015: Once upon a time, three mean, unattractive women victimized a young, pretty one.

Relevant Cinderella: Once upon a time, an employer expected a young woman to work harder than her male counterparts and paid her less for doing the same job.
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Cinderella 2015: Once upon a time, a young woman’s beauty solved absolutely all her problems.

Relevant Cinderella: Once upon a time, in spite of all the advertisements and messages that tried to convince a woman that she had to be perfect and look perfect and have a perfect life, she realized that it was all really daft, because nothing is perfect and that she was going to accept imperfection in herself and in the people around her and make it work.
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