The Next Disney Movie That Will Never Be: Tipingee

This short little story doesn't exactly lend itself easily to film adaptation, but it's a story I think could be fleshed out in interesting ways. The main point here that is something I would love to see in film, particularly in children's films, is girls working together and supporting each other. It's no mistake this is the story I chose to talk about on International Women's Day; a story showcasing the power women have when supporting and protecting each other would not only be timely, but timeless.

Tipingee is a Haitian story that begins in a rather Cinderella-esque way. Tipingee is an orphan who lives with her wicked step-mother. The step-mother is selfish and keeps all of Tipingee's father's belongings to herself, giving the child nothing. One day while Tipingee is at school, the fire goes out at home and the step-mother ventures into the woods herself to find more firewood. She gathers a heavy bundle, then cries aloud for help.

An old man suddenly appears and tells her he will help her carry it in exchange for something. The step-mother says she will decide what to give him when they reach the house. When they do, he asks her again, and she offers Tipingee to him as a servant, saying that she will have her wait in a red dress by the well the next day. The man agrees, and disappears.

Luckily, Tipingee is by this time back at home, and she overhears the conversation between her step-mother and the old man. She runs around to all her friends in the village, telling all the girls to wear red dresses and wait with her by the well.

The next day, the old man arrives at the well to find a bunch of little girls all dressed in red. He asks which is Tipingee, and one girl says, "I'm Tipingee." A second girl says, pointing at someone else, "She's Tipingee." All the other girls join in, "We're Tipingee, too." The old man runs to the step-mother in a rage, saying that she tricked him. She promises the next day Tipingee will be in a black dress by the well. Tipingee again overhears and tells all her friends to wear black dresses.

The old man returns again to find all the girls at the well wearing black. He asks again which is Tipingee, and they all chant, "I'm Tipingee, she's Tipingee, we're Tipingee, too!" Once again he goes to the step-mother and warns her that if this happens again, he will take her for his servant instead. She promises that the next day Tipingee will be in red by the well, and once again Tipingee overhears.

The third day, all the girls in red continue their chant, "I'm Tipingee, she's Tipingee, we're Tipingee, too!" The old man takes the wicked step-mother away, and Tipingee lives quite happily alone in her father's house.

Tipingee doesn't need magic or her parents' spirits to help save her from her step-mother and the mysterious old man. She relies on her friends, who help and ultimately save her. When women work together, we can accomplish great things. You don't have to be a mighty warrior, you don't have to be a wealthy princess: just support your friends, give help when it is needed, and remember that together we are unbreakable.


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