Recently, I made a wager with my younger sister that I would watch Frozen if she watched 12 Years a Slave (don’t worry, she’s 19). To be honest, I was ready to get her to do anything to stop singing “Let it Go.”
However, upon watching the movie, I was pleasantly surprised. If Disney makes a plush toy out of Olaf the Snowman, I will be buying one…for one of my little cousins of course.
At first, I was convinced Frozen was going downhill, and apparently I was not alone. Numerous feminists are upset with the movie for a number of reasons. From what I can understand, some are upset because it isn’t true to The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson. First of all, is the movie titled “The Snow Queen”? Exactly. Disney movies aren’t carbon copies of the source material and if they were, they would obviously not be for children.
Someone was upset that Frozen only represented “first-wave feminism”. Be thankful that it represents ANY feminism, it is a Disney movie remember?
And this person just had a vendetta against the movie for about the first half of her analysis although I found myself agreeing with her on the last half-page of points. I felt that her tables about marriage and betrothal in Disney movies didn’t really take into account that the audience basically knows that the two characters will eventually be getting married by the way that the relationships are going, and that those actions basically happen in sequels to those movies.
I have to say that I connected more with this breakdown of the film. As I watched, I found myself cracking up and having fun. At one point, my sister told me that she saw some of our relationship in the relationship between Elsa and Anna, which was interesting. How many other girls see themselves in either Elsa or Anna? For other Disney princess movies, the characters represented wonderful ideals for girls to aspire to. Belle read books, Pocahontas wanted the ability to choose her own path, and Mulan wanted to bring honor to her family and she fought alongside men. I found myself admiring these characters as I grew up and I’m sure many girls did as well.
However, how many girls said “I’m just like Mulan” instead of “I wish I were like Mulan” or “I want to be like Mulan”? I think Disney did something clever with Frozen and the relationship between Elsa and Anna. More girls are identifying with the struggles, desires, and relationships that the characters are experiencing, and I think that’s fantastic.
When it comes down to it, the fact that Frozen downplays romantic relationships is why everyone is excited about it. In many Disney movies, but especially the princess movies, the crisis is in the wake of some romantic plot. In Frozen, women finding agency for themselves without a man is the main point. That is why people are happy.
Also, if your parents died and you had to basically raise yourself, you’d turn out a little crazy too as the audience can see in Elsa’s self-repression and Auna’s little-to-no common sense in the beginning.
Frozen had all the tenets of Disney (the destruction of family through death, girl meets boy, girl wants to marry boy within 15 minutes of meeting him, and a cringe-worthy song.)
But, I believe every single woman who thinks of auditioning for The Bachelor should watch Frozen and then decide if they still want to go on The Bachelor. Why would you get engaged to someone you just met? I think it happens all too often that people are attracted to someone and then immediately project into the future and start thinking about marriage and the whole nine yards. It’s just a common sense thought, but I digress.
Even though Disney has been subtly subverting the message of perfect relationships and happily-ever-afters, a lot of that thought has seeped though to current culture. Many romantic relationships often end up being co-dependent and/or dysfunctional. I have not watched Don Juan by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, but I admire what he was trying to do with the project. No one deserves to have preconceived notions put on them and then be expected to conform to those. Everyone loses in that respect. I actually liked the song by the trolls in Frozen because it’s true to a certain extent. No one is perfect and everyone is a “fixer-upper.” The sooner people are able to come to terms with that, the healthier they will be.
Frozen should not be the end all be all for feminism, because that’s a tall order. And if that’s what feminists were expecting with Frozen, especially being a Disney film, then it’s no wonder that they were disappointed. What should (and did) happen is that Frozen should be used to prompt engaging conversation about feminism and the future of feminism. And besides, if one little girl is inspired by Frozen and grows up to become a fantastic feminist, won’t the movie have served more than it’s purpose?