I thought about making some catchy title to my post, like “You Loved Frozen, But What You Don’t Know Will Shock You And Change Your Mind Forever!” and putting it on social media and watching it go viral. And, maybe if I added a cover of “Let It Go,” I might well be on my way to fifteen seconds of internet fame, but ah, well…I can’t lie.
This will hardly be shocking.
And I probably wouldn’t be writing about it here except for that fact that another Mormon blogger wrote about it (someone much more famous than I am), and it caught the attention of the media. I think it was because she dissected the movie to show it had a gay agenda, which I thought was overreaching.
Before I begin, I understand that this may be a huge disappointment to some of my long time readers. I also admit freely that I am completely aware that watching fireworks over Cinderella’s castle on a weekly basis may have impaired my judgment, so please be patient with me and try to love me in my weakness.
Frozen is a story that deals with universal themes.
Almost every human being on this earth has sometimes felt alone–unable to share a deep pain or hurt–unable to even feel like the ones that love them most could understand.
Almost every human being has also experienced the feeling of being on the other side of the door–wanting to reach out and help someone and love someone but there is this wall between them.
Almost every girl I’ve ever know has briefly dreamed at some point in her life of meeting a great guy who would love her and sweep her off her feet.
And there are lots of girls who have been swept off their feet, only to realize when it really counted, that the great guy was just a selfish jerk.
Almost every guy I have ever met has dreamt of having a pet reindeer. (Just kidding.)
Being misunderstood, or feeling like you are born and/or cursed with something is not a “gay” thing.
It’s something common to the lot of humanity from the beginning of time.
I have found far more “progressive gay moments” in Pirates of the Caribbean, Tangled, and others than I did in Frozen.
In fact, I left Frozen thinking that there might be hope for Disney after all. I mean, it wasn’t perfect–but it was getting there.
Vampiness? Yes. Oh, my yes. Trolls? Why?, and sadly, yes. (Let’s just say the trolls weren’t my favorite part of the film.)
But, gayness ? A gay agenda? No. Not even remotely. The Lion King had more of a gay agenda than this movie.
I do remember thinking:
“Oh, my goodness. There are people who are homosexual I know who are going to completely relate to Elsa!”
And then, I thought that would be a good thing, because it would be something we could point out that gay and straight people have in common–this theme of hurt and hidden pain–and that we could have a great dialogue about it and we could actually consider building on common feelings.
Without contention for once.
But, no. That was not to be. No, now it’s just another contentious debate.
I mean, let’s consider this for a second. If gay people relate to this movie–that they have hidden pain that they are afraid to tell their family, why is that bad?
Nowhere in the movie does anyone condone eternal winter or Elsa’s “no right no wrong freedom.”
I believe that marriage is a holy rite and that particular word should not be redefined out of respect for those for whom this word is sacred and supernatural. I believe that sexual relations should be between a man and woman who are legally and lawfully bound in a marriage covenant.
But I certainly don’t want anyone to think that I feel threatened if a group of people take from this film the message that “coming out” means your family can love you unconditionally and you don’t have to run away or live in fear.
The author of the “Frozen has a gay agenda” post also stated that she believed Hans and Anna’s quick engagement was a jab at people who believe in heterosexual marriage.
I honestly think that the major purpose of this part of the movie was to poke fun at the idea that is so prevalent in fairy tales–and especially in Disney fairy tales–that people can spend 3 minutes together and then fall in love and get married 24 hours later. It was self-deprecatingly funny.
A lot of people are concerned about preschool girls singing “Let It Go,” and worried that they will all embrace a life of “no rules” and celebrate sexuality because of it.
They should be.
I thought the 3.2 seconds of vampiness was way out of line for a children’s movie. It also confused the plot point with the overt sexuality. The words “no right, no wrong, no rules for me / I’m free” repeated over and over again without context are not a good idea for little girls.
I understood what the animators were going for–Elsa is no longer restricted and can have a less restrictive dress. Elsa finally is empowered and the animators could not escape our pornographic culture that says a woman really can’t feel good about herself unless she is sexy.
In their defense, I doubt very seriously that some of the animators even knew how to portray a confident, powerful woman without making it all about sex. Because that is the culture we live in.
And Elsa is not the first time we’ve seen this. How many “good girls” are getting makeovers, not to attract a man, but to to feel empowered? How many moms? How many women have plastic surgery just to feel sexy, not for their husbands, but, they believe, for themselves? I think we are uncomfortable with it precisely because we are guilty of doing what we are charging Elsa with doing.
Elsa’s animators choose purity at the end of the movie. Why? Because it’s the perfect fairytale ending for everyone who lives in our pornographic society: she is loved–really loved–not for what she looks like or how “perfect” she is. Loved unconditionally. She doesn’t need the vampiness anymore because she is no longer objectified.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could be considered powerful and lovely and wonderful without being sexually objectified?
Maybe we are also uncomfortable with that because it begs the question why we feel the need to get vamped up to go on a date or to land a job interview–because we don’t have enough confidence in our own worth to others without being sexualized and objectified.
But, I digress and am far too verbose! Suffice it to say, a mere costume change and letting her hair down would have added to the movie, rather than detract from it, like the sexuality did.
I believe the point of the entire movie was that you cannot just run away from those you love to live with “no right, no wrong, no rules” without causing pain and suffering in a big way. Another point lost on some people is that the “freedom” she sang about in “Let It Go” was not true freedom. In the end she just ran from one prison to another. Elsa’s “no rules” rampage put her entire country in an eternal winter and was responsible for her sister’s icy demise.
Musicals, by definition tell stories with songs. This song was only part of a story. If the song is sung in context with the story, it is not a bad message.
I think part of the reason girls are belting out this song with reckless abandon is because they deeply identify with Elsa. I think to believe it is just about the strut and the sex is to underestimate our children.
I think girls are trying to tell their parents they are tired of hiding secrets they feel they can’t share with their too busy, uninterested, plugged in parents. Are they being bullied at school? Do they have body image issues? Most parents wouldn’t know. They are just too tired. Life is crazy.
I think these girls are smart enough to realize that many of the rules in their lives are arbitrary and condescending. They crave real responsibility, and are given free time and an iPhone instead.
They want to explore and test their limits in a safe environment and they are then required to nix recess, wear safety helmets to run in the grass, and play on “extremely safe” (and consequently, not fun), playground equipment.
Are they tired of adults oversupervising and micromanaging every aspect of their playtime in order to make sure they are always safe?
How many of these kids wish they were free from all the sometimes idiotic time constraints and chaos imposed on them by this culture so they could actually feel spiritual power?
Spiritual enlightenment can only happen in quiet and peace and in time–something that the adults in their lives seem to have stolen from them in their efforts to crowd their lives with activities and endless events to keep them the good girls they always have to be.
Maybe they are actually disgusted with the fact that starting at age 5 they have to watch what they eat, worry about cellulite and be concerned about attaining a state of physical perfection. And if you are reading this and think moms and dads and other adults aren’t out there pressuring their girls about this, you would be wrong.
Maybe this isn’t a gay coming out or even a “moral relativism” anthem more than a universal plea to be understood and loved and valued within the boundaries and rules of faith, not the rule of fear, which Elsa is clearly casting off in “Let It Go”.
Too bad the vampiness confused and took away from what would have been a pretty great children’s story.
Most good works of literature deal with universal themes, and as a consequence, portray evil or wickedness in some way.
The trick is to know the line and not to cross it between telling a story and being gratuitous. Sadly, in a morally relativistic society, it is hard to know where that line is.
Frozen was, however, far, far better than most, if not all, of its predecessors.
Frozen portrayed women as smart and capable, but even better and nearly non-existent in any movies or television today, it portrayed men as smart and capable, too. Too bad all of that is being overlooked. I wish people would talk about that, too, so that Disney knows what was really great about the movie.
It was one of the healthiest portrayals of gender roles in any film I have seen in a while. (Admittedly, I don’t watch too many movies, though.)
A few years ago, I would have had different things to say about the movie. I would have blasted it. But, you know, I have been to the Magic Kingdom, the heart of Disney-dom on earth. And you know what I found there?
I found wholesomeness. No alcohol. No crudity. I found kind clean, modest, kind cast members who love their jobs–who adore their jobs–even if it’s cleaning up trash.
(I also noticed that all the Anna and Elsa merchandising I saw at Walt Disney World is heavily geared toward sisterly love, not Elsa being sexy and powerful….)
People are nicer there most of the time. They remember their manners. They try to help each other. They don’t mind screaming, tired kids–they empathize and offer assistance. There is a lot of good happening there everyday, let me tell you.
I have seen little miracles there every time I go.
Did you know that Disney’s college program has an honor code very similar to BYU’s? Did you know they strictly enforce it?
I don’t know. I have seen so much good there, so it definitely colors my viewpoint. A lot.
I think it could be possible that Disney was just trying to tell a good, clean, fun story and they were trying their best with the light and knowledge they have.
Is that shocking?
In the end, however, our culture just doesn’t understand that slits and highly charged sexy struts are not age appropriate for little children.
And, unfortunately, that message that it was not age appropriate is being lost in the furor of an imaginary gay agenda that really, for the life of me, I cannot find in the movie. Just because gay people like the movie and see their own struggles in it doesn’t mean it was made specifically for that audience. If KKK members thought it was about them, would we be looking for a white supremacist message in the movie? Probably not. I hope not.
Because of the Elsa strut scene, Disney’s Frozen is not really appropriate for a general audience, in my opinion.
But Frozen is a wonderful grown up fairy tale, one that made a great date night. One that made me laugh and cry and…I have to admit…sing.
As an update, I was writing this last night when a friend of mine gave me a heads up that the Lopez’ Oscar acceptance speech might prove that there really was a gay agenda. Here is what was flagged as possibly being an agenda by more than one person:
“Katie and Annie, this song is inspired by our love for you and the hope that you never let fear or shame keep you from celebrating the unique people that you are,” Anderson-Lopez said.
I just see that a mom wants her daughters to never be afraid or shamed to be unique.
Isn’t that the message we want our young women to have?
I think when some people read this, they assumed that Katie and Annie might be a lesbian couple instead of her daughters. At this point, if we are reading that much into this and automatically making those kinds of assumptions, we might be acting like a whole bunch of moral pygmies….just a thought.