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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Is Frozen a Feminist Triumph?

Frozen - Feminist Triumph? 

Watch the Honest Trailer...pretty funny! 

Even as a fan of Disney’s recent attempts to create more balanced, less-dependent female characters (Brave, Frozen, Maleficent), I had to laugh at the Frozen Honest Trailer's sarcastic voiceover: “Frozen is a clever twist on past Disney films that teaches girls everywhere that they don’t need a prince to rescue them…because all men are disgusting loners, greedy murderers, or lying manipulative power-hungry sociopaths. Happy now, Jezebel?”

I wouldn’t exactly call Kristoff disgusting, but that aside, I have to agree: I’m not sure I am comfortable calling Frozen a feminist triumph.

The point of feminist filmmaking is not to create one-dimensional, evil male characters responsible for humanity’s downfalls. Yes, men did that to women. Ahem…Eve. Cough...the Wicked Witch of the West. Cough...every female character Hemingway and Steinbeck ever created. 

The point of feminist literature is to try to avoid male-bashing (and woman-bashing, obvi). It’s to bring balance, but not to even the score. 

Can we also talk about Elsa’s sexy ice dress? Why must her awesome ice powers be equated with a slinky, sparkly pageant dress, a push-up bra, and seductive hip movements? And if her powers must be associated with her sexuality, then logically, shouldn’t her powers be babymaking powers? (Ok that goes a little too far…flower-making powers?) Why must her power be life-killing? Is that some kind of subliminal fear of pro-choice dominance?

Sorry. It's only a Disney movie, I know.

Let's get back to ice. I am an English teacher, so indulge me: ice is associated with stunted growth, death, repression of creativity. 

I would argue that the ice-powers Elsa receives as a budding young woman correlate to her sexuality, in the viewer's subconscious. This is why, when Elsa is around eleven, her powers suddenly become shameful and dangerous. That is why her parents "have a talk" with her about concealing the powers with ladylike gloves and the avoidance of humans.

The hands of the patriarchy, stifling Anna's creative power at puberty.

Elsa’s sexuality shows up in the form of ice-throwing and snowmaking rather than life-giving powers like say, tree-creation and climate change reversal why?

I think it is because Disney is still drawn - like a hyptnotized zombie-moth to a flame - to the subliminal degradation of female sexuality.

Through Elsa, Disney makes female sexuality this destructive (yet cool and dangerous) thing. Little girls watching it don't know this, but they do store it up there in their developing minds.

This is why I detest Disney.

"I get it now, male-dominated world. You don't like me to be sexual.
Time to destroy everyone with my repressed powers, then." 

That is how I read into it, anyhow. But I'm just a crazy woman.

Elsa grew to be ashamed and troubled by her sexual energy/ice-throwing abilities, and therefor she became miserable, isolated, and weak.

Her only choice was to “let it go” and stop “being the good girl she always had to be”…so she could do what every girl must do when she awakens sexually: Wear a revealing dress, isolate herself in an ice-castle of shame, shut the world out, and ignore men. Um...what???

I see this as problematic. If feminism is about putting female sexuality into a category, if it’s about saying “either you can be the cute funny loving girl” (Anna) or the “pageant ice-queen” (Elsa)…then don’t call me a feminist.

All of this aside, I loved the ending! Go sisterhood! That was a positive for me. 

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