An open letter to a Well-Behaved Woman: What “Frozen” is really teaching your kids
My kids finally talked me into seeing “Frozen” (it’s school vacation week here, and we’re catching up on a lot of things that we haven’t found time for in the last few months). I had read your post about the homosexual agenda you saw so clearly in the movie, and I have to say that I looked and looked for that agenda. And I just couldn’t find it.
Maybe it’s because I haven’t seen the movie three times. I admit that I’ve only seen it once.
But I was really looking for it, because I happen to think that two people who are in love and who want to share a life together should have the opportunity to get married. And if Disney were espousing that message in a hit children’s movie, I wanted to celebrate it.
High hopes dashed, though. Disney isn’t about to make a movie that normalizes homosexuality. Sure, they placed a homosexual couple with kids in “Frozen,” but in typical Disney fashion the gay guy acts as both comic relief and as an obstacle to another character’s success. The studio has gotten some criticism for this in the past, but, you know, old habits die hard.
So, no. Based on my (admittedly decades-old) experience with literary criticism (I wrote a long paper once on common themes in T. S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land” and Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49, so I think that at some point I had a reasonably good handle on decadent symbolism in literature), there’s just not a credible shred of gays-should-get-married rhetoric in the movie. Which is too bad.
But don’t despair! I found something else in the movie that totally goes against the conservative Mormon agenda you support. In fact, I’m wondering how you missed it. Ready?
Right? There is a huge immodesty-friendly, anti-body-shame, pro-female-sexuality message in “Frozen,” and I’m still waiting for you to post about it.
In fact, I’ll even help you out with some quotes from that epic fail of a talk that Elder Tad Callister gave at BYU-Idaho that was reprinted in the March Ensign.
Now, keep in mind, I’m a Mormon woman who saw the film with her children, two of whom are girls, so maybe I read some things into “Frozen” that weren’t intended by the studio. In fact, I’d be the first to agree that “what we find in this film is . . . largely a reflection of us,” as Sara Katherine Staheli Hanks so eloquently pointed out over at fMh. So maybe it’s just me.
Here’s the rundown: Elsa has this amazing power that she’s born with, just like all of us have an amazing power. Right? Can you guess what it is?
It’s sex! And sex, as powers go, is so cool that even Elder Callister finds it “almost unbelievable to think that God has given to His children the power that is most prized and sacred to Him—the power to create life.”
Bear with me here.
Before Elsa is old enough to be accountable, she plays with this power (which is totally what some of the Sunbeams do when they’re up in front of the congregation singing) and knows it’s something special and magical.
But when she accidentally hurts her sister and her parents find out about it, they get super strict with her. They tell her not to use her power at all and no way should she ever let anyone else know about it. No, she has to hide her power and be a “good girl.” Not only that, but she’s also taught to cover up her body and not to feel anything that might awaken her power. She sings, “Conceal / don’t feel / don’t let them see.”
Suddenly, though, her parents are gone, and she comes of age, and she’s going to be the queen. I won’t embarrass you with all the wedding overtones and sexual imagery that happen in this act, because there’s (cough) a lot (cough). But suffice it to say that from the call, “Open up the gates!” to Elsa having to hold a ball and scepter in her naked hands in front of everyone (which, as a good girl, she does as quickly as possible before putting on her gloves again), there’s plenty.
Remember, her parents haven’t told her anything about her power, and she has no idea how to use it responsibly. So instead of easing gracefully into being the queen–or, say, an adult–she goes completely out of control. And then after she’s labeled a monster and shunned by the community, she does the only thing she can think of. She runs away.
Here’s where the movie’s bad message starts. Because of course this would never happen to a good LDS girl who’d been taught to cover her body and not tempt young men with her awesome power! If she made a mistake with it, no way would anybody say she was evil and refuse to have anything to do with her. Disney lies.
The song “Let It Go” is about Elsa finally letting go of the shame and fear she’s been made to feel about her special power. Now, there’s a lot in this scene. She learns to use her power constructively, by herself (shocker!), and I know there’s a lot you could say about her sparkly, off-the-shoulder gown–she looks like a complete vamp at the end of her transformation! And that’s the movie’s sick and twisted point: she feels better about herself when she isn’t ashamed.
Which goes against everything that Elder Callister has wisely said, especially, “Women particularly can dress modestly and in the process contribute to their own self respect and to the moral purity of men.”
See, the lesson I found in “Frozen” is a celebration of female sexuality, and a clear warning that when young girls are taught to ignore those feelings and cover up their bodies in case they might hurt someone else, bad things happen.
And I’m waiting for your post that exposes this incorrect principle. You can even quote Elder Callister saying, “In the end, most women get the type of man they dress for.” Because he’s right. At the end of the movie Elsa doesn’t even get a man! She fails at the one thing good Mormon girls are supposed to do: get married. Even worse, she’s a career girl with the job of running a small country. (And she learns that love casts out fear, which might be in a book of scripture somewhere, but it’s probably best not to mention that part.)
Got it? Good. Next time we’ll put together a post about how the parents’ failure to teach Anna about love, sex, total strangers, and basic economic principles is such a good thing.