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Frozen ≠ Mulan
As I sit here on Independence Day, friendless and without a good enough Internet connection to watch Netflix, I can't help but think about how I didn't like Frozen. I think this movie is really overrated, and not even half as good as its predecessor Tangled. And even more than that, it's hailed as being a feminist movie. And yes, you are about to read a grown man's ramblings about a Disney movie. Be preparrrrrrrred! (Get it?)
Now, out of the numerous things that I could write about, such as the inevitable decay of America's democratic system, or the shameful and persistent dumbing down of our culture through our entertainment system, or how 40 million or so people around the world are still enslaved, or about the Bilderberg Group, or about the Duke University adult actress Belle Knox, even I am left scratching my noggin about how important it is for ME to express my opinions on a Disney movie. Although, a recent conversation with a friend, in which she lauded the feminist intentions behind Frozen, has proven to be more than enough motivation for me to make my case.
Frozen may be a lot of things. It could be the "best Disney movie since the Lion King." I'll leave that to personal opinion. It could be a deconstruction of the Disney model, even though I would beg to differ. But one thing I shall never concede to is that Frozen is a feminist movie. I take this stance because with full heart I wish to believe that if I have a daughter one day, I will not let her see this movie.
First, let's examine the primary motivations for the two central female protagonists, Elsa and Anna. In Screenwriting 101, you learn that it is important to establish good motivations for your main character(s). Although, what is more important is the character's actions, as these are the circumstances that determine the journey they will take, the plot of the story, and the overall reason any bozo will go see your movie. This is like how the real world works, as actions speak louder than…I forget how the rest of that goes.
So what does Elsa want? To be understood. To be with her sister. Cool. (See what I did there?) How does Elsa enact the plot? Has a panic attack and isolates herself from the rest of the world so that she can't use her…ice powers. Her famous catchy song, "Let It Go"? In the context of the movie, at the exact moment she sings it, she is singing about giving up her responsibilities not just to her sister and her kingdom, but to herself. Things in her life have become too overwhelming, and she has chosen to let it go and ignore it. It is not a song about self-empowerment. It's a song about being selfish. She proceeds to keep the entire kingdom frozen, which has presumably killed all of the cute furry animals that are not elk. And Elsa doesn't change her mind about it until she almost kills her sister, at the very end of the movie, and the kingdom cheers her about it because she decided not to leave them in a perpetual winter…for once. Simba also escaped his kingly duties…when he was a kid…and his father just died before his eyes…and lions don't have governments or taxation departments to run.
So is this necessarily non-feminist? No. It's just bad moral values. Elsa doesn't demonstrate that she has any moral fiber to stand up for herself and be who she wants to be. She just kind of decides to slowly kill everyone in the kingdom instead. Elsa never outwardly admits that what she did was wrong, nor does she change her mind because of it. So whatever, I guess freezing entire kingdoms isn't an ethical issue.
And what about Anna? She's even worse. Everyone knows that she stupidly agrees to marry the secretly-nefarious Hans, a seemingly nice, good-looking man with a sense of humor, after knowing him for less than a day. That's just plain stupid. That's an easy stupidity. Then she proceeds on her journey to bring back her sister, making the stupid decision to leave Hans in charge of the kingdom. On her journey she meets Kristoff, who is yet another nice, good-looking man with a sense of humor. Without Kristoff, Anna proves to be quite helpless. The one moment she has to prove her worth as a main character, where she can convince her sister to undo her freezing powers as only she can do, she done fucks that up. And she quits. That's ALL she needs to do to save the day, and she quits. So Kristoff takes her back, rolling his eyes at how inept she is, and she asks him to leave so she can be with her fiancé. Blah blah blah, spoilers happen. Kristoff comes back when he realizes something fishy is up, and together he and the snowman save the day. Well, actually it was just the snowman. Kristoff doesn't help at all in the end actually. All Anna does is turn into a freezy-pop shield. There's a happy ending, or what we're supposed to believe is one. Anna kisses Kristoff, her new man, and they presumably spend the rest of their days tanning on a beach.
So what does Anna accomplish throughout this entire movie? The entire plot of Frozen takes place in like less than a week. It has to, or else there would be WAY more bad things going down in that kingdom than what actually happened during Elsa's Day Off. In less than a week, Anna switches between two men after first meeting them. So what is Anna's train of thought when she falls in love with Kristoff at the end? It had to be something along the lines of "He's a nice, good-looking man with a sense of humor; he let me ride on his elk while helping me save HIS and MY kingdom from a frozenpop-ocalypse, and a talking snowman told me that I should melt for him." So, just like that, Anna rewards Kristoff with a kiss just for being a decent human being. And of course Kristoff is cool with it, because the only love he has ever experienced at this point is the love for an elk, and that ain't healthy love.
By contrast, let's examine another Disney Princess: Mulan. What are her basic motivations throughout her movie? She joins the Chinese army in order to keep her aging father from going to war. Admirable. Her life is in constant danger due to historical patriarchal laws, yet she still exhibits strength, cunning, and bravery in the efforts to protect her country and men who would rather see her in a kitchen. Awesome. She saves China in the end from a threat that she wasn't at all the cause of, and she spends months getting to know the guy she falls in love with. More power to her. And what are Shang's traits? Well, he is nice, good-looking, and just so happens to disagree with the ridiculous sexist laws that infringe upon Mulan's rights as a human being and works alongside her to save their country. Sheit, Shang and Mulan don't even kiss at the end. They takin' it WAY slow.
So, alas, in terms of strong female protagonists, Frozen is embarrassingly abysmal, especially when you compare it to Disney's Mulan. Frozen contradicts its own moral of "You can't fall in love with someone you just met" with Anna doing just that at the end. Does Elsa take responsibility for her actions? Nope. Does she stand up for herself in the movie? Well, she does a good enough job of not being killed by Hans, so I guess that counts. Does Anna learn that true love is something you work at and earn over time? No, I guess not. But, whatever, we got our fucking talking snowman singing about how he loves summer, so I should just fold my arms and drink my Diet Coke. Disney is still perpetuating outdated ideas of what "strong" female characters are, and Frozen is no exception.
#Real #DisneyMovies #Frozen #Feminism #FeminismInDisneyMovies #DisneyCharacters #FemaleCharacters
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7/5/2014 05:44:29 am
As a woman, and definitely not a man, I think this boy makes a good point. He is really smart and good looking.
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