A Few Things I Would Like My Girls to Learn from “Frozen”
What I’d Like Our Girls to Learn from “Frozen”
I love the romance found in Disney movies such as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Tangled. I love the determination of young women to do what they can in difficult situations. I love the determination of young men to save the woman they love from horrible circumstances. I love the music! In fact, the music is probably what keeps these movies close to my heart.
I was thinking about “Frozen” today – hard not to with our girls listening to the soundtrack and belting “Let it Go” and “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” at the top of their lungs – and considering the different aspects of the story. I got so excited about it, I thought I should write it down, and then thought to put it on the blog. Share your comments to let me know what you think!
- In the beginning, Elsa is afraid of her powers. After she hurts her sister, Anna, her parents shut Elsa away from the world. They attempt to teach her to stop the powers so others will not be afraid of her. I do understand the context of the time they live in, so that would move them to keep others from being afraid BUT I took away from all this, because of the results these actions brought about, that to stifle what comes naturally to my daughters is to force them to live a lie. I think of feminism that tries to demean the natural WOMANLY instinct to nurture children and to be married. I think of stereotypes of what is feminine versus what is not. I REMEMBER the struggle of being a tomboy and always trying to act “like a lady”. Having daughters, I totally understand what my mother was teaching me – girls need to act like GIRLS, NOT LIKE BOYS – but it often felt like the parts that made me a tomboy: the desire to climb trees, throw the football, the lack of interest in knowing how to cook or clean, etc. – must mean that something was wrong with me. I understand better now, that those activities can be done rightly, as a girl. So long as I know I’m not trying to BE a boy, or trying to BEST the boys, then those things have their place. The desire to cook and clean came later. A girl who loves to laugh, play practical jokes, sing loudly, and is comfortable in her skin enough to hang out with the boys and the girls – she is feminine, in her way, just as the girl who loves to wear frills, put bows in her hair, and paint on china. Jo from “Little Women” comes to mind. She wasn’t less because she wasn’t as “feminine” as her sisters. She was just different. Mrs. March knew how to encourage her and how to direct her interests that were appropriate. We should do the same. When we get to the time when Elsa is to be crowned Queen – the castle is to be opened and the people are going to get to come in. Elsa can’t be hidden anymore; she must be a part of things. Due to the way her parents’ trained her, Elsa is totally focused on her fear of betraying her power and bringing fear, and therefore rejection, from her people. Her emotions get the better of her when Anna pushes too hard, and Elsa’s power is revealed to all. She sees the only option as being to run away and stay alone. The powerful song, “Let it Go” talks about her finding her freedom, but she finds it isolation. She’s finally herself, but she can’t share it with anyone. This goes back to the original point of her parents’ trying to hide her gifts, but it also goes to Anna not being allowed to share the loving spirit she had with her sister. This very thing frees Elsa in the end – and it would have done so earlier on. Elsa needed to learn that LOVE could make use of her powers in a way that would not hurt others. She makes beautiful things. She’s a beautiful thing herself. People need people, as Barbra sings, and so does Elsa. Isolation is not the answer. It is inherently selfish, because you are not allowing others to act towards you as they should, and you are keeping yourself from behaving towards them the way you should. Harness those skills, think of the needs of others, and find a way to marry both ideas.
- The flip side of that same situation is with Anna on the day opening the gates. She is so eager to please others and to live life. She wants to find romance, and her eagerness is obvious. The movie handles this in a most chaste fashion, BUT her eagerness still leaves her open to a man who only wants to use her. We find at the end that Prince Hans chose her to pursue over Elsa because of Anna’s eagerness. He knew she would be easy to manipulate. Anna doesn’t set out to “seduce”, but her song “For the First Time in Forever” has this line,
“Tonight imagine me gowned and all fetchingly draped against the wall
The picture of sophisticated grace.
Ooh! I suddenly see him standing there
A beautiful stranger, tall and fair
I wanna stuff some chocolate in my face”
And the scene has her wrapped in the curtains, suggestively posed, and wiggling her bare shoulder at the imagined young man. Again, I’m not saying it is sexually inappropriate, but what the younger people watching the movie may not get right away but the older people immediately understand is that Anna wants to be noticed, wants to be found attractive, so she can find someone to love her. All of this “romance” works together, in her mind, to bring her to a happy marriage. Fast forward to her relationship with Kristoff, and we see that what truly brings her to a happy relationship, is being herself, getting to know someone well, and without all of that focus on “romance”. Kristoff PROVED he had her best interests at heart, where Hans never tried. Hans only tried to look as though he cared because it brought about something for him. He didn’t care about Anna at all. The story shows that solid caring for others trumps “romance” any day of the week! (Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for romance in one’s life; but romance needs to be defined by completely beneficial behaviors as opposed to shallow, caught up in the moment, fleeting actions and emotions. I’m talking about the concept that romance is gone when dinners no longer have candlelight, flowers aren’t delivered for every little occasion; and the one you love fails to notice the slightest change in your hair or wardrobe – but I will leave that discussion for another blog post.)
- I love the part where Anna and Kristoff go to see his “family” of Trolls. The song “Fixer Upper” is something we all need to realize. Every one of us is a “fixer upper”. Going into marriage realizing that both parties are human, they are going to make mistakes, but that we love each other and stick with each other anyway is a strong place to begin. We don’t need to “fix” the other one, to be as good as we are (like we sometimes like to think). Men don’t need a “good woman” to fix him after marriage. Women don’t need a man to “fix” things because she is incapable. Plain and simple, choose a good spouse, who looks out for you and the interests of your new family, and never forget that they have to live with YOU as much as you have to live HIM. 🙂
- The last thing I want to mention, is that this movie shows that both girls had powerful gifts. They weren’t the same. They didn’t look the same. They didn’t approach life in the same way. But each girl brought something to their relationship that the other could learn from. They needed each other. When they learned it was ok to be themselves, they were free to let others into their lives. Be yourself, share your gifts!
We teach these things to our girls every day, the movie was just a way to focus some emphasis on it. No one needs “Frozen” to teach life lessons to their children. Each person is equipped to do that already. It is fun to have such a movie to aid in the effort though.
We always sat with our children to do the same thing I have done for my Bible class children when I was forced to use a picture that was not entirely scriptural. I began by asking them to identify things about the picture (or movie) that was outright wrong or that God has not taught. The smaller the child, the easier that was because little kids like finding big people mistakes. The older the child the harder that was because their emotions were stirred and they identified with the hero/heroine. Even if they understood that the film was fiction (Rev.… Read more »