Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Frozen's Flawed Females

Gosh, getting back into a rhythm is harder than I thought. Like the alliterated title for this post? You wouldn't believe how long it took me to come up with it. (Sigh) It's been a long day.

Anyway, this post is kind of a response-but-not-really to an article I read regarding the Disney movie Frozen. You know, this one:

With all the snow and stuff and the song that everyone keeps making covers of. I guess the world can't really let it go. Yes, I do think I'm clever. If I didn't I wouldn't have a blog.

The article I read was titled "The Problem With Fake Feminism (Or Why Frozen Left Me Cold)" by Dani Coleman. I didn't agree with everything she said, though I thought the logic was good and the tone wasn't abrasive, as an article on this topic could have been. May also be my personal feeling, here; she certainly didn't sound detached and objective, but I liked how many examples she used. It was thought out.

But I did agree that Frozen wasn't that feminist a movie, for the reasons Coleman listed. But I didn't care. In fact, what I liked most about the film was that Elsa and Anna aren't examples of feminism. I was excited they were majorly flawed.

I've been thinking about strong female characters a lot (and getting annoyed; stay tuned for another post on why this is) and I was glad that the case can be made that Frozen doesn't have any. Now, I call myself a feminist because I believe men and women deserve equal rights, but I don't go to a movie and look for the feminist messages. Or the Marxist. Or any political message at all. That's fine for other people, especially those who study such things for their life's work. My life's work is writing good, solid stories, so that's what I want. Granted, Frozen's story was not the strongest; the ending was a bit abrupt for me. I thought Wreck-It Ralph and Tangled had more solid plot lines.

But I liked the characters, and I liked their flaws. I like characters who have problems that dig them into holes that hurt, and they have to climb out somehow. In Frozen, Anna's impulsiveness, while not a strong trait, hurts her. It's not an outside force; it's her own dang fault. She hastily gets engaged to a man she just met, she runs off into the snowstorm in the middle of the night, she trusts her sister with dangerous consequences. And Anna suffers the consequences of her foolishness. She lives happily ever after, but there is a cost for her actions. Elsa is the same way, running from her power and living in fear, and accidentally unleashing a storm on her kingdom. Elsa's irresponsible and fearful actions cause her to harm her sister, and she does pay for that.

All the while I'm cheering Disney on. Yes, the characters are doing reactive, stupid things, but they're acting. And they're paying for their mistakes. I liked that. A lot. It's realistic; you do something foolish, you are going to face the consequences. I think Disney could have done it better, yes. I think the plot could have been smoother and this idea of choices and consequences could have been stronger. But I'm glad that Disney has characters who aren't always strong and who do foolish, impulsive things. I'm glad that the consequences come and the characters pay for what they do and yet survive them. Not all stories have to be about strong heroes. Some stories need to be told about the people who begin weak and foolish and learn their lessons, becoming stronger in the end. It makes me wonder what a Frozen 2 would be like, and then I shudder because I wouldn't advocate a sequel unless it's done well.

Also, Frozen  was fun. The animation, the music...spectacular. I'd see the Broadway show.

1 comment:

  1. Yay! You're back to blogging! I actually read that article a couple days ago and wanted to talk to you about it...but the blog post solves everything. Thanks for pointing out the positive.