Culture

Frozen- almost there, but not quite

It is very surprising to me that I am writing a post on a Disney animation, considering that you already know my opinion on fairy tales from my previous post entitled « Fairy tales are dead ». The last animation film that I saw was Shrek and Despicable me, but these are not Disney productions. So, I think I haven’t seen a Disney animation film in a very long time. However, after coming from the holidays, a dear friend of mine recommended me to see Frozen and since I trust her judgment, I couldn’t resist and I watched the movie last week.

My reaction in regards to the movie is quite divided… Overall, I liked it. It was a feel good animation with impressive visual effects. It inspires a lot of creativity, it gives you energy and it gets your mind off the daily routine. There were many moments when I said out loud “WOOOW”, especially when I saw the ice castle that Elsa created.

There were also many moments that surprised me in regards to the plot. A lot of the classic fairy tale traditions are avoided in this animation and a twist is given to every outcome that we expect to see in such movies. I personally was surprised when Anna goes by herself to look for her sister. I was excited that Anna was such an energetic, adventurous and self-dependent character who didn’t relying too much on the help of male characters. I was pleased to see that true love referred to something completely different than we are used to seeing in such Disney fairy tales, and I was shocked that Hans was not the right prince for Anna and that the movie didn’t end with the classic wedding. These were all good changes in your typical fairy tale story.

I fear you can already sense a “but” coming after all I said so far. And you are right! The animation tried really hard to give a different role to princesses other than looking for their prince charming, but I am afraid that there is still a long way to go until we will have a good balanced animation that will teach children about gender equality and the importance of a beautiful soul, as opposed to a beautiful exterior.

The thing that annoys me most about fairy tales is the necessity of having only beautiful characters playing in the main roles. I don’t understand why the princess has to have “perfect” proportions (whatever perfect means in this world), long hair, tons of make-up and why the prince is always tall and fit. Until I see a princess which is not your typical beauty, with short hair, dressed in normal clothes, I will not be satisfied with these animations. Why can’t the prince be shorter than the princess, why can’t he look like the average looking person that doesn’t have a perfectly fit body? I want to see physical imperfections, I want to see normality, I want to see reality. Why do little girls always have to look up at a princess who is always stunningly beautiful? Why can’t they admire a normal looking girl, doing adventurous things that entice imagination and creativity?

There was also another thing that struck my attention during the movie. During the blistering cold, why does Kristoff get to be appropriately dressed for the weather conditions, while Anna is still in her pretty, thin dress? Why does Elsa have to be dressed in the most amazing dress ever with high heels, when she’s all alone in an ice castle? Why wouldn’t she wear some normal, warm, house clothes? Why do women have to look pretty at all times, even when dresses and heals are completely inappropriate? And then, we wonder why little girls like to put on heels and fancy little dresses inside the house and later become obsessed with clothes and fashion. Girls are not born with these passions. They learn them from little details like this that they pick up from innocent Disney animations.

You might think that I am dissecting everything too much, but it’s little details like this, that a child’s innocent mind absorbs so well, without any filter and then generalizes it. Besides this, don’t forget that these animations are the biggest marketing trap for children. After the movie, comes the desire to have the same dress, the same doll, the same weapon, the same costume, etc.

Therefore, until I see a fairy tale Disney animation where you find different body types (in Shrek, even though the princess is different from anything we are used to seeing, she is being referred to as an “unattractive” princess), I would not encourage children to watch these animations. They instill perfection in the children’s minds and perfection is something that I don’t wish my child to aspire to. Therefore, if you decide that your child can look at such animations, please make sure you are right beside him or her, explaining details that might be misinterpreted by a young mind.

What did you think of the animation?

Photo credits: Walt Disney Animation Studios 

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