Just about every conversation I have had with a friend or acquaintance since returning to college involves some frantic interrogation regarding the viewing of the new Disney movie Frozen. This usually happens at about a mid-shout volume, followed by either paroxysms of anguish and despair or joy and excitement. It is sufficient to say that I am a fan of the movie, and like an evangelical minister, I feel compelled to spread the good news to every person I meet.
Initially, watching Frozen felt slightly uncomfortable. It’s most likely because I’m a pseudo-adult, and the plot line was in some places predictable. (I also blame my stay at home, having watched far too many episodes of 24 and squelching any feelings of surprise when, say, something explodes or the president is targeted). There were a lot of things that I thoroughly enjoyed in the movie (SVEN), and a few things that I most definitely did not see coming. Like many people, however, it was hard to put into words the many positive things that this movie did for women and certain unacknowledged social issues. Lucky for me, Gina Luttrell wrote an article that did the trick! “7 Moments That Made ‘Frozen’ the Most Progressive Disney Movie Ever” is a quick read that outlines many issues that Disney acknowledges in their latest animated movie.
Ms. Luttrell acknowledges many new steps taken forward — Elsa’s independence and self-empowerment, Anna’s proclivity for awkward situations and a flair for wreckless abandon, and (my favorite) calling out the classic Disney instant love/marriage, as well as much more. A decidedly feel-good movie, I commend the writers at Disney for taking liberties where they thought appropriate and creating a story that departs from many of the movies in the past.
A quick disclaimer: Frozen is by no means a perfect film. From the perspective of someone who began this project with a focus on body image, it is disheartening to see that the sisters are given unrealistic proportions and eyes the size of a small country. However, I find that these concerns were overshadowed, at least for the moment, by all of the positive messages that have been incorporated into the subtext of the movie. Changing social perceptions of women, whether as strong protagonists or bearing realistic bodies, is not an overnight process. If this is the first step that Disney is taking, I’m more than willing to accept it with the expectation that they will exceed their past improvements.