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Frozen

“Letting Go” of Traditional Gender Roles


Animated Movies are incredibly popular, because they are not only enjoyed by children but teenagers and adults also. Parents can spend quality time with their children and be reminded of their own carefree childhoods. Their simple but cute plots and whimsical characters have been entertaining viewers for decades.

Disney Princesses have been on the big screen since 1937 when the first Disney Princess Snow White made her debut. With every new princess, a cultural icon is born. From Cinderella in 1950 to the more recently Merida (Brave) in 2012, this genre has long been an important facet of our culture.

One very recent animated film, Frozen, has become popular. Audiences both young and old can relate to the feelings of isolation and the pressure to fit in that the two protagonists face. One character, Ana, feels alone after her parents’ death and her sister’s apparent apathy. The other main protagonist, Elsa, feels rejected from society because she thinks no one will accept her if she is herself. Because of this we sympathize with them and feel more connected to what’s occurring on screen.

Another cause of this films popularity is because of the positive message that it, unlike most other Disney princess movies, sends. It also mocks the impracticality and recklessness of the other movies. Ana, for example, gets engaged to a prince she just met. Elsa forbids the marriage saying “you can’t marry someone you just met.” By the end of the film, she realizes how foolish it was, and shows that there are more important things for a woman to have than a boyfriend. Instead of the emphasis being on a woman finding a husband, it is placed on family and friendships.

There are also many ways this film is developing the genre. In previous films, from Ariel in The Little Mermaid (1989) to Rapunzel in Tangled (2010), never has a princess ruled her kingdom solely. Previously, she has always wed the prince and he assumes most power. Frozen, however, strays from this plot. At the end of this film Elsa is crowned queen and retains all power for herself. This seemingly small but significant change mirrors current social trends and provides a positive image for young girls.



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