A couple weeks ago, I found myself in a little living room on a bone-chillingly cold Wisconsin winter day with a bunch of my friends, watching Disney’s latest animated film, Frozen. Yeah, picture it. A room full of yuppie quarter-century-old women, a majority of whom had agreed this would be a fun thing to do in their free time.
I started off as the stick in the mud. There’s nothing I hate more about myself than the fact that I lost all of my original teeth in the 1990s, meaning that most Disney movies evoke good feelings in me in spite of my feminist self, explicit misogyny & all.
When this song came on, I wanted to kill myself & I started bitching out loud to my friends. “Really? Princesses are still singing about this shit in 2014?” But by the end of the movie, though, I wasn’t that pissed. Here’s why:
1. My friend Marie set out a really great array of cheese for me to put into my face while I watched it. This comforted me in some of my hardest moments as a viewer.
2. Princess Anna, despite her Disney princess typicality (impossibly wasp-waisted, wide-eyed, eurocentric appearance) was adventurous, witty, determined & even clumsy. A nicely developed character of a woman after my own heart.
3. Prince Hans, with whom Princess Anna immediately falls in love, turns out to be a huge douche kabob. Lesson for the little girls? Finding a prince doesn’t solve all of your problems. In fact, sometimes it can actually create more for your sorry ass.
4. The central conflict of the film is the troubled relationship between Princess Anna & her big sister, Queen Elsa. While Disney couldn’t resist throwing in a good ol’ heteronormative love triangle, I do applaud them for focusing the story on a positive relationship between two females unclouded by sexist, overdone tropes like competition & jealousy for once.
5. The act of true love required to unfreeze Princess Anna’s frozen heart at the end of the movie is one of sisterly devotion in a twist that overly excited my bell hooks-lovin’ self. When a nonconsensual smooch from Kristoff planted on Princess Anna’s frozen lips could have easily & predictably done the trick, this sweet surprise left me feeling hopeful for little girls everywhere.
Of course, Disney still has a way to go before it can be called anything remotely close to feminist. But in the interest of full disclosure, I’ll admit that I’m not that mad about potentially taking the little girls I occasionally babysit to the sing-a-long version soon.