Friday, August 15, 2014

Casual Observation: Girl Power Apparel?

from Tumblr
I realize that I am totally late to the party in terms of seeing Disney's "Frozen". I liked it. (Although I actually preferred the song "Would You Like to Build a Snowman?" to "Let It Go", so please don't beat me with a stick.)

I did raise an eyebrow though when Queen Elsa finally embraced her magical snowy powers and became "empowered" (a concept I find debatable as she becomes empowered in order to run away and become a hermit in the mountains, which to me is totally the opposite of being empowered.) She also ditched her warm clothes and became all sexy. Like "slit up the clingy dress, kitten heels, and wiggling like Marilyn Monroe" sexy. Actually, I may have raised both eyebrows.

Was there a problem with the cold weather gear? Can you not be empowered in a cardigan? (I am frequently empowered in a cardigan, Disney.)

When I started looking for images to illustrate this blog post, I found out that I was not the only person who was talking about this very subject on the internet (not a shocker, as I acknowledged, seriously late to the party on this film.) I totally understand and support Elsa's ditching of the gloves; they were symbols of her repression and denial of her magical talent. But the rest? I suppose that since she can control ice and snow, the implication is that she doesn't get cold, but the radical change of "costume" for this character was a deliberate choice on the behalf of the film's directors. And I was disappointed. Because, like it or not, Elsa is also one of the film's antagonists. So we are back to the trope of the sexy bad girl. (Jessica Rabbit said it best: "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way.")

Princess Anna
Meanwhile, Princess Anna, clearly the protagonist/hero of the story, has a costume which is extremely modest (granted, that's because she is cold, but still...)- the opposite of her sister. But wait! She is empowered to try to save the day in boots, a cape, and tights!  Maybe she's a superhero? Do we have some unintentional genre mixing here?
< /sarcasm> (BTW, I am also frequently empowered in tights, Disney.)

(Sorry, I just need to say this: kitten heels, on ICE!?! Clearly, the animators all live in California and have not been to northern climes in February. And slipped and fallen on their butts. Which HURTS!)

Did I like this film? Yes. Did I love it? No. (It was no Little Mermaid or Aladdin.) But I know lots of people who did love it and whose kids loved it. And if the friends complaining on Facebook about the long wait times to meet Elsa & Anna at the Disney parks are any indication, LOTS of kids love Elsa & Anna. Which is great. I grew up on a steady diet of Disney films, and imagination is an awesome thing that should be encouraged.

It's a film; I get it. You certainly aren't going to make everyone happy every time. Just for a film that has all this buzz about the power of sisterhood and not having a (male) hero save the day, I still think that Disney has a way to go. Some people will agree; some people won't. And that's okay; you don't have to agree with me. The important part is thinking about it and making a decision for yourself.

Disney and princesses, man, it is SUCH a double edged sword for them. Guess I am glad that growing up my three favorite Disney women were a magical English nanny, a Cocker Spaniel pup, and an evil fairy with horns growing out of her head.

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