*or at all, since I wasn’t really into them as a child.
Because they sort-of contain all this really huge stuff, but it isn’t focused on. Like, when I watched Tangled, I had to leave the room briefly to be upset because Mother Gothel is so perfectly awfully manipulative, and Rapunzel’s reactions are so accurate. But the things that stand out to me as “Wow, ouch, this is exactly what all these survivors of abusive relationships described”– like the part when Rapunzel first leaves the tower, and there’s a montage of her alternating between “This is the best thing ever! I’m free!” and “I’m a horrible person I should go back right away!”– they’re not really highlighted that way by the movie, as far as I can tell. I think that part is played as comedy?
And with Frozen, there should be huge life-changing Issues flying around but they’re all dealt with in one song, basically. I have a lot of feelings about Frozen, too, but the problem is they aren’t actually there in the movie. There’s a basis for them, but you have to ask yourself “how must it feel to be in that position?” “what must she be thinking right now?” etc. They’re not actually expressed in the movie. So it’s weird.
I’m going to try to explain some of my thoughts about Frozen anyway.
It’s like what I told Sparkly about Jennifer Lawrence and body image. 99.9% of women, even the ones who are very conventionally attractive, still need support in not hating their bodies. That message is for everyone. But people who are further from the beauty standard of the culture around them, or have “flaws” that are more popular to hate on, need it a lot more. The fact that Jennifer Lawrence talks about not dieting as a good thing is really good. But if we act like “don’t worry about it, you’re not actually fat” is the entirety of the message, that’s treating people who are actually fat pretty shittily.
Likewise. Everybody loves “Let it Go”. Pretty much everybody needs that message. But some people need it a lot more than others, and for some people, going against what they’re supposed to be is a lot more fraught.
Imagine if instead of creating a beautiful delicate ice castle and a beautiful sparkly dress… or maybe instead, imagine Elsa did create those same things, but the people who came searching for her thought they were totally ugly and disgusting. “How could anyone glorify scary dangerous ice that way?” could be their viewpoint, maybe. Or just that it’s useless– “What’s the point? Who can live in a castle made of ice? Why would anyone need to create ice when we can get what we need from up in the mountains?” (Elsa can live happily in a castle made of ice. And she knows ice can be beautiful, not mundane at best and dangerous at worst. But imagine they refused to see it that way.) Imagine if she wasn’t different and dangerously powerful, but ugly and worthless and also dangerous.
Imagine if “she never meant to hurt anyone, and she’ll never hurt anyone again” wasn’t enough to make people accept her. Imagine if she was still shut up alone for having such a nasty and useless power and insisting it was a valuable part of her.