The other day I was having lunch with a friend. She is a writer and a yoga instructor and basically a beautiful unicorn that radiates wisdom and kindness and patience.
Somehow “Frozen” came up during our conversation and I said I thought the movie was pretty cool because the love story was about sisters.
“Oh fuck that,” said the unicorn.
I burst out laughing at this, because I totally got it. I have issues with “Frozen,” too. But it’s complicated because in a way, “Frozen” has been really good to us.
For one, it convinced Jem to actually speak—something that Matt and I weren’t able to do. After months of trying to coax words out of him to replace the whining, he finally broke his silence by throwing an avocado across the room and croaking, “Let it go.” The words bumped along his unpracticed tongue like heavy furniture being pushed across a pile of dying cats. It wasn’t pretty, but it was a sentence.
Two, it helped me and Matt get stuff done. The boys would sit and watch, transfixed, as Elsa ran around haphazardly shooting frozen fractals out of her palms. This allowed us to run around haphazardly cutting their fingernails, getting dinner ready or shoving clean laundry into dressers.
Three, it is pretty entertaining. There are some really funny moments (OLAF!), the music is great and the animation is amazing.
But the minute we bought the movie, our fate was sealed like ships in the icy fjords of Arendell. Once introduced to “Frozen,” the boys were not going to “let it go.” They would run up to me with the remote, chanting the chorus over and over. When the movie was queued up and the first refrains filled the room they would applaud and grin at me as if to say, “Isn’t it all so wonderful?”
It is and it isn’t. For example, here are the lessons I don’t want my kids learning from “Frozen.”
1. It’s OK to kill your sibling via a third party.
It probably comes from locking herself in an icy chamber for her entire adolescence, but Elsa is kind of nuts. I get that she doesn’t want to be around her sister because she could hurt her, but if your sister’s safety is your first concern, then you probably shouldn’t create a giant snow monster to chase that same sister off a cliff. Or, freeze her heart and drive her out into a forest filled with hungry wolves. I don’t care how many times she nagged you to build a snowman. I don’t care that she ruined your coronation cake by throwing a bust into it. I don’t care that she got more songs and more suitors. No passive murder plots. Hug it out.
2. People who wear heels on ice are smart and sexy.
When I first saw the video to “Let It Go,” I thought this was a female empowerment story about a sassy single lady who says “eff you” to all the haters, decides to just “do her,” goes off the grid and builds her own ice palace on a mountain. To be honest, Elsa seemed like a bit of a badass. But then, towards the end of the song, she lets her hair down with a sexy body roll like a Lakers girl, whips up a wildly impractical ensemble of a ball gown and heels, then sashays onto her ice balcony like a Norwegian Jessica Rabbit. Why.
When I see that scene, all I can think about is the old lecher in the animation department at Disney who made it.
3. Women don’t need noses.
I will never understand why it is OK for the male romantic interest to have a big schnoz but the female lead has to have a tiny snub nose and eyes the size of the moon. Watching Kristoff kiss Anna is like watching Gerard Depardieu make out with a tarsier.
4. Clarification: Women need noses, but only for smelling chocolate.
When Frozen’s two heroines pause, inhale, exclaim “Chocolate!” in unison and melt into giggles, everything inside me cringes. Number one, that is a dumb stereotype because everyone likes chocolate. Number two, we all know those button noses can’t smell a damn thing.
Maybe it’s the party talking, or the chocolate fondue, but I’m starting to feel a little bit unhinged whenever “Frozen” is on. I’m at my 40th viewing and a lot of the charm has worn off, replaced with suspicion and paranoia. I have every facial expression mapped—not just on the main characters, but on the extras. I know every note of every song. I know all the Easter eggs and the conspiracies hidden in the story—because I LOOKED THEM UP ONLINE. And the only thought crystallizing like an icy blast is the thought that I’m losing my dang mind.
It’s my own fault. Now I know that Disney princesses are like vampires. If you let them into your house, they never leave—slowly sucking the life out of you with their moon eyes and their lilting music, until you give up, surrender your soul and sing along.
For the first time in forever, I finally understand.