I’m not a fanatic, but I’ve not yet reached a mental age (if there is one) where I don’t still enjoy the occasional Disney film. But despite enjoying them on a surface level, as a little girl with male siblings, I struggled to stomach some Disney films and the wretched way in which they portrayed their female characters.
This is a blog-tired subject by now but Disney and Feminism are usually mutually exclusive concepts. At least they are in Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty etc…
Why do the Princes always save the Princesses? Where are all the book-learnin’ damsels?
And don’t get me started on why they’re always pining for a man, because teaching little girls to need a partner to define themselves (male or female) is why so many of us twenty-somethings are subjecting ourselves to the trials of Tinder right now…
So when Disney released Frozen (2013) I was surprised and elated.
As well as upping their game in the comedy stakes, (as Olaf the snowman’s comic asides make the film almost palatable for tired parents subjected to ‘Let it Go’ on repeat), Frozen is the first Disney movie where *SPOILER ALERT* the guy doesn’t come to the rescue. In fact, Prince Hans is a totally abhorrent character even in his sickly-sweet nice guy persona which precedes a shocking double-crossing at the close of the story.
The two sisters, Elsa and Anna, save each other in a life-affirming, second-wave feminist, ‘girl power’ moment which is heart-warming and totally kick-ass if, like me, you’ve been waiting for the day that the sisters started doing it for themselves. Not only this but Frozen’s climactic ballad ‘Let it Go’s pro-homosexual subtext catapults the film into new realms of social progression and equality.
Elsa and Anna reject the quest for marriage, babies and the shackled-ever-after ending, and in doing so, show impressionable young children that it’s okay to be yourself, by yourself.
The film gets a bra-burning 5 stars from me in terms of sending out the right message to kids.
And if you thought Frozen might be a one-off nod to gender equality to temporarily satiate a feminist audience then read on. Disney animators are in production of a hardcore hand-drawn feminist-friendly short called Hullabaloo where the female protagonists are brilliant engineers.
According to the Independent online, Hullabaloo, “delves into oft-overlooked science fiction sub-genre steampunk and paints women as anything but damsels in distress.” A Disney movie where the female characters are scientists?! I can’t wait.
But although Disney have come a long way from the faint-hearted fair maidens of fairytales past, by the looks of these initial illustrations:
we’ve still got to wait for the Disney flick where the female characters waists aren’t narrower than their heads…
Here’s the Hullabaloo creators’ steampunk campaign video for a sneak peek at what the short will look like:
(1) – Frozen image
(3) – Frozen image
(3) – Read the full Independent online Hullabaloo article here
(4) – Hullabaloo image