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Elsa from Disney's Frozen is a good role model for little girls

April 16, 2014 - Andrea Johnson
After weeks of seeing Facebook postings by my cousins about how much their little girls love the movie "Frozen," I gave in and watched this latest Disney musical, which has been so very popular over the past few months.

The tale appears very loosely based on the classic fairy tale "The Snow Queen." In this Disney production, the protagonist is Elsa, a newly crowned queen who has been shut away from the world because her parents feared she would inadvertently harm others with her power to control ice and snow with her mind. She is hardly the ice-cold villainess of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, just a lonely and isolated young woman who is afraid of her own power.

Meanwhile, her little sister, Anna, who doesn't know about Elsa's powers or understand why her sister keeps shutting her out, is an impetuous princess who just wants to find true love. When she becomes engaged to the first prince she meets after only a few hours, the other characters spend the rest of the movie questioning her judgment. That makes a nice change from certain other Disney movies I could mention, from "Snow White" to "Sleeping Beauty."

Anna was probably intended to be the heroine of the piece, since most of the screen time is spent on Anna's adventures and her romantic entanglements. First, Anna is on a quest to find Elsa after her frightened sister inadvertently turned the kingdom into a winter wonderland. Later, Anna is hoping to find a prince to heal her with "true love's kiss" after Elsa accidentally freezes her sister's heart. But I thought the Oscar-winning song "Let It Go," describing Elsa's moment of liberation and exploration of her powers as she creates an ice castle in the frozen tundra, was probably the most stirring moment in the film, far more so than the inevitable moment when Anna is saved by her love for her sister and Elsa discovers that feeling love is all she needs to turn the summer back on. In her ice castle creation, Elsa was finally free of all constraints and started to love herself. The Italian version of the song "Let It Go," probably says it best: "It's not a fault, it's a virtue and I'm never going to stop it!" That's a good lesson for little girls to learn from this movie. Elsa and Anna compare favorably with less empowered Disney princesses from the past.

Have the children in your lives been enchanted by "Frozen?" Who was your favorite of the various Disney princesses?

 
 

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