Is Frozen a Feminist Movie or a Sexist Movie?

12 Jun

frozen

I know. It has been, what, six months since Frozen arrived in theaters? And yes, people are still talking about this movie. I recently just heard “Let it go” on the radio.

Frozen has received surprisingly positive reception and has walked away with an Academy, Golden Globe, and Oscar Award, despite the severe plot holes, unintelligent lyrics, and half-done character development. What’s going on with today’s critics? Did Disney promise them a piece of the pie? Or did the beautiful animation blind them to the fact that this was a poorly written story? It’s no wonder we put little faith in any of these award shows anymore…

https://soratothamax.wordpress.com/2013/12/01/disneys-frozen/

That aside…

Frozen is also getting all kinds of attention for being a modern iconic movie that promotes feminism. This movie is getting all kinds of attention for doing something “different for women and Disney” when it is just that: different…as in, the first sexist movie ever to come out for female children. And different isn’t always good.

Here were some of the reasons some people have claimed this movie to be a symbol of “feminism” in comparison to Disney’s former movies:

1) There are two strong female characters in the movie who have goals and dreams, unlike Disney’s other characters.

2) Anna bravely searches for her sister instead of sitting back letting a man save her sister.

3) Elsa becomes queen without having to marry a man.

4) Anna decides who she truly wants to marry instead of being betrothed.

5) Frozen teaches girls not to fall in love with the first idiot (usually in the form of man) that comes along.

6) Frozen shows the world that women don’t need a lover (usually a man) to provide their icky kisses in order to save the day. The “day” can be saved by someone else who loves her (preferably a woman, and preferably a family member).

While many of these ideas are good in theory, and encourage girls to be smarter in choosing boyfriends in the future, or rather, not to date so soon at all, this movie doesn’t exactly push REAL feminist values.

Though I do think it’s important for all children to be a little more realistic when choosing mates…That also includes boys.

To add, many of these points just aren’t valid. Disney has only had two, yes TWO, Disney heroines who relied on a kiss to wake them up. The other heroines worked hard. In fact, Cinderella worked harder than Anna and Elsa ever could. She wasn’t born into nobility. Sure, she seemed to rely on a man to get out of her poor situation, but Anna relied on Kristoff to get up an ice mountain…

The other heroines like Belle, Princess Jasmine, Esmeralda, Kida, and even Meg were all feisty, brave, and intelligent. All of them were independent. Esmeralda saved Quasimodo. Meg was a bit of an anti-heroine, which Elsa failed to be…Belle read books (which Anna seemed to do little of). Princess Jasmine was much more cautious in love than Anna was. And Esmeralda, Meg, and Jasmine both conveyed as much sex appeal as Elsa did when she decided to “slit” up her dress…

Tiana worked hard and helped her Prince out of financial debt. In exchange, he helped her get her restaurant. It was a fair exchange. Mulan was never saved by anyone! Neither was Ariel! Ariel was bright, intelligent, and curious. To add, she also saved her prince. So what are people talking about?

I think it’s because Elsa is the first “emo” character. Maybe that’s what it is.

What is feminism?

Feminism has been misconstrued in today’s society. Many people today think feminism is the idea that women can do any and everything better than men. People think feminists carry the idea that women don’t need men at all. Many people think feminists HATE men. This is because many women who are bitter or angry with men have come to hate men (especially if they were in a poor relationship with a man). Many of them thus end up forming SEXIST generalizations about men, and then end up hiding behind the label “feminist”. But it makes it bad for the real feminists.

Here’s an example of someone who has misconstrued what feminism means:

Time magazine (and other magazines) asked Shailene Woodley (Felicity: An American Girl Adventure, Divergent, and The Fault in Our Stars) if she was a feminist. She stated,

I don’t consider myself a feminist because I love men. I think the idea of ‘raise women to power, take the men away from the power’ is never going to work out because you need balance. With myself, I’m very in touch with my masculine side. And I’m 50 per cent feminine and 50 per cent masculine, same as I think a lot of us are. And I think that’s important to note.

Yahoo article on Shailene’s objection to feminism

See how confused Shailene is? And based on the comments, other people are confused, too. Many aren’t, but understand why she wouldn’t WANT to be one. I can understand, too. Feminism has come to mean something totally different from what it used to mean. It’s no wonder people step away from the word as if even the word is a monster.

Dictionary definition-Feminism-the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.

So feminism is not believing that women can do everything better or without men. It’s the belief that women should be given the exact same opportunities to do the same things as men (whether they try and succeed or try and fail, as long as they are given a fair shot). It is the belief that the two genders are EQUAL. And as one Yahoo writer points out, it also benefits men. In a feminist situation, men will not think they have to have the jobs all the time. It introduces the idea that a man can stay at home, cook, and clean for a change. Or places can open up on dance teams and cheer-leading teams for boys…Though boys started cheer-leading in the first place…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheerleading

So, if we look at feminism as being equal to men, would we really say Frozen is advocating equality to men, or is it promoting female chauvinism? Chauvinism: The idea that one gender is superior to another.

A Lack of Male Character Development

It’s alright to say women don’t always need men, because yes, women are capable of taking care of themselves if they choose to be single. But Frozen takes this concept to a different level. We do need each other to a certain degree. We both live in this world. Ideas that promote the uselessness of a man is just as damaging as making men out to be Gods…

If a man went around saying, “I don’t need no woman”, he would be labeled a misogynist…But back to Frozen.

There are only three supposedly “important” male characters in the whole movie, and a couple of male trolls. Not one of them are important to the story. All of them are useless.

Kristoff is simply in the story to serve as a lover and to be the chauffeur for Anna (which she could’ve taken herself on her own journey up the mountain, if she was so “strong”). He was a card-board box character that didn’t need to exist. Doesn’t that sound exactly like how women “of the old days” were portrayed? Oh, but then, we complained that it was sexist. Is making Kristoff a useless lover in a traditional male role (ice lifter, because men are so “strong”…) ANY different? He has no family, no interesting back-story or dreams, and when he could have served a purpose, he failed to do so (knowing about the Anna incident but doing nothing about it…).

Then the other male character is an evil, selfish, douche who’s only goal was to improve trade relations. He was the weakest villain ever, and he only served to teach Anna that men are pigs and only care about themselves. Even if, from a woman’s perspective, this is true, it doesn’t make it any less sexist. Sexist movies in the past, despite everyone’s beliefs, took three turns: women would either be useless, objectified, or absolutely evil.

Look at the 1930’s, 1940’s, 1950’s , and even 1960’s movies. They Drive By Night, DetourThe Ten Commandments, and Gone with the Wind all portrayed women as absolutely evil and no good. Most movies had a “vamp-like” character in them. It made men respect women even less. It made men think of women as conniving, wooing snakes, only bent on power. Isn’t that the EXACT same message Frozen gives to women about MEN? Is the movie not also portraying a man as a snake only focused on power? Come to think of it, so did Maleficent. So what do you think it’s doing to the young female mind?

But then, it was called “sexist”. Now that the roles have switched, we want to call them “feminist”.

And that dumb snowman, Olaf, was it? He served absolutely no purpose but to provide cheesy comic relief, as did the male trolls and the horse. Similar to the female friend in Thor.

If you want to send a message that women don’t need men, why don’t you just OMIT the men altogether? In fact, this story would’ve been way better without them. Kristoff was such a distraction, the true bond between Anna and Elsa barely evolved. The villain was thrown in at the last minute because, oh darn, Disney changed Christian Andersen’s story so badly, they lost their only villain: The actual SNOW QUEEN.

So no, this movie isn’t a feminist movie, it is sexist.

And while we’re at it, let us have Anna punch Hans in the face. Imagine if that scene was replaced with a man. We would’ve thought this movie was misogynist, even if the woman was a psycho. How is punching a man, when he’s never touched her, making her equal to a man? It just makes her abusive and volatile. Tell me, if a lady “played” a guy for his money (similar to what Hans tried to do to Anna), do you think he should punch her? No? Why not? It seemed to go over well when Anna did it.

SEXIST POINTS

How else can you tell the movie is sexist? Because both men and women can’t enjoy this film. It is NOT equal in direction or presentation. This film is bent on making men feel bad about who they are, and making women feel vindicated. Feminism’s goal is to help women earn a man’s respect, and vice versa. How can a man respect this film when it’s girlish at the core, but puffs out sexist views while it’s at it?

For example:

1) Elsa proves how free she is by (obviously) doing what she always wanted to do: Put on a pretty, sparkly, sexy dress, and decorate her home, like the average traditional woman would do. This same “freedom” also causes her to leave her kingdom and her sister destitute. Instead of setting things right and taking responsibility for her actions (like Disney’s male characters would’ve done), she is forced to go back to the kingdom in chains. No, she didn’t go off on an adventure to explore the world or try to figure out if there were others like her. Oh no. She decorated a home and wore a new dress.

Let-IT-go-Disney-660x330

2) Anna dreams of romance, dancing at a ball, and dressing in fancy clothes…which is traditionally feminine, too.

Thanks for representing Venus, the epitome of traditional femininity...

Thanks for representing Venus, the epitome of traditional femininity…

3) Anna is still basically saved by Kristoff because apparently she couldn’t find the ice mountain by herself…without a man’s help.

4) Anna and Elsa have pretty dolls on the shelves, while Kristoff’s toys look just as boring as ever. And how many outfits do you think he comes with? Oh, I forgot. They made him the “stereotypical male” who doesn’t care about his appearance AT ALL. So Equal.

disney-store-frozen-classic-kristoff-doll-profile

5) Most of this story is spent on Anna and Kristoff’s relationship. Only 29 minutes and 43 seconds were spent focusing on Elsa, out of 106 minutes! Anna and Elsa had very little interaction with one another, and yet, we were supposed to believe this was a sister story? This is still a movie focusing on the traditional feminine genre of romance. Despite his romantic role, Kristoff is still a pointless figure. If only this story had a clear goal…

6) While the movie was trying to push a message meant to encourage girls not to fall in love “at first sight”, the movie’s message was contradictory. It was ridiculous that Anna only knew Hans for a couple of hours, thought she was in love, and entrusted her whole kingdom to him. We knew that was going to end badly. But crap, she only knew Kristoff for a day, and also claimed to be “in love”. What’s the very difference?

7) Having a woman or man save the girl is no better if the damsel-in-distress is STILL A FEMALE.

There are some other points mentioned here: Frozen Review

I know feminism isn’t the idea of breaking all traditional rules or anything (though lately people seem to think that’s what it represents). It’s the idea that men and women are created equally, which may break some rules, but not all.

But if that’s the case, what’s so wrong with having the loving man in your life kiss you to save the day, especially if he has done nothing else in the whole film? That does nothing different than a girl using superficial pretty dresses and home decorations to represent her freedom, neither does it do anything different when it comes to a woman wishing and dreaming to dance at a ball. It also doesn’t make a difference whether a male or a female saves the girl. The female is still acting “in distress”. She’s still being saved by someone.

There is no way a little boy can learn about feminism from this film. This movie won’t help men understand women or respect them. Rather it sends the sort of message that makes men hate them, fear them, be bored, or confused by them. This is why most of the people who hate this movie are male. Again, how is this movie feminist? How does this movie prove that women are indeed equal to men, and not above them? Is this movie showing men that women are just like them, or is this movie placing distinct differences between the genders? Sounds more sexist to me. This movie is the epitome of female chauvinism.

10 Reasons Frozen Can Never Equal a Man’s Movie

While this movie thinks it’s doing something by trying to equal men, the only thing equal about this movie is the success of the movie. Sure, it has the same box office success as most animated films where males are the main characters, but that’s where the equality ends.

Most movies geared to men have several factors that Frozen is missing:

1) Long adventures with many obstacles, and then a huge fight with a villain

Does Frozen have that? No. They barely even have a villain. And then, the “villain” is so weak, it’s almost as if he could be broken in two by Elsa. I guess women only deserve a villain that can’t do much harm. After all, they are women. A huge action-fighting scene can’t POSSIBLY be in a girl’s movie…

Really, Hans isn’t even the villain. He is a weak antagonist. A minor adversary. There is a difference.

Definition of villain: a character in a play, novel, or the like, who constitutes an important evil agency in the plot.

Hans was not the important evil agency in this plot because he was not the main obstacle throughout the whole movie. Elsa was.

Definition of antagonist: a person who is opposed to, struggles against, or competes with another; opponent; adversary.

Really, Elsa is the deuteragonist of the story, and she acted as both villain AND heroine. She is the person who froze the land, ran away as if she didn’t care to fix it, and sent an ice monster to attack her sister, Anna, the true main character of the story.

2) Male movie “anti-heroes” don’t play the victim

The “half” antagonist in this movie, who we usually call the “anti-hero”, Elsa, proved to be a victim. Elsa’s “evil powers” did little damage beyond bringing snowmen to life and prettifying her new castle. Whoopy, she “accidentally” almost kills her sister, though all the love in the world could’ve broken that spell a long time ago. And who cares if the land was covered in ice in the summer? Their main export is ice! Another sappy character, playing the victim. Doesn’t happen to males.

3) Men always have ladies as prizes in the end of their movies

While women may not like this point, equalizing a man’s movie would mean having a man as the prize for once. Does Frozen have a man as the prize for once? No. Men never portray themselves as having total and complete independence, like they don’t need a woman at all, but rather portray women as a goal or a prize to be won. How many female movies do that? I can think of one, but I’ll save it for last…

Frozen has copped out on the idea, “I’m so helpless when a man is around, that I’ll have to make a man completely unimportant to feel more important”. Have women fallen to the idea that they only have two options: I’m either saved by a man and useless, or I’ll do everything myself without any man at all? There are other options, you know: You can save the man…

Or maybe Disney was too busy focusing on rising above the reputation they’ve been stamped with. They have the reputation of presenting the idea that women need men in order to “get things done”. Though, how Frozen proves otherwise, with Kristoff leading the way for Anna, is beyond me.

4) Men usually risk their lives for a damsel, often putting themselves in harm’s way

Did any Frozen female characters do this? No, they mostly risked their lives for each other. But the man was just…there…for whatever reason. How did Anna show Kristoff that he was special to her? What sacrifices did she make for him? She did nothing. Why was he there again?

And again, the female was the one in distress. Not surprising.

5) Men usually do fall in love at first sight of a beautiful figure

While women may not like this point, to equal a man’s story, and make it truly a little different, why not have a woman fall head over heels over a man’s beauty…and him still be a great guy? Again, only one movie equalizes this point…

6) Male characters are usually losers who prove themselves to the world through courageous acts

In movies where males are the main characters, the males are usually looked at as losers who show the world that they are brave, courageous, and can protect others.

While Elsa could’ve done this, all she did was prove to herself that her powers were helpful, but she wasn’t courageous or brave about it. She only fixed the mess she made. What feat did she conquer other than her own inner demons? Elsa isn’t even considered the main character. Anna is, and she was never looked at as a loser, and so never had to prove herself.

7) Male movies are starting to portray better female role models

The Matrix, Harry Potter, How to Train Your Dragon, it doesn’t matter. They all have good, strong women in their movies, and most of the villains are male. They don’t make women seem like evil arse-wholes.

But Frozen, quite frankly, does that to men.

8) A Male’s goal is usually to gain honor, fame, or respect

Frozen follows the same old female tradition of setting love and a good social status as a goal. Another “social status” flick, like any other catered to women.

9) Male characters focus less on the fashion or their charm, and more on their worth as human beings

Females focus too much on trying to charm a crowd and look “prettiful”. Yes, I know it’s not a word. Anna’s greatest quality is her charm. Anything beyond that…pointless to discuss. Elsa obviously loves to charm us in pretty gowns.

10) Male protagonists usually make mistakes and suffer consequences

In male movies, even the protagonists make mistakes, and have to suffer consequences. Example: Hercules wouldn’t listen to Phil when he was trying to tell him about Meg.

Anna and Elsa are just victims. Elsa never apologizes for anything she does, though she froze her whole kingdom and didn’t even care what happened to her sister.

Disney’s Breakout

With all of the above mentioned, it makes you wonder why people really look at Disney as breaking from their traditional ways of doing things, when they really haven’t. Their female characters still wear pretty dresses meant to sell merchandise. That will be the day when their female main character looks plain, drab, ordinary, or ugly…

And why is Frozen looked at as the first movie to break from social norms out of all of Disney’s movies? The only truly feminist movie I’ve seen is Mulan. Oh, but maybe she’s too Chinese to be considered an actual feminist…Or maybe these kids today are too young to remember her…

No, I know what it is. She wasn’t wearing a dress like a normal girl, and didn’t act like a normal girl. Wait, isn’t what we consider “normal” similar to what is traditional?

Maybe it’s because it didn’t pass the Bechdel test

Or maybe it’s because she finds a nice guy in the end…

But her movie fits all of the above standards for being just like a boy’s movie!

Mulan equals the boys in every way. 

mulan

1) She starts off as a loser, and earns her honor, fame, and respect, much like the boys usually do.

2) She wants to bring honor to her father, not her mother, and follow in his footsteps.

3) She also chose her own romantic partner, and got to know him much more than Anna did Kristoff (which was still love at first sight because Anna only knew Kristoff for one day). And yes, Shang was a physical hunk. He was very much objectified and loved for his beauty.

4) She saved a whole country, much like most men do, rather than just one single person.

5) Her villain was a fearsome war leader. And though, yes, he was an evil male, he didn’t suddenly become the villain because he broke her heart. He was generally the enemy of the whole freaking clan, including the men of the land. As the saying goes, a good story is as good as the villain…

6) She defeated a whole army, all by herself!

7) She actually sacrificed for and saved a man, not another weak female character, getting a battle wound in the process.

8) Mulan made some serious mistakes. She lied about her identity, stole her father’s armor, and ran away from home. But she recognized her mistakes and made up for them.

9) Very little merchandising can come from this movie, much like in male movies. Unless girls want to buy her armor…

She honestly has one pretty dress. Most of Mulan’s playsets consist of war materials and a tent.

10) In the end, she wins her prize: Her man, much like male movies…

11) All of the males had personalities, not just Mulan, and all of the main characters helped Mulan defeat the villain. They were all useful in some way.

12) Mulan never dreamed of love, romance, freedom, lots of fancy clothes, none of the traditional female hopes and dreams. She dreamed of finally knowing where she belonged and honoring her father (much like Hercules).

So, Mulan equals the movies usually geared toward males. And guess what? Mulan earns the respect of males. It is a gender-neutral story that people of both genders can enjoy. There are more males who consider Mulan a better movie than Frozen. And I’m talking about adult men. They can enjoy this movie and still respect women. When they see Mulan, they see that a woman’s feelings, ideas, desires, hopes, and dreams are no different from theirs. They realize that women are capable of taking down a whole army, surviving a brutal military camp, making their fathers proud, and taking a pursuant role in a relationship by impressing a man with her strength, instead of using her particular charms or her beauty.

Frozen does none of that. While Frozen shows men that women are brave because they can go on adventures to save their sisters, they fail to show that they can find directions on their own and survive a deadly forest without the assistance of a male to escort them. While these women have goals, hopes, and dreams, they don’t seem to mirror the same hopes and dreams as males. They are indeed traditionally feminine in nature. And of course they can’t make their fathers proud, they are orphans…

But does that mean they can’t impress men with their strength instead of their beauty? Anna is simply a pretty figure with a charming personality at the ball when she falls for Hans, even if she was a little quirky. Though Elsa doesn’t have a love interest, she never fails to dazzle the audience with her elegant gown in the solo “Let it Go”, possibly to appeal to the eyes of future toy consumers. Why else would she change her clothes?…Yet, she didn’t use that freedom to go explore the world…Or find others like herself…Or read some books…

So, that’s my spin on this feminist issue.

Women, don’t use feminism as a means to gain power, it’s not right, even if you feel vindicated.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

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17 Responses to “Is Frozen a Feminist Movie or a Sexist Movie?”

  1. Chester 2014/12/27 at 13:30 #

    I really appreciate your analysis and extensive review. I think you nailed it across the board and reminded me why I continue to boycott Disney.

    You might want to review your article for the way you’ve used “it’s”, as it is used incorrectly several times and hurts your credibility. It’s = it is. Not a possessive.

    Like

    • generationnext 2014/12/28 at 18:18 #

      I apologize for the “it’s”. My computer has that automatic spell check thing, and it’s very irritating. No matter how many times I go over it, it continues to do it.

      Thank you for the objective viewpoint and I’m glad you enjoyed the article for what it was.

      Like

  2. Angela 2015/08/14 at 04:14 #

    My dear, I think you’ve quite nailed it.

    As a real Disney fan since infancy, I confess that apart from the bedazzling first experience seeing it in the theater with my family, Frozen never truly wowed me like it has the rest of the world. “Better than the Lion King”? Yeah, no. Big Hero 6 was a better recent animation, at least to me if not everyone else, but I never really thought about why Frozen seemed so annoying to me, apart from the constant “Let It Go”s I hear everywhere. Then I read this and everything just clicked.

    I truly appreciate you being so analytical about this and giving SO MUCH visual proof to back up your claims instead of just ranting your opinion like other blog posters and commentators do. I also appreciate you giving the true definitions of feminism and taking a step further by delving into the male perspective for a while so both male and female views are taken into account for your review.

    Fantastic, absolutely fantastic. I’m gonna actually bookmark this because it contains a lot of good questions and info and analysis that can be applied to any movie, it’s so good! Kudos!

    Like

    • generationnext 2015/08/14 at 21:19 #

      Thank you so much, Angela. 🙂 I really appreciate your comment. I’m glad you could take something from the article and that you find the points valid. There are so many fans of Frozen, and I don’t see myself as someone put on this earth just to hate what others love so much. Still, I can’t love Frozen as much as other people do.

      Like

  3. ThumbWind 2016/01/14 at 15:14 #

    Thank you! This also reminds me how much I loved Mulan. I was a 5 year old boy drawing the title logo from Mulan. I was so stoked when I saw that early teaser trailer. I loved dragons and I really identified with Mulan. Who, was a human, who wanted to honor her father and go to war even if that means to strike out on your own knowing of the consequences. Mulan is a badass!

    Liked by 1 person

    • generationnext 2016/01/14 at 17:05 #

      Exactly. Mulan related to male audiences without having to shove in a man’s face “Oh, look I don’t need a man. See? They are such pigs, girls.”

      This is what REAL feminism is about. TRULY earning the respect of MEN. That is how it began and it will never change. Other women will try to distort this to suit their own agendas, but it only further hurts their cause.

      Frozen may empower women, but it will NEVER make them equal to a man.

      Mulan showed the world that women are just like men. They are HUMAN with human failings but also strengths that equal to men.

      That Mulan logo was always dope. I also liked Tarzan’s logo. They were fierce.

      Hopefully, Disney stops wasting their time on pathetic attempts to appeal to modern feminists and start focusing on making GOOD stories with solid plots.

      Thanks for commenting. 🙂

      Like

  4. Najaa 2017/04/06 at 00:04 #

    Hans didn’t just “played” a guy for his money. He attempted to murder her sister( the person Anna loved above everything). How many men have ever punched women for this reason? They exist but not many. Hans has never touched Anna but he did something much worse to Elsa. He almost hit Elsa WITH A SWORD TO DEATH.
    I think it’s a very rare case when punching somebody is excusable.

    Like

    • generationnext 2017/04/08 at 09:26 #

      Elsa attempted to murder her sister as well. She sent a giant ice monster on her! What makes Hans different from Elsa? One is a woman, and the other isn’t. So why didn’t Anna punch Elsa? She was the reason for the whole fiasco.

      If he attempted to kill ELSA, then ELSA had every right to retaliate in self-defense. But Anna? No.

      I still fail to see that Anna’s motivation was her sister. It seems she punched him more because he deceived her, not because he tried to kill her sister. Which still isn’t a good reason.

      Now, if a female villain had tried to destroy a male character’s brother, when all is said and done, should he punch her? I don’t think that would go over well with the feminists at all, considering the double standards. Especially if he uses his physical fists. It may be rare in real life, but what’s stopping somebody from putting that in a story? No matter the reason, Anna shouldn’t have put her hands on Hans if he’d never touched her.

      Like

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