Personally, I love Frozen. I am a sucker for any Disney movie with beautiful animation, an amazing soundtrack, and phenomenal Broadway-based cast. However, I also find Frozen to be pretty empowering for young girls. A disney princess whose journey in the film is to find and accept herself and her family? Heck yeah, sign me up. While I could honestly go on about Frozen for the rest of eternity, what I actually want to talk about is this Yahoo Shine article about “The Real Message Behind Let it Go”
For those not familiar with the movie, Let it Go is the movie’s gem, the culmination of Elsa (the “Snow Queen”) finally “letting go” and unleashing her powers while belting (and is sung by Idina Menzel so obviously it is sublime). During this scene Elsa literally transforms from afraid and dowdy to confident, building a castle and a fierce-ass dress out of ice and belting like the fierce queen she is.
The Yahoo Shine article does not agree. It says that “as far as I can see it, [the actual message of the scene] is this: “Get it, ho.” I am under suspicion that this article was only written so that wordplay could be used, because the claims that the author, Beth Greenfield, “refuse[s] to accept as ‘feminist’ and ’empowering’ more tarted up, over sexualized crumbs” are honestly ridiculous.
The entire article takes issue with the fact that Elsa’s transformation takes her out of “her perfectly lovely green gown” and “into a sparkling, off-the-shoulders, breast-hugging confection” and “a boatload of makeup.” You can take issue with Elsa’s new outfit all you want, but really, who cares? Why do her new outfit and makeup choices change your opinion of her as a character? Do we really have to suddenly lose respect for a girl who is finally coming into her own and accepting that she has the power to carve her own life just because she’s singing in a fine as hell gown that shows off her legs? The argument that Elsa’s transformation is “anti-feminist” and a bad influence on young girls because her outfit is revealing is inherently anti-feminist. Women need to be valued for their personhood, for their will to face their fears and grow their abilities, not how much makeup they’re wearing or if their dress hugs their fucking breasts.
Not only in the eyes of this article is Elsa’s outfit inappropriate, but how dare she also strut like “a Victoria’s Secret Angel on the runway, swishing her hips with the exaggeration of a seasoned drag queen.” Obviously, Victoria’s Secret Angels and Drag Queens do not live up to the standard of women we expect our daughters to be. Her “formerly innocent face” is now makeup clad. She is no longer the clean pristine girl that we need young women to grow up to be. Who Elsa chose to be after living in fear of being herself is too slutty.
While all of this is infuriating enough, the kicker for me of this article is the beginning of the penultimate paragraph:
“Why? Who’s it for?”
It’s for her.
Why is it impossible to believe that Elsa could want to be alone and also wear an extravagent dress and makeup? The article begs Disney to “break its heroines free from the male gaze” but Elsa doesn’t even have a love interest in the movie. There are no males in her ice castle. Elsa looks fine as hell for herself. Because she is strong and fine as hell. This article put her in the male gaze. These expectations of what a woman has to be are what has confined her. This article is everything “Let it Go” is not. The female oppression does not come from how Elsa chooses to express herself, it comes from people telling her that her choices are not acceptable.