What’s better than a multi-million dollar blockbuster hit?
Two multi-million blockbuster hits.
The masterminds at Disney are employing the timeless scheme of a follow-up to an otherwise would-be finished story. “Frozen”’s massive success has incurred itself a sequel.
To be fair, the film’s popularity was not without good reason. It was the first prominent Disney film to star a heroine who chose sisterhood over a Prince Charming. It was the first to address the issue of Disney princesses marrying someone they just met, giving Disney audiences hope for a future of strong female independence. It was definitely the first to feature a cameo by a gay family.
“Frozen” is by far the most progressive Disney film yet. But can the sequel progress further?
In spite of all these commendable nuances, the original “Frozen”’s hints of social progressiveness have been lost on many viewers. Although countless renditions of “Let It Go” appear with a simple search on YouTube, it is unclear whether or not the song’s true message holds weight with those who have memorized every word. The movie preaches the old adage of staying true to yourself, of never letting anyone tell you how to be otherwise.
But then again, it can’t be very hard to want to be yourself when you are beautiful, blonde and powerful.
Elsa and her catchy anthem were arguably the most popular parts of the film — so it makes sense that she, as a viral sensation, was so easy to consume. Who wouldn’t fawn over a glittering hailstorm of conventional beauty? “Frozen” should naturally be led by a charming, golden-haired beauty.
It’s a subliminal trend we see time and time again in mass media. Simply put in Marilyn Monroe’s wise words, “blondes just have more fun”.
Despite the fact that Anna, Elsa’s brown-haired sister, is the true heroine of the story, she is rarely the character we first recall when remembering “Frozen.” Anna trudges through miles of snow, battles ice monsters and takes an icicle to the heart from Elsa — all to save her sister. But it’s still Elsa who is rewarded with more than 400 million views on YouTube; it’s Elsa whom little girls dream of being on Halloween.
Just because she’s an ice princess doesn’t mean she needs the hair to match.
And even if we make the argument that she does indeed need her wheat-colored locks, her strong and fearless brunette sister should not be taking second place to Elsa’s weak character. Elsa seemed to be created with the purpose of serving as a foil to Anna. Why, then, is she the one that gets all the fame and glory?
It’s a message that isn’t entirely obvious, but still remains one that we’ve seen time and again. The subliminal implications that blondes are the most lusted after — that the “blonde bombshell” is the ultimate prize — need to stop. Think of every Hollywood film in which a blonde is valued over a brunette. Think of Naomi in the “Wolf of Wall Street.” Think of “Clueless” and of “Legally Blonde.” Think of the tens of hundreds of times you’ve seen this stereotype played out on the silver screen, right before your very eyes.
I don’t want to support little girls yearning for a blonde mane like Elsa’s. I want to support little girls growing up, aspiring to have a personality as kickass as Anna’s.
Do better, Disney.
Show me a sequel rapt with something other than the conventional beauty norms I’m sick of taking in. Make use of your incredible influence to give us something other than plain, white bread to chew on; it might be tolerable, but it sure as hell doesn’t help me let any insecurity go. Give me a queen, not a princess, and show the world why her unfailing strength — and not her beauty — deserves our respect.
I would pick Anna over Elsa as a Halloween costume any day.
I hope you would too.
Contact Eda Yu at [email protected].