8 reasons why Frozen's Anna and Elsa are the most feminist princesses from a Disney movie yet
If one searches “Frozen let it go cover” on YouTube they’ll be bombarded with over 4 million video results (many of which have several million views). Children, teenagers, and adults, male and female alike, have fallen in love with Disney’s animated mega-hit Frozen. The film, released on Thanksgiving, is still playing in movie theaters across the country (now in a sing-along version), has recently become available for digital download and is up at the Oscars on March 2 for Best Animated Film and Best Original Song, both of which it will likely win.
What is it about Frozen that has struck such a chord with audiences? Is it the talented voice cast, the beautiful animation, or the infinitely catchy soundtrack from Broadway songwriting duo (and married couple) Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez? Perhaps. But I think the reason lies in the fact that the film’s two princesses are significantly stronger and more realistic than any we’ve seen from Disney before. Here are eight reasons why Frozen has the most feminist Disney princesses to date (spoilers for the film are included):
1. Frozen essentially parodies former Disney princesses.
After Anna meets Prince Hans she considers herself in love and wants to marry him immediately in a clear throwback to other Disney animated features. However in this film Anna’s intention is met with disapproval and ridicule from both Elsa (“You can’t marry a man you just met”) and Christoff.
2. Elsa’s self acceptance is utterly inspiring.
After hiding her powers and essentially herself for so long, Elsa finally embraces who she truly is as well as her abilities in “Let It Go,” the single most empowering song in a Disney movie for a female (or male) character ever.
3. The most important love in the film is between siblings.
Frozen is in all honesty a love story. Not of a romantic love but familial love instead. While Anna has love interests in Hans and Kristoff, the most important relationship is that of the two sisters, whose love for triumphs all and leads them both to make great sacrifices for each other.
4. Elsa and Anna are both fiercely independent.
Really neither of these girls need a boyfriend, much less a husband. Elsa takes on the burden of hiding her powers from everyone, including her sister, to protect them and after their reveal she takes to the wilderness in self imposed exile using her unique powers to create her own winter-y kingdom. Anna then, without the assistance of Prince Hans or anyone else, embarks on solo a journey to find and return with Elsa (and yes, she is assisted by Kristoff on the way, but my point remains that she was originally willing to go it alone).
5. Neither girl is saved by a man.
At the film’s climax where traditionally the male lead would come to save the princesses (see: Snow White, Sleeping Beauty or even the more modern Tangled, the list goes on...) it’s Anna who saves Elsa, as well as herself in the process.
6. Anna is ten times more genuine and relatable than previous princesses.
Disney princesses were originally depicted a perfect model of grace, poise, beauty and overall loveliness. Real woman don’t fit that description and neither does Anna. She’s impulsive, fearless, optimistic, sassy, clumsy, forward, awkward, feisty, imperfect, enjoys chocolate and occasionally overshares (ex: “You’re gorgeous,” she blurts out after meeting Hans). She also doesn’t wake from slumber in perfect condition a la Sleeping Beauty (see above).
7. Elsa becomes the sole ruler of her kingdom.
Elsa becomes Queen of Arendelle, which the the land’s townspeople within the film accept wholeheartedly. While most Disney films shy away from the prince and princess actually ruling the kingdom, in Frozen Elsa single handedly takes on the task, without the need for a king by her side.
8. The film doesn’t end in a marriage.
The only other Disney princess to share this fate is Merida from the rather unimpressive Brave, a movie which shies away from the issue of romance almost all together. Frozen meanwhile shows that it’s perfectly okay to for young women to be involved in romantic relationships without committing themselves to marriage right away (as in Anna’s case), or, for that matter, to not date at all (which Elsa chooses).