An Objection to Frozen

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I don’t want to be a Scrooge, especially since people are calling Frozen the best Disney animated film since The Lion King, and I tend to agree. I won’t reveal any spoilers, but it was so nice to see a princess movie veer off the normal “girl in distress gets rescued by the handsome prince” storyline and I appreciated the love of family Disney chose to implement. I wanted to stand up and applaud at the end. The music was beautiful and I loved the movie so much that I saw it twice. (I’m pretty sure I was the only 20-something woman in the theatre without a little daughter. At least the first time I saw it, I had the excuse of my little brother and sister.)

I do, however, have one issue with the movie.

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Oh, Disney. You were so close.

It wasn’t until the second time I saw this movie that the words from the song “Fixer Upper” really set in. (If you haven’t seen the movie, the lyrics can be found here.) I sat straight up in my chair, making the five-year-old girls surrounding me look at me even more warily than they had been before. First, I was just the crazy grown up watching a cartoon with another crazy grownup; now I was the indignant, crazy grown up watching a cartoon with another crazy grownup.

I doubt those five year old girls will read this, but hopefully impressionable pre-teen girls will. Maybe even adult women who need to hear this message will.

You cannot save or change a man, no matter how much you love him. I promise. It will not happen. Please don’t try. It’s not fair to him, and you will only disappoint yourself. (Guys, the same goes for you. The damsel in distress/charming prince relationship only works in Cinderella.)

I understand some people claim that it was written to remind Anna to show some love and compassion towards her sister, but that argument unravels a bit when the lyrics are considered.

He’s just a bit of a fixer upper
He’s got a couple of bugs
His isolation is confirmation
Of his desperation for healing hugs

Nope. It’s a sign that you need to get out. Fast. Let me say it again: You cannot change him. You cannot save him. You are not Jesus.

People have told me I’m overreacting, over-analyzing, and over-thinking this, but as someone who used to fully believe in and romanticize the “I can save him if I date him” mentality, I can tell you that this song is potentially detrimental. We all talk about the danger of little girls receiving unrealistic expectations from society about their looks, but no one raises an eyebrow at a song that suggests that Anna just put aside her misgivings and help out this poor, troubled guy by dating and/or marrying him.

Being pressured into a relationship never ends well, nor does dating him to repair him. Don’t let him and his wounded soul that you want to heal (or his rock/troll family) try to persuade you otherwise. I applaud Disney and Frozen for several reasons, but I think they fell a bit short of the mark with this song.

There is, however, one redeeming quality from this scene. I’m pretty sure we’ve all wished for an Olaf when a supposed knight in shining armor just turns out to be a lunatic in tin foil.

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What do you think? Did the song bother you, too….or do I just have a frozen heart?

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7 thoughts on “An Objection to Frozen

  1. Anna May

    I get you! But, instead of indignation, I felt the sort of peaceful cynicism I usually feel: “Well, I’ll just stick this under the heading, “DANGER, IGNORE” and then forget about it, like I do with most of the content in many movies.”

    I’m really glad that you wrote this blog post, however. Just because something is “harmless” (arguable…) doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be clarified somewhere down the line. I, for one, am glad you’re the girl here to do it!

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  2. I believe that scripture backs you up pretty strongly on this one:

    “For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband?
    Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?”
    1 Corinthians 7:16

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  3. Nathan Meier

    I think that it’s very important to consider the source of the advice. This doesn’t seem to me to be general advice for any situation, but rather, specific advice for a specific person at a specific time in their life as demonstrated by the specific “flaws” pointed out in the song. Were this message coming from one of the princess’s young friends who were ignorant about the majority of things in life, I would agree with you. However, aside from being talking rocks, I would consider the source of this advice to be at least somewhat reliable.
    First, these seem to be very family oriented rocks. They seem to respect their elders, and they seem to be at least a fairly functional family unit. They have lived together for presumably a very long time and there was no evidence or shattered rocks or other signs or rock torture or domestic rock violence in the scenes shown in the movie. The young rocks seemed to be well developed socially making chronic parental neglect as well as overly authoritative parenting seem very unlikely. In short the rocks seem to have a fairly operational family unit which means that they may have some idea of the character traits that an individual might need in order to duplicate this familial success.
    Secondly, the rocks were in a position to know the character of the individual in question rather that just the superficial traits that the princess had been shown thus far in the film. They had presumably played a key role in his character development and no doubt had seen evidences of it throughout his life. Given their unique perspective, I think that these rocks could be considered reliable witnesses to the character of the young man rather blind defenders of it. To me this song seems to be more of a plea to listen to wise council than try to change someone. I would consider all of the examples of the flaws given by the rocks to be primarily superficial flaws. They consist primarily of physical and minor social issues stemming from a lifetime of human isolation rather than character flaws or other major developmental pathologies. I think these rocks are saying that good character nullifies superficial social and physical issues. The rocks had an opportunity to see his good character while the princess with her limited access had only seen the superficial issues. The rocks aren’t saying that true love will change bad character; rather they are saying ‘true love may change superficial issues but it doesn’t really matter if does or not, because they are just superficial issues.’
    I think that this post brings up an important questions regarding peoples thought processes in decision making. Is it more wise to trust the council of someone that you just met but has hundreds of years of life experience, admirable family relations, and shows no apparent signs of questionable character, or a friend who has a grand total of no more than 6 days of life experience and recently sang a song about snowman loving summer? What in general is more likely to cause harm to individuals, trying to change people who have flaws, or taking advice from friends who repeatedly demonstrate idiocy?
    You make a great point, and I agree with you that the “I can save him if I date him” mentality is dangerously flawed. From a theological standpoint, I agree with you wholeheartedly. But the act of true love in this movie was not romantic love at all, it was undeserved selfless love. While it may be true that you cannot save him if you date him, it may be true that you (by reflecting Christ) can save them if you love them, and I think that this is the point that this movie makes very well.

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    • Nate, you make a great point about the love of Christ, as I’m living proof of the fact that IS one love that can change and save. My life can reflect that love and “save” them, for sure–but in that case I’m still just the tool, not the actual Redeemer 🙂 Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  4. I can’t speak to your issue with Frozen, I can say that I was the indignant one when viewing The Lion King. I am furious that a message would be given that mothers (lionesses) would let their children starve while waiting for the King to return. That only the males could take care of the family, and if he left, oh well, we’re helpless females, we’ll starve and die.

    I still feel strongly about it. (Can you tell?) 😉
    I’m wary of any film that wraps up these messages in cartoons and song, passes it of as ‘entertainment’ for children.

    I’ll be sure to watch closely now if I do see see Frozen.

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    • Great point, Jan! I’d never even thought of that. It’s funny to me how people interpret things differently. Frozen had some other great messages, which I didn’t talk about in this post because it would have given away the whole movie. It’s definitely worth seeing….just take this scene with a grain of salt 😉

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