I finally got a chance to go see the movie Frozen. I took my daughter. We both liked it a great deal.
Frozen is the first media property that I first encountered or watched on Tumblr that was ACCURATELY represented by Tumblr. I saw Pacific Rim first on Tumblr, and was rather surprised when I got to the theater and found the main character to be a scruffy white guy. I first saw Teen Wolf on Tumblr, and was disappointed to find that the women and people of color on the show are not the ensemble leads. But Frozen was as advertised.
I have seen an analysis of the movie that discusses Elsa in terms of a coming-out metaphor. I find this analysis to be valid and accurate.
I have seen an analysis of the movie discussing Elsa’s value as a lead character with some mental and emotional imbalances, her value as a role model for people with depression and anxiety. I find this analysis valid and accurate.
I have heard how Anna is an amazing hero-protagonist, active and powerful and trusting in herself. I find this analysis to be valid and accurate.
I have read how featly the film disembowels the myth of love-at-first-sight, and I enthusiastically approve of how this is portrayed. Kudos to the filmmakers.
The one thing I haven’t seen anyone talk about yet — and that’s probably merely because I haven’t gone and looked — is a discussion of the choices made by Elsa and Anna’s parents. The choice to lie to one daughter and imprison the other.
The thing is …
The thing is, I believe that these parents were supremely well-intentioned. They did not lock Elsa in a dungeon. In fact, when they left on their two-week trip, they left Elsa in charge. They had clearly trained her to be queen next. Everyone in the kingdom expected her to be queen, and expected her to be a competent ruler. There was no incipient rebellion, no palace coup. Elsa was raised to rule.
Her parents clearly thought that their eldest daughter had one issue, one controllable flaw that had to be hidden. But it wasn’t a deal-breaker. She was still their daughter, still the eldest, still the heir. They still loved her.
I have terrifically divided feelings about this.
On the one hand, “we love you as long as you lie to everyone about who and what you are” is poison to people. Especially when it so obviously comes from a place of love. Elsa tried so hard to not merely do what they said but to BE what she needed to be — and that trick, well, it hardly ever is sustainable.
On the other hand, I am a parent now.
It’s my job as a parent to love my kids. But it’s also my job to shape them, over twenty-odd years, into competent adults. Sometimes that shaping involves hugs and laughter and pride. Sometimes that shaping involves shouting and tears. I mean well. I love my kids and I mean well, but I have no idea how they are taking some of the things I say.
I certainly do not intend for “you must pick up your dirty clothes or you will have to write an essay on the importance of respecting communal space” to be taken as “do what I say or I won’t love you anymore.” I SINCERELY HOPE that it’s not taken that way, please for the love of crickets.
But I can’t know for sure.
I do know when I’ll find out — In twenty or thirty years, when my kids will (probably) have kids of their own.