When I read the assignment description for media analysis, the first thing that came to mind was the movie Frozen. As with any other form of media, there are a lot of different opinions on how gender is represented (or misrepresented) in it, and I definitely think elements of the movie can be interpreted in different ways. Personally, I love Disney movies, and Frozen was no exception. The main characters in Frozen are women, and throughout the movie, the flaws of both characters become clear – Anna as ill-informed and somewhat oblivious, and Elsa as vulnerable and insecure. Some argue that these flaws made the movie just as “anti-feminist” as other Disney movies, but as Rhiannon Thomas explains in her article, Why Frozen Isn’t False Feminism, “Frozen is not a feminist movie because its female characters are confident and capable and accomplished from the beginning. It’s a feminist movie because they’re not, and because they learn to be so by the movie’s end” [1]. Both Anna and Elsa have lived their entire lives in isolation, and without any relationship with her sister, Anna longs for some sort of connection, and searches for one throughout the entire movie. Because of her potentially harmful power, Elsa believes that the only way to protect the people she loves is to live without them, and that she herself is unloveable. Anna was manipulated to believe in a false relationship with Hans, but this was not the presence of the gender stereotype that women are unintelligent or blinded by love. Rather, it was an example of someone who, having little to no social skills or experience with people, was easily tricked – regardless of gender. Both Anna and Elsa are Disney princesses and, like the others before them, are subject to the “feminine beauty ideal” that Lori Baker-Sperry and  Lis Grauerholz outline in The Pervasivness and Persistance of the Feminine Beauty Ideal in Children’s Fairy Tales [2]. However, both Anna and Elsa are very complex characters and are by no means defined by their beauty — they just so happen to be beautiful. Gender roles are challenged throughout the movie, but most conspicuously in the final “true love” scene. Fairy tales have implanted the idea that an act of “true love” means a kiss, so we expect that Anna needs Kristoff’s “true love” kiss to save her life. Instead, Anna sacrifices herself to save her sister, and her act of true love is “something that she does herself, not something that is done to her” [1]. Towards the end of the clip, Kristoff attempts to approach the “evil”  Hans, but Anna holds him back and instead confronts Hans herself. This, too, is an example of how traditional gender roles are challenged in the movie, as Anna displays that she is fully capable of fighting her enemies and solving her problems on her own. With the movie Frozen, the media represented women as fully in control of their own bodies, actions, and decisions, and as human beings able to learn from their mistakes.

[1]  Thomas, Rhiannon. “Why Frozen Isn’t False Feminism.” Last modified February 7, 2014. http://feministfiction.com/2014/02/07/why-frozen-isnt-false-feminism/

[2] Baker-Sperry, Lori. Grauerholz, Lis. The Pervasivness and Persistance of the Feminine Beauty Ideal in Children’s Fairy Tales. Sage Publications, 2003.

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