Everywhere I turn or tune in this week, little girls are singing, dancing to, and rehearsing that song. That earworm (it’s a nice song the first 15 times) Let It Go. From the movie Frozen.
This is for BlogHer, I thought to myself knowing I’d find good writing on the topic here. But my experiences are different. I believe Frozen is a full-blown epidemic that falls short culturally. An epic labor in search of, I joking commented, an epidural. There are other perspectives here. I honor and recognize their voices.
May is the month when my only child’s annual milestone rolls around. Birthday means big dreams and wishes come out. My daughter was 11 days late. They say the lungs are the last thing to develop. Oh you should hear those 11-day lungs belt out that song!
As it turns out, my daughter seems to be at a place where many kids, mostly girls are--worshipping the movie, the notes, the images and the content at every moment. Around the neighborhood I’ve learned: a local preschool has banned the singing of Let It Go at their school. Banned? Really? Not because they are anti self-esteem and girl power, but because of the infectious earworminess of it.
Another local daycare instead choreographed (and videoed) a yoga routine to the song. Another mother friend's daughter rehearsing. Another mother blogging her daughter’s few moments wavering interest away from the obsession. Another mother…and another. It goes on.
I asked my husband to go get the Anna and Elsa dolls for her birthday. “Can’t get them…they’re really hard to find in stock” he said. What? “You can only find them on shelves in Singapore,” he said. He and three other work colleagues had already discussed it. Ummm…yay for global corporations?! I’m telling you, warning you that this is a severe epidemic. Really. Maybe I should lighten up, it’s a moment we need to discuss and explore with our children.
I liked Frozen. But I wasn’t wowed that Disney had been risqué or smashed its wholesome storylines. I thought this was a wonderfully thoughtful piece by Holli Long about the movie’s depiction of sexy, powerful and not objectified. Yay for that! But I still feel empty. Also, this post in Rub Some Dirt on It was a really lovely way a mother painstaking re-created Frozen for her child.
My daughter is cursed by my irreverence (or inability to lose myself in the magic). I’d been working toward a ladybug and bug theme for her big party. Then she switched to Frozen. So frozen ladybugs and ladybugs wearing dresses is where my head went. My satire and sardonicism is overbearing-- except not because I won’t execute on it other than sharing here. Sorry Darling. Practically speaking, it’s just too late to change it all around. She used to happily love ladybugs and butterflies and yes, Ladybug Girl until Anna and Elsa invaded our world. Luckily, multiple loves are more than possible--just not right now.
So why the angst? It’s the power of something that is being so mass consumed. Can’t it be more meaty, more inspiring, more…real? Two sisters separated for years – and lonely? What do you want Rachel? It’s Disney! I don’t know exactly, but I feel empty.
I find myself looking back at the feminist movement. I feel like they got Betty Freidan and Gloria Steinem and we got Anna and Elsa of Arendelle. Yes, it is just a movie, but it has incredible power. And granted, it is really unfair to compare a political movement to a movie. But I believe that Frozen could be the start of something comparable for this generation. And the Disney folks are chuckling all the way to the bank- that’ the difference. It isn’t organic. It isn’t…real. It’s corporate art and corporate animation. Okay, agreed, my demands of Disney known for its non-recyclable plastic cultural product are clearly, clearly, out of proportion. But I want equal parts light and dark. I want heroines in portrayed by real actors. I want....independent film.
The other thing in my mix, of course is, as females right now we’re either Leaning In, Leaning Back or Letting it Go. Unlike the women decades ago who knew what they were fighting for, we’re not organized. Media is scattered and so are we--except in the love of Frozen. We are homogenized by the content, the source of the content and yet, not. I dare you Disney, I dare you someone: make a movie about the life of Malala Yousafzai. Give us something real to feed the next generation's fascination and obsession.
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