My kids listen to the Frozen soundtrack all the time… It’s in our car, it’s in our house -- at this point it’s in our very souls. I find myself singing it even without my kids around, which is sad, really, but I’ve definitely had worse kids songs trapped in my head. (“Elmo raps the alphabet” probably tops that list.)
And I love the whole Frozen phenomenon. I really do. I’m so glad there’s a successful kid’s movie out there about girls for once and the ending doesn’t involve being rescued by a man. It’s a sister rescue! What a concept!
There are so many positive messages in this movie -- except for one. And in my opinion -- it’s a biggie.
It’s The “Fixer-upper” song.
My kids were all singing it in the car the other day and I had to turn it off and say, “You know, this song isn’t correct. You can’t “fix” someone. People are the way they are and you should never get in a relationship where you spend all of your time and energy trying to fix a dysfunctional partner. Life is too short.”
There was a stony silence in the car as my kids stared at me like the one big Frozen-buzz kill I had suddenly become. But I cannot believe that in 2014 we’re telling little girls that you can find a totally messed up guy, clean him up and fix him because he’s “broken” and then he’ll be right for you. This seems like a 1950’s mentality that I thought was long gone, and here I am, watching my 8-year-old daughter belt it out at the top of her lungs.
And Kristoff from Frozen – Oh my God – The "Fixer Upper" song is like one big relationship red flag set to music.
Just listen to what the trolls are saying about this guy –
“What’s the issue, dear? Why are you holding back from such a man? Is it the clumpy way he walks? Or the grumpy way he talks? Or the pear-shaped, square-shaped weirdness of his feet?” And we know he washes well, he sort of ends up sort of smelly, but you’ll never meet a fellow whose more – sensitive and sweet!”
Okay, I’m fine with his feet and the way he walks – Kristoff can’t help that, although you might want check out his feet if you’re thinking of having kids with him.
But the grumpy part – that’s Anna’s first red flag. He's got problems right off the bat. He’s that young and he’s grumpy all the time? What’s he going to be like when he’s forty? Fifty? Sixty? I can tell you exactly what he’s going to be like -- one of those angry, old guys I see at Costco all the time shopping their wives. Or one of those guys that yells at the television and honks and tail-gates people in traffic. Unless you really do a lot of personal work to figure out the source of your unhappiness, anger only gets worse as you age, not better.
But the grumpy thing is nothing compared to the next Kristoff red flag in the song --
“So he’s a bit of a fixer-upper, so he’s got a few flaws. Like his peculiar reindeer, his thing with the reindeer, that’s a little outside of nature’s laws!”
Okay, so what exactly do they mean by having a “thing with a reindeer outside of nature’s laws?” At best, Kristoff is going to have a hard time learning to put Anna before his beloved reindeer, and at worst we’re talking about something far darker, something that is illegal in most states and should never even be hinted at in a Disney movie.
And let's say the trolls are exaggerating Kristoff’s relationship with Sven. They are clearly best friends and Sven, being an animal, will most likely not adjust well to his new status as third wheel. When my husband and I first started dating, my dog not only bit him in the face, but peed on his pillow repeatedly. I’m wondering how long Anna will put up with reindeer crap on her side of the bed before she says, “Sven’s gotta go.”
But the last bit of the song is the worst – The trolls give so many “run for your life” red flags that if Anna wasn’t so sick in the scene, she’s probably never stop screaming.
“Is it the way that he runs scared? Or that he’s socially impaired? Or that he only likes to tinkle in the woods? Are you holding back your fondness due to his unmanly blondness? Or the way he covers up that he’s the honest goods? He’s just a bit of a fixer-upper. He’s got a couple of bugs. His isolation is confirmation of his desperation for human hugs. So he’s a bit of a fixer-upper, but we know what to do. The way to fix up this fixer-upper is to fix him up with you!"
Since I have two boys I know that all men like to pee in the woods. That doesn’t bother me at all. It’s the following information that is so troubling – He “runs scared”, he’s “socially impaired” and his “isolation is conformation of his desperation for human hugs.”
These aren’t problems Anna can’t fix buy just buying Kristoff a new sled. These are problems years and years of therapy will hopefully improve upon – therapy that Kristoff would have to voluntarily participate in, which would be no problem at all. I mean, really, what man doesn't like to talk about his problems in therapy, am I right?
Kristoff trusts no one -- And that includes you, Anna! Get ready for jealous rages when you have a drink with a co-worker!
He’s socially impaired -- Forget going to parties or having friends over. And how is Kristoff going to act during all of his new royal obligations? That would be a challenge for anyone marrying into a royal family, much less a person that was raised by rock people. Can Kristoff even use a fork?
His isolation is conformation of his desperation for human hugs -- Kristoff wants to love Anna, but it’s just too scary for him to feel that totally vulnerable feeling you have that comes with love, so as soon as Anna thinks she's made a breakthrough with him, he’ll withdraw and get angry. Anna will threaten to leave him and Kristoff will say, “I knew it! I knew you never loved me!” Anna won’t leave him and she’ll spend another ten years of her life trying to prove to him that she loves him. Kids will be born, time will pass, a trial separation will finally ensue. Kristoff and Anna's divorce will get so ugly that Frozen 4 will have to be titled, "Frozen Assets".
Am I being too harsh with this song? Maybe. Have I listen to the Frozen soundtrack way too many times? Definitely. And in “Fixer-uppers" defense, the song does provide a caveat to all of this fixing nonsense.
"We’re not sayin' you can change him, ‘cause people don’t really change, we’re only saying that love's a force that's powerful and strange. People make bad choices if they’re mad, or scared, or stressed. (Or in Kristoff’s case, orphaned at birth and left to die alone in the woods.) Throw a little love their way. Throw a little love their way and you’ll bring out their best. True love brings out their best!”
So they do say, “We’re not saying you can change him because people don’t really change". But they immediately undercut this by saying "true love brings out the best". What's that supposed to mean? If you get in a fixer-upper relationship and you can’t change your messed up mate, it means it wasn’t true love? Excuse me? So if Kristoff can't learn to trust and get over his bad childhood, is that Anna's fault? Their love just wasn't strong enough to "bring out the best?"
Maybe this song bugs me so much because I grew up listening to “Free to be you and me” and those songs shaped my view of the entire world – how to ignore gender stereotypes, how to be a strong woman and how to find beauty in other people's differences. And all these years later, I can sing that album by heart.
So I know that my kids will always know the songs from Frozen and somewhere in the back of their minds, my fear is that even though I’ve told them that you can’t really fix someone, an animated troll told them they could… so who are they really going to believe?
Wouldn’t a better kid’s song be about finding your true love and not trying to fix them, but seeing them exactly as who they are and totally loving them... faults and all?
To me, that's not just romantic, but the very definition of love.
I have stopped complaining about the "Fixer-upper" song when it comes on now. I want my kids to be free to sing it without fear of another mommy diatribe.
Fortunately, another Frozen song has taught me that I need to just, "Let it go."
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