I’ve been reading a lot about Frozen lately, and not even intentionally. I mean I watched it intentionally, but it was when I was having a slumber party with my niece. Okay, fine. You caught me. My niece is now a teenager and we were watching it in spite of not being the age demographic they were aiming for. Seriously though guys, why are Disney movies so appealing? There are so many things I can hate on in this movie. Like how it features ANOTHER typical white, skinny heroine whose eyes are bigger than her wrists.
Or how the head of Frozen‘s animation shared about how difficult it is to animate female characters because you have to keep them pretty all the time.
And yet I am just as happy as the next girl/woman to pop in a Disney flick and sing along. That’s not to say that boys can’t/don’t like princess films, by the way, because there are many who do, including adult men I know. To be more realistic, it’s girls who are the target demographic of “princes culture”.
Some of my Frozen reading has prompted me to share something with you that I rarely tell people. The reason I don’t usually share this, besides the fact that they probably wouldn’t really care, is because it makes me look like far less of the down-to-earth, non-consumeristic feminist I would love to pretend to be.
The thing I want to share is this, when I was a little girl my favorite movie of all time was War and Peace.
“Now Kat”, you might be thinking, “You wonderfully cultured thing you, why on earth would you be ashamed of enjoying a film based on a classic piece of literature? Why, that film probably planted the seed that inspired you to pursue such an incredibly
pretentious useful degree like English.”
Well, the truth is I only watched it for the ballroom scene so I could see Audrey Hepburn in this dress:
Yes, you heard me right. I was watching it for the pretty dresses.
The reason why I was reminded of, and have now shared, this secret of mine is because of an article Dana Stevens wrote called “The Sexy ‘Frozen’ Moment No One Is Talking About”, which was featured in both Slate and HuffPost. I’ve included the sexy moment she is talking about below (you can click ahead to 2:55 minutes if you don’t want to groove out to the whole song).
According to Stevens:
“It’s a moment I recognize from too many movies in my own childhood—Grease was one, The Breakfast Club another—in which the ‘good girl’ goes over to ‘the bad side’ thanks to a quick cosmetic fix-up … These moments always bugged me as a kid, because they seemed to be last-minute reversals of the foregoing movie’s message, which was that the character in question […] was fine just the way she was.”
I totally get what Stevens is saying. I agree that it isn’t fair to constantly force on girls (and boys) the idea that a physical makeover is all it takes to cure their woes. Yet that plot is repeated over and over in our movies. What do we find so appealing about it?
Well, I think it just feels really good to know you look good. Let me tell you, I looked mighty fine at my wedding. I’m not even going to pretend I wasn’t checking myself out. I will probably never look like that again, but it felt really great to have that one day to forgive myself for digging into my wallet solely for the sake of looking fabulous.
Thing is, I never look like that in my day to day. Heck, I haven’t even shaved my legs since sometime before Christmas. I don’t even remember when.
I realize that I usually write articles criticizing this kind of thing on the blog (like The Problem with Pink, and The Problem with Cute) and perhaps I risk being a hypocrite here, but maybe makeovers aren’t such a big problem. Does it contribute to the way society emphasizes the physical over everything else? Probably, but does that make it bad in and of itself? I don’t think so. There’s a big problem in thinking our bodies are where our identity lies, but maybe there is also a problem with thinking that it doesn’t affect us at all. For better or for worse, when I look in the mirror I think to myself “that’s me.” And every now and then, I think it’s okay if I try to make that “me” look mighty fine. And quite frankly, I don’t want to feel bad about it. I don’t want it to be what comprises my identity, but I’m fooling myself if I think my physical self isn’t part of that identity. Maybe we need to be reminded that, even as feminists, there is still a little room to want to look pretty. And to belt out “Let It Go” in our living rooms while our significant others are trying to study… or is that just me?
What do you think? Where do we draw the line in our fight to move away from the kind of media that emphasizes beauty as the most important virtue an individual can possess?
* If I haven’t convinced you to watch Frozen yet you should check out this article on the 7 moments that made Frozen the most progressive Disney movie ever. That being said I already included the best part in this article, so I guess you don’t really have to watch it now.