How is it that two such opposite sides can finally agree on one movie’s alleged hidden agenda?
Being part of the “Disney Online Community”, and I use that term loosely, I obviously come across many links and articles about all kinds of subjects related to Disney. Obviously, they are not always positive and/or pro-Disney. Lately, for some reason, a whole new set of articles has come to my attention, specifically regarding the movie Frozen. I know that some of these articles have been out for a while, so I am not sure why they are surfacing now, but it has made me start thinking of the movie in a whole new way.
The articles all relate to Disney’s promotion of a pro-homosexual agenda by the use of the storyline in Frozen. Usually I write these things off to some kind of activist who has too much time on their hands, and is simply looking for reason to bash one company or another because of their belief of a company’s contradiction to their values or religion. However, in this case, the activists seem to be coming from both sides, both pro-homosexual and anti-homosexual.
Caitlin Dickson in her article for the Daily Beast writes “Disney has a long history of fielding accusations of using its children’s movies to advance one liberal agenda or another —whether it’s gay rights, environmentalism or socialism. However, there seems to be something about Frozen that has attracted more than the usual amount of controversy for a kids’ cartoon.”
I am attempting to write this article in an unbiased and impartial manner. I have no intention of taking one side of this argument or the other. My personal feelings don’t matter here at all. I don’t even necessarily agree that the movie is trying to promote an agenda. My point here is that “journalists” and bloggers from both sides seem to agree that the movie is promoting an agenda, and twisting certain aspects of Frozen to fit their beliefs. I am in no way supporting or endorsing any of the quotes, or sources listed within my post. I am simply quoting them, and citing them, as to provide credible information for my own article.
It certainly strikes me odd that on such a divisive subject, you can actually get both sides to agree on their perceived notions of an alleged subplot. For example, Justin Lee, Executive Director of The Gay Christian Network, in his article “Want to understand you gay family member? Go see Frozen” analyzes one of the common points of agreement on the subject. That being the point of Elsa’s parents telling her “Conceal; don’t feel,”:
“After an accident, though, Elsa’s parents come to view her power as a curse, and they encourage her to keep her difference hidden from the rest of the world. “Conceal; don’t feel,” they tell her, and she attempts to do just that, withdrawing from the world to wrestle alone—with her secrets, with a powerful sense of guilt, and with this part of herself she doesn’t fully understand.
All of this happens very quickly in the early part of the film, but as a gay man, I found these brief scenes resonating with me in a powerful way. I know that feeling: The sense that not only what you’ve done, but what you are, is something terrible, shameful, and abhorrent to your own parents—but you have no idea how to change it, and you don’t know if you can hide it forever.”
At the same time, Kathryn Skaggs in her article on her Well Behaved Mormon Woman blog, “Frozen: Not Gonna “Let It Go” When Movie Advocates Gay Agenda” touches on the subject in a similar way:
“Elsa has a great power that she has been taught by her parents from the time she was a child, is not publicly acceptable and that she must fear its expression, at all cost, thus hide it from people, even her own sister who could be hurt by it – even killed. Shame is at the core of Elsa’s feelings about her magical powers: same-sex attraction.
As Elsa’s power increases, her parents’ urge her to learn how to control it, as it would be perceived as evil to others, but Elsa can’t; it’s impossible. Her parents’ make the decision to close the castle to the public, and lock Elsa in her room so that her power won’t be discovered. Not even her sister is allowed to see and play with Elsa: demonetization of homosexuals by society.
Elsa is devastatingly lonely and depressed being forced to live a life of isolation, believing her powers to be evil. Her sister, kept from the truth, and affected by the inflicted secrecy also becomes victim to the dysfunction of her family and experiences equal isolation and confusion: not “coming out” and being who you are meant to be (acting on the power) is harmful to the person, family and society.”
Another point of agreement has to do with the hit song from the movie, “Let it go”. Surprisingly, I have now seen this song being referred to in several places as a new “Anthem” for the gay community. Steven Greydanus in his article for the National Catholic Register, “So, How Gay IS Disney’s Frozen?” comments:
“Regarded with fear and revulsion by others, Elsa defies the society that has rejected her as well as the unjust strictures placed on her by her parents, celebrating her acceptance of her true identity in the power ballad “Let it Go.” No more “Be the good girl you always have to be” for her; now her mantra is: “Let the storm rage on / The cold never bothered me anyway.”
At the same time, Chrislove for the Daily KOS website in an article titled, “Top Comments: A Queer Perspective on Disney’s Frozen” writes:
“Watching and listening to this song, I couldn’t help but think of the way I “fled” my small town and moved to the nearest large city for college, where my world just completely opened up and I realized that there was nothing wrong with me. Much like Elsa, I burst out of my bubble and embraced my new identity with open arms, and while I didn’t build my own castle, perhaps I did go a bit overboard. I think it was at this point in the movie that I leaned over to my boyfriend and said, “This is totally about coming out, isn’t it?” If I was a young LGBT kid watching Frozen, “Let It Go” would definitely be my anthem.”
At this point in time, I am not concerned about spoiler alerts, but if for some reason you haven’t seen the movie, you have been warned. Elsa returns to Arendelle. Elsa resumes her role as Queen and is accepted and welcomed by the kingdom. Regarding the finale of the movie, Skaggs, who has gotten much attention, positive and negative, when writing on her Well Behaved Mormon Woman blog refers to the final scenes summarizing the events of the movie as follows:
“…love, becomes the healing factor and without false judgment, ignorance and fear, by society, having been made to see themselves as Elsa’s problem (and not Elsa), she is now able to suddenly control the negative use of her power. In fact, she is actually able to now use it to benefit society – the power of unconditional love.”
Skaggs goes on to express her feelings on the symbolism of the final scenes:
“For me, this is probably one of the most disturbing messages of the movie, Frozen, and of course, the bottom line in the twisted marketing to normalize homosexual behavior and legitimize same-sex marriage in society: the opposition to it is the problem – you.”
So, oddly enough, there seems to be agreement from both sides on several points of the movie:
- Elsa’s ice powers represent her sexual preference, and the movie references this directly when the Troll King is asking her parents if she was born that way, or if she was cursed. The parents do indicate that she was born that way.
- Elsa’s differences from “normal” society cause fear and confusion among her family, causing them to lock her up and hide her away. Telling her that she should “conceal it, don’t’ feel it” representing “normal” society’s views on her differences.
- The repression of her true self causes problems during her coronation, where she lets her true self show, revealing her “powers” as she cannot control them.
- Due to the fear and misunderstanding by society, she is rejected, forcing her to flee the castle where she can learn to celebrate her differences and accept her true self as represented by the “Let it Go” song.
- Elsa shows no interest in traditional romance, especially regarding Anna’s engagement. Hans also has a line in where he indicates that Elsa would have been preferable to carry out his evil plan but, “no one was getting anywhere with her” and “her” in this case was obviously Elsa.
- Elsa’s ultimate acceptance by the kingdom (society) allows her to control her powers, and eventually use them for good, or the benefit of society. This has also been used as a metaphor (but not very convincingly in my opinion) for the legalization of gay marriage, but that really seems to be a stretch.
Possibly my favorite discussion point causing disagreement on from both sides is the character Oaken (Yoo-Hoo!), the shop keeper up in the mountains, and if he is actually gay or not. Oaken refers to his “Family” and they cut to a scene of a group of people in a sauna. There is a female in the picture, but she appears to be closer to the age of the younger children. Then there is a larger, older male. Some people assume that’s Oaken’s oldest son, some say that it’s Oaken’s husband; Others say the use of the word “family” does not mean immediate family, and could easily be an extended family member. There is so much debate on both sides that most of the time it’s dropped. However, this seems like a good example of how you can take 5 seconds of a movie, and twist it to fit your own personal agenda. You can decide for yourself what you think.
So many claims of subliminal messages have been brought up before regarding Disney movies. Having this kind of controversy is nothing new. However, the difference this time seems to be that it’s not subliminal, it’s an intentional underlying storyline. Whether is it intentional, or if there are a few outliers that are reading too much into a cartoon is up to you to decide.
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