Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Misandry of FROZEN

I'm going to have to take an unpopular stand here and say that Frozen is one of my least favorite Disney films to date.

Wait, keep reading!  You might just agree with me.

I went into this movie with a pretty open mind.  Disney has a history of finding a film the public likes and squeezing every last penny out of it in every possible way until the public can't stand it anymore.  (Start singing "Let It Go" and see how many groans you get these days.)  That said, I was prepared to ignore the marketing-a-thon and see the movie anyway, being a fan of animation in general.

I liked the fresh setting, and the relationship between the sisters was also unconventional - a move away from romance (mostly) and into new territory, showing that girls can have more on their minds than marriage.  The character action read more like a musical or stage performance than a movie, no doubt a deliberate move on Disney's part so they can translate it easily onto Broadway or to other venues.  Very prettily done, I'll admit.  (Disney also upheld their own rule of killing off a character or two in the beginning of the movie, so no disappointments there. *grin*)

Where Disney failed in their "feminist" approach to this film is that it hammered the other end of the spectrum, giving us male characters that really not need be present in the film at all. Most of the males in this movie are either prejudiced, evil, clownish, or entirely silent. I'm all for female empowerment, and I don't think a girl needs a man to feel validated.  However, this film merely perpetuates a gender prejudice I have seen in so many recent films and television shows (particularly sitcoms), where the the man is portrayed as the clueless comic relief to a savvier female.  Rather than fostering gender equality, Frozen reinforces this imbalance, even celebrates it.

As a gender, women used to bemoan the lack of strong female leads in film.  We had - what, Princess Leia?  Now, we are faced with a tipping of the scales in the other direction, an overload of films and television shows that minimize a male's meaningful contribution to story.  One does not have to devalue men in order to be a feminist.  In fact, a strong woman would not feel the need to measure her worth against another's, male or not.  She would simply BE strong, without feeling the need to call attention to the fact. If there must be romance in a movie, I would much rather watch the pair become a team, with their separate talents helping to form a stronger whole.  THAT should be the message we carry to our children: not that one gender is better than another, but that everyone has strengths, and combining them can accomplish some amazing things.

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