So we just had a discussion about Frozen in the office, and it didn’t stem from how many times we’ve been forced to sit through it. It was a serious, half-hour conversation about every little girl’s current favourite Disney movie, prompted by one team member’s single friend watching it voluntarily and without anyone else’s kids. Were we bored? Nope. Particularly quiet and underworked? No chance. We were actually discussing the message it contains, and we reckon it’s possibly one of the best we’ve heard in a long time. Here’s why:
We’ve always been fed the Prince Charming story, starting with fairy tales as a child; beautiful, precious princess ends up with handsome, rich, successful guy. It doesn’t matter if he’s the kind of guy who will bring her a cup of tea after a long day at work or the kind who’ll fling his jacket over the back of the chair and demand to know where his dinner is... It’s all about him being the stereotypical Prince Charming and he’ll always save the day. Even if saving the day means treating you like a helpless object (yes, Snow White, you).
Then Frozen came along. Prince Hans has it all on paper; he’s dashingly handsome, charismatic, well-connected and probably loaded. On the flip side, there’s adorable-but-slightly-buffoonish Kristoff. Dependable job but probably not the richest; boy-next-door looks; can be a touch tactless. Would Kristoff get a look-in in a regular fairy tale when Prince Charming’s around? No, of course he wouldn’t. He’d be the one faithfully cleaning the horse muck off PC’s shoes.
So we love it that actually, it’s Prince Charming who turns out to be the bad guy and Kristoff is The One. Go the underdog! And our discussion didn’t stop there. Elsa is beautiful, aloof and elegant. The slightly geeky Anna is more like us; we could so identify with the hair-like-the-family-dog, dribble-still-on-the-chin, bleary-eyed start to the day.
So who’s the one who saves the world? Is it the stereotypical princess in all her hair-swinging, dress-swishing, Let It Go glory? No; it’s the headstrong, feisty, sometimes a bit daft Anna who manages to sort it all out. Again, go the underdog.
It really got us thinking about both elements. Should we be looking for a Prince Charming who ticks all the boxes – money, looks, success – or should we be focusing on finding a life companion who supports us, encourages us and above all, works in partnership with us? And should we assume it’s only princesses who can succeed in life, or should we always strive to do our best no matter what we’re given to work with?
Simplified as it is, we reckon Frozen gives young girls a fresh, realistic, empowering message far more worthwhile than those of our younger days. So you’re not perfect... So what? Try, and you can succeed. So your life partner is Mr Average... So what? He’s kind, caring and loyal; better that than Mr Selfish, Arrogant And Cruel.
And of course, as one final thought, let’s not forget the vital message of sisterhood (something that eluded the husband of one team member, who asked at the end of the film, “But who does Elsa marry?”).
In the end, Anna and Elsa rely on each other – not Prince Charming, not the lovable buffoon, not anyone but themselves – to fix things. If that’s not a positive message to send young girls, we don’t know what is.