Disney Undermines a Heroine in 4 Easy Steps

Ever heard of The Snow Queen? It’s a famous fairytale about a girl who rescues her brother from the powerful Snow Queen. Let’s see how Disney diminishes female power in 4 easy steps.

(1) Change the title. Once called The Snow Queen, the movie is now called Frozen. Using the same tactic as when Disney switched the title of Rapunzel to Tangled to hide the female star, it’s become extremely rare for a female to be referenced in the title of an animated movie for children.

(2) Change the story. In the original story, the girl rescues her brother. Now, she rescues her sister, keeping the trope of a damsel in distress and preventing a girl from saving a boy.

(3) Create a male co-star. Just as Flynn Ryder’s role was expanded to equal Rapunzel’s in Tangled, Disney invented Kristoff, a mountain man, to share the screen with the heroine.

(4) Don’t let females dominate posters or previews The first look trailer for Frozen has no Snow Queen and no females at all. It's a funny bit between two male characters.

The early poster, tellingly, is a shadow of a female figure who you can barely see.

You know what really creeps me out? Thousands of years ago, conquering armies smashed the idols of their victims and stole their stories, an extremely effective tactic to destroy a community and steal its power. Christians did this to pagans, but of course, this act is all over history. Just like the goddess morphed into the Virgin, girls are going missing under the guise of celebration. Right now, in 2013, Disney is stealing and sanitizing stories. It’s an annihilation. How long before we all forget the original story? Will our children ever hear it?

When I blogged about the sexist comments made by the head animator of Frozen – that females characters need to be pretty, and it’s hard to make two angry ones look different from each other– Nebbie comments:

Two female hero characters is not difficult, it’s only difficult if you’re using one basic type of female character.

They also could’ve made the sidekick reindeer, Sven female instead of male. Making the reindeer character female could bring in another type of female character in the movie. Most sidekick characters in Disney Princess movies, and other Disney movies for that matter, are male and having a female sidekick character would be change of pace for the company. The female characters who aren’t villains don’t all have to be pretty, sensitive, or passive.

Making the reindeer female would also make for an interesting female animal character. Human female characters are lacking in fictional media, but female animal characters are even more lacking in fictional media.

Making the reindeer female would also make him more accurate to the species because male reindeer begin to grow antlers in February and shed their antlers in November whereas female reindeer begin to grow antlers in May and keep their antlers until they shed them next May. The movie takes place in the winter months, so Sven should’ve been female.

The sidekick snowman, Olaf could’ve also been female-gendered. In other words, there would be a “snowoman” or “snowlady” instead.

Think Nebbie is off her rocker for suggesting so many female characters in Frozen? Look what Feminist Fangirl writes about the original story:

There is the Snow Queen herself, a formidable villain who’s power is treated with respect. There is Kai’s grandmother, who provides an essential catalyst to Gerda’s journey. There is the old witch woman with the enchanted garden who functions as a threshold guardian for Gerda while being characterized in a respectful manner that serves as a good subversion of the old witch trope. There is a female crow who knows how to sneak into palaces, a helpful princess who heads a side plot in which she will only marry a prince as intelligent as her (!!!), a robber and her daughter, head of a band of robbers who kidnap Gerda. The daughter is a spunky, knife wielding girl who befriends Gerda and aids her on her way. And finally, there are two women, the latter of whom helps Gerda understand the inherent power she has always had within her, a power that will ultimately save her friend, and the world.

I got that link from Fem it Up! who, like Feminist Fangirl, is boycotting the movie. I will most likely see “Frozen” as I want to know, first hand, exactly what happens to this story. Also, you know what really sucks? I have 3 young daughters, and this movie probably shows more of a heroine than most of the rest in 2013. If you doubt me, check out Reel Girl’s Gallery of Girls Gone Missing From Children’s Movies in 2013. Which is why, I suppose, Disney believes we all have nothing to complain and ought to be happy with these crumbs of feminism for our kids.


This post originally appeared on Reel Girl. Republished with permission.

Margot Magowan's blog Reel Girl is dedicated to imagining gender equality in the fantasy world.