Frozen: Letting Go of Gender Stereotypes?

In a world where racism, gender inequity, and injustice run rampant, people have looked to the media to see how these issues are dealt with onscreen. Animated films are particularly interesting to examine, as the entire world is built from scratch: the trees, the representation, and even the prejudices characters exhibit.

Else, by Putra Ananda.

Disney princess films not only provide role models and a means of escape for children, but they also inform children about various viewpoints they are meant to hold, especially the way people of a certain gender should act (Hine et al., 2018). These ideas can be easily internalized. Although there have been definite strides made over the last few years to improve representation, Disney princess films continue to present a stereotypical gender narrative and ideals focused on appearance. This article will examine Frozen and Frozen II to determine if princesses are still represented with stereotypical female characteristics or if representation has improved to include more androgynous characteristics.

Romantic Involvement

Romantic involvement with male characters is, stereotypically, an important part of female narratives. Both Frozen movies are a departure from this stereotype and unlike the majority of Disney princess films, there is no major romantic narrative. Although Anna and Kristoff’s relationship gets a brighter spotlight in Frozen II, the main storyline follows Elsa’s journey to find the Fifth Elemental Spirit and save Arendelle. Stereotypical assumptions about love are also disputed in these movies: Frozen spends a good portion of the plot mocking Anna for believing she fell in love with the visiting dignitary, Prince Hans, at first sight. Kristoff supplies most of this criticism. For example, as they notice wolves pursuing them, Anna says she wants to help fight them off. Kristoff says no. “Why not?” Anna asks. “Because I don’t trust your judgement. Who marries a man she’s just met?” he replies incredulously. Anna and Hans’ love at first sight romance is juxtaposed with the slower budding romance between Anna and Kristoff. They fall in love while working together to find Elsa and to save Anna’s frozen heart.

Kristoff rehearsing his proposal

Frozen II also features a romantic narrative. Kristoff spends most of the movie unsuccessfully trying to propose to Anna. This heteronormative subplot is both innovative and damaging. It is innovative in that it dismantles the notion that men can’t be sensitive, express their feelings about love, and still be in a successful relationship. Kristoff’s power ballad “Lost in the Woods” expresses his deep feelings for Anna and the love he feels for her. He admits to being afraid that she is pulling away from him and feels that life without her is too awful to contemplate. Since he spends a good portion of the movie pining after Anna, a behaviour almost always attributed to female characters, he flips the gender stereotyping on its head and breaks traditional gender representation barriers. This flipping of gender characteristics shows that an effort is being made to oppose stereotypes in Frozen II.

However, this subplot is also damaging because it subtracts from the journey Anna and Elsa undergo to save their kingdom: the moment Kristoff successfully proposes to Anna is right after Elsa discovers that she is the Fifth Elemental Spirit and finally understands her purpose. His proposal undermines Elsa’s growth and self-discovery and impresses that a happy ending is not complete unless there is some sort of romantic conclusion. At the end of the movie, after Elsa has undergone her transformation to become the Fifth Spirit, Kristoff comments to her, “You look different—did you cut your hair or something?” further trivializing her journey of acceptance and discovery by equating it to an inconsequential change in physical appearance.

Young Elsa and Anna play with snow figurines

For Elsa, her magical powers take the place of a romantic partner. This is best emphasized through the opening scene of Frozen II: Anna and Elsa play with miniature snow figurines of Elsa’s making, and Anna asks her sister to “make a prince—a fancy one!” to save the princess from an evil spell. Anna makes the figurines kiss, saying “Who cares about danger when there’s love?” But Elsa responds with disgust, “Kissing won’t save the forest,” and she makes a fairy queen to “[break] the spell and [save] everyone.” She replaces the prince and romantic heterosexual norms with a powerful queen who is independent, and evidently more powerful than the love between the prince and princess.

It is important to note that Frozen II does not end with a wedding. It ends with Anna being crowned queen of Arendelle while her fiancé supports her from the crowd. Her sister Elsa is finally at peace with herself and has found purpose as the Fifth Spirit in the Enchanted Forest. The romantic narrative is not the final image that viewers get of Frozen II; the successes of the two women are championed instead.


Rescue Behaviour

Rescues are an important part of the Disney narrative. The inevitable tug-of-war between good and evil, or even between good and the unfamiliar, means that main characters are constantly thrust into perilous situations.

Although male and female characters both perform about the same number of rescues in Frozen, their reactions to the rescues are very different. When Kristoff is thrown from the sled and attacked by wolves, Anna yells “Christopher!” after him in concern. With the wolves snapping at his heels, he hotly retorts, “It’s Kristoff!” After Anna manages to pull him into the sled, his first remark to her is “You almost set me on fire,” rather than “Thank you for saving my life.” In comparison, after Kristoff saves Anna from the wolves and his sled is destroyed, she apologizes: “I’ll replace your sled and everything. And I understand if you don’t want to help me anymore.” Her meek attitude is the opposite of his condescending and ungrateful tone, even if his comments were meant to be humorous. These exchanges give the impression that it is acceptable for a male character to scoff at help and criticize rescue tactics, but that a female character should thank her rescuer and ask for nothing more.

In Frozen II, Kristoff is more supportive of Anna’s rescue behaviour. Although he is still anxious about her being in danger, this is because he is in love with her, not because he believes that women should not do any rescuing. One instance where conflict could have arisen is when Anna leaves Kristoff behind at the camp without a word. But Kristoff doesn’t use this against her. He reassures her saying, “It’s okay. My love is not fragile.”

Climactic Rescues

Female characters in the two Frozen movies complete climactic rescues personally, although this is traditionally done by male characters in Disney movies (Hine et al., 2018). They are also no longer passive recipients of help.

In Frozen, Anna is the one to save her sister from Hans’ sword and thaw her own heart in the same act. She performs the act of true love herself, a platonic sisterly love rather than Disney’s usual romantic narrative. Giving the climactic final rescue to a female character, while her traditional love interest was mere meters away, was an empowering and decisive choice.

Anna destroys the dam

In Frozen II, Elsa is the character who primarily does the rescuing: most danger occurs when the Elemental Spirits are introduced and Elsa’s powerful magic is the only thing that stands a chance against the mystical spirits. But the critical rescue in Frozen II goes to Anna. Although she is overcome by immense grief (both her sister and Olaf are considered dead) Anna wakes the Earth Spirits and manipulates them into throwing boulders at the dam built by Arendelle in the Enchanted Forest. By breaking the dam, Anna frees Elsa from the icy magic of Ahtohallen and lifts the mist that had isolated the Enchanted Forest. As she is running from the Earth Spirits, it is Kristoff who saves her from being trampled. However, as Kristen Bell noted on The Tonight Show, the first thing Kristoff says to Anna after he rescues her is “I’m here. What do you need?” not “Stand back—I’ve got this.” This is a considerable departure from traditional Disney male hero behaviour, and refreshing to see.

Stereotyping Female Characters


Female characters in Frozen and Frozen II exhibit more androgynous characteristics, but that does not mean that they are free from stereotypical representations. Frozen begins with men cutting through the ice with brute force. They sing in low baritone harmonies and both their song and actions imply that the strength of men is required in the winter, and that men have dominion over the harsh season (Streiff & Dundes, 2017). The fact that Elsa has more power than any of them over the element they consider themselves experts of, is perceived negatively. Her power is framed as a thing to be feared and distrusted instead of a remarkable and empowering characteristic.

Elsa struggling to control her powers

Another female stereotype is the fact that Elsa does not learn how to wield her powers as a child. She is instructed to conceal, not feel, and is given gloves to contain her power. She is coached to prevent using her power rather than being taught how to wield it with more precision (Streiff & Dundes, 2017). A male character in a similar position would almost certainly have learned how to wield his power and gain control over it instead of learning how to avoid it. An example of this is Aquaman. In one version of his origin story, Aquaman is trained by Vulko, the Chief Advisor to the King of Atlantis, so he can unlock the full potential of his powers. Elsa on the other hand is locked in the palace with a reduced staff and permanently locked gates. Her mantra is: “be the good girl you always have to be.” Misbehaving, or even being herself, is not considered appropriate. It is better for her to conceal her true identity than to assume a position of power.

When Elsa finally comes to terms with her power in the song “Let it Go,” she erases the ideals impressed upon her by her father and becomes only accountable to herself. However, this independence is not championed by her kingdom and she is only perceived favourably again once she resumes her position as queen and becomes accountable to her people. It is also interesting to consider that in order to successfully wield her power, Elsa has to use love, a feminine stereotypical characteristic. She can only rule when her powers are sufficiently under control, or in other words, when she is “emotionally stable” and exhibiting stereotypical characteristics consistent with her sex.

In Frozen II, Anna and Elsa are awarded more independence than in the first movie. They don’t rely on male characters to show them the way or help them out of tricky situations. Instead, Anna and Elsa lean on each other for help.

But Elsa is still in conflict with the responsibilities she holds and conceals her true self and feelings from everyone, like she did in Frozen. Although she has come into her own as a monarch, her powers are treated with suspicion outside of her kingdom. Upon her arrival to the Enchanted Forest, both the Northuldran and Arendelle guards are frightened when she uses her magic to disarm them. Instead of using her skills and authority as a monarch, Elsa allows Olaf to intervene, and he diffuses the tension with comic relief.

Male characters also don’t completely trust Elsa when it comes to her powers. This is seen especially in the scene where Anna and Elsa speak to Grand Pabbie in Frozen II. He says: “I hope you’re prepared for what you’ve done, Elsa. Angry magical spirits are not for the faint of heart.” This chastising, condescending tone implies that Elsa can’t understand her own actions and that she isn’t strong enough to face the magical spirits. Later, Grand Pabbie tells Anna that he always feared Elsa was too powerful, but now, since the magical spirits are awake, he can only hope that Elsa’s powers will be enough to save the kingdom. He expresses both fear of Elsa and doubt about her capabilities in the same sentence. A male hero would likely not create the same reaction.


Female stereotypes are also reinforced through clothing. Brittney Lee, an animator for Frozen II, notes that “every bead, every sequin… reinforce[s] who [the character] is” making clothing an important aspect to consider (Bryant, 2019).

Elsa’s coronation dress vs. the “Let it Go” dress

In Frozen, Elsa’s dress starts out as very restricting: initially, she is pictured with a high, tight collar buttoned at the neck, and a heavy maroon cape, demonstrating that she is “repressed, stoic and distant. Her tight, dark clothes… mirror her personality” (Macaluso, 2016, 76, as quoted by Ruddlof, 2016). Her clothing, especially the gloves, show that she is afraid of losing control and revealing her true personality. Her hair is also tightly bound in a bun, a very formal style. As she learns to accept herself and her power later in the movie, she sheds her restrictive costume for a floor-length gown with a sheer cape, just as she sheds her previous ideals of being a “good girl” and embraces a more mature, sexualized, appearance. She dramatically lets down her hair, and transforms her dark, heavy dress into a skin-tight, sequin encrusted gown with a thigh-high slit. As she struts across the ice castle she built, her hips sway sensuously and her makeup is more obvious. Although it is clear that she is making these visual changes for herself and not for any male characters (Ruddlof, 2016) her makeover maintains the conventional belief that power is situated in physical appearance rather than from within—especially for female characters. However, through this transformation, the film gives Elsa assertive, brave, and independent characteristics typically attributed to male characters.

In Frozen II, less emphasis is placed on appearance. Anna and Elsa are represented more androgynously, both in the clothing they wear (pants!) and through their dialogue and actions. But appearance still does play a role, especially in Elsa’s dramatic makeover at the end of Frozen II.

Elsa’s dress at the end of Frozen II

At the end of the movie, she lets down her hair and is dressed in a white off-the-shoulder dress with the symbols of the four Elemental Spirits embroidered on the bodice. This final dress she wears has an even greater significance regarding gender stereotypes. The dress is white, representing her status as the Snow Queen, but since white is a colour traditionally associated with marriage, it also symbolizes that her power replaces a romantic partner in her life. She is “married” to her power. While this is meant to be a positive thing, after all, she truly understands who she is and is at one with herself, it cements the assumption that a fictional woman with great power usually cannot engage in romantic relationships.

On the surface, Frozen and Frozen II empower their female characters and present them in a new way than previously seen in Disney movies. Anna and Elsa are the main characters of the story and play a pivotal role in progressing the plot. The movie champions their sisterly bond over any romantic involvement. Anna and Elsa have progressed positively throughout the first and second movie to display traditional male characteristics along with feminine ones. They are athletic, assertive, curious, and brave, while also displaying emotion and affection. They lead rescues and are leaders of their kingdom.

However, gendered ways of acting and dressing still play a major role in their identity. Fear and doubt about Elsa’s magical abilities are prevalent, emphasis on outward appearance is championed over personal growth, and heteronormative romance often undermines Elsa’s most meaningful moments.

Frozen and Frozen II challenge gender stereotypes, but there is more emphasis placed on maintaining rather than disrupting gender narratives.

Works Cited

Bryant, T. (2019). Costume design for animated movies is ridiculously difficult. The team behind Frozen 2 explains why. Vox.

Frozen 2 – Breaking down the costumes. (2019).

Gill, I. (2016). Feminist figures or damsels in distress? The media’s gendered misrepresentation of Disney princesses. Young Scholars in Writing, 13.

Hine, B., England, D., Lopreore, K., Horgan, E., & Hartwell, L. (2018). The rise of the androgynous princess: Examining representations of gender in prince and princess characters of Disney movies released 2009-2016. Social Sciences, 7(12), 245.

Hine, B., Ivanovik, K., & England, D. (2018). From the sleeping princess to the world-saving daughter of the chief: Examining young children’s perceptions of ‘old’ versus ‘new’ Disney princess characters. Social Sciences, 7(9), 161.

Leader, C. F. (2017). Magical manes and untameable tresses: (En)coding computer-animated hair for the post-feminist Disney princess. Feminist Media Studies, 18(6), 1086-1101.

Rudloff, M. (2016). (Post)feminist paradoxes: the sensibilities of gender representation in Disney’s Frozen. Outskirts: feminisms along the edge, 35, 1-20.

Streiff, M., & Dundes, L. (2017). Frozen in time: How Disney gender-stereotypes its most powerful princesses. Social Sciences, 6(38), doi:10.3390/socsci6020038

A big thank you to Lina Lombo, Jasrita Singh, and Austin Mardon for editing/helping with this article.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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Lover of stories: the creepy, the strange, the magical. Aspiring editor and avid jazz listener (but not in a snobby way).

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  1. I loved this movie and thought both Anna and Elsa are strong and positive role models.

  2. It’s great to see animated flicks finally giving ladies their time to shine in the spotlight and show what they can bring to a story. However, what works so well for this movie isn’t just the feminist-approach, it’s more that it’s a perfect watch for anybody who bothers with this. Boy, girl, dad, mom, anybody! Good article.

    • Yes! Good point. It’s accessible while still trying to curb stereotypes

      • I have yet to meet or talk to someone who did not enjoy it, gender and age.

  3. Frozen didn’t exactly have a quest to follow, more of something to win over, and Anna was repeatedly rescued over and over again by Kristoff. This, was probably why I felt Tangled was a better movie than it when considering a feminist perpective.

    • Yes, there were so many times when Anna was rescued (and unnecessarily rescued too)

  4. As a real Disney fan since infancy, I confess that apart from the bedazzling first experience seeing it in the theater with my family, Frozen never truly wowed me like it has the rest of the world.

  5. Samantha Leersen

    I didn’t grow up watching Disney, and so I really haven’t seen many Disney films at all. For impressionable children though, I could not agree more that the entertainment they consume should be inclusive and empowering. It is good to see that films like Frozen are at least stepping in the right direction. Great article! 🙂

  6. “Since he spends a good portion of the movie pining after Anna, a behaviour almost always attributed to female characters, he flips the gender stereotyping on its head and breaks traditional gender representation barriers.”

    A number of popular music songs from the 1950s and 1960s are precisely men pining after women. I would venture that that was the main musical output of that time.

  7. OkaNaimo0819

    I don’t think the romantic subplot is damaging to Frozen II, or that it distracts from Elsa’s quest. While Elsa is more of the main focus (as opposed to Anna in Frozen), Frozen II is ultimately about how BOTH sisters mature. There are two stories here, not just Elsa’s. And the proposal at the end is a very satisfying ending to Anna’s story, especially since her sister chooses to abdicate and remain in the Forest.
    And I preferred Frozen II to Frozen anyway.

    • Good point. I think Frozen II did a better job of just letting the stories speak for themselves and relying far less on stereotypes.

  8. I thought this argument was really well articulated! I would add that Elsa being subdued as a child, and forced to conceal her true emotions also serves the role that is traditional for women – servitude and submission. I think a big part of her arc (in Frozen) was learning independence and power. Also interesting to note that all of her attackers were men when they kidnap her from the ice castle.

  9. Claudine

    I think people like Frozen because of it’s “sisterhood” aspect, and having two female characters is kind of like Disney is turning away from the idea that being awesome/badass AND a girl makes you different. It also focuses on a “relationship” that isn’t with a romantic interest, where in other stories princesses ignore their families. It’s almost like an apology for all the times a girl has been cured from something with a kiss from “Prince Charming.” Also, it’s easy for people to imagine Elsa being the antagonist, evil-step mother type and they appreciate Disney not going for that easy, simple portrayal.

    • Shirley Powell

      I’ve heard similar sentiments about Frozen being the ultimate feminist Disney movie because of the focus on the sisterhood aspect. HOWEVER those sentiments usually fail to acknowledge the isolation/sequestration of Elsa because of her power (much like the oppression of women and the stifling of women’s voices and abilities), and the fact that the plot of the movie is very much centered around Anna’s journey to get to a prince. Personally, I think Frozen is an epic feminist fail. Yay sisterhood, but the movie misses the feminist mark for me personally. I think Mulan was a way better model of feminism as far as Disney is concerned, but ppl just go straight to Frozen lately, likely due to it’s newness.

  10. Fantastic, absolutely fantastic. I’m gonna actually bookmark this because it contains a lot of good questions and info and analysis that can be applied to any movie.

  11. Kristoff is absolutely a badass. He’s like an action hero without the self-confidence, and he only lacks that because of his unbelievably tragic backstory. How many other characters could refer to almost starving to death as a child as “It was touch and go there for a while.”? He saves her life at least 3 times and is on his way to try to do it a fourth when she turns away from him. Hell he’s one of the most effective people in the movie. Almost everything he tries to do that isn’t Anna’s idea he succeeds in, the only exception being his horrible haggling with the sauna guy (heroic orphan, social skills not included).

    • Well, for me, it’s all well that you can he is badass. But for me, there has to be receipts. In the Frozen movie, he really had no true purpose, no matter how cool his character.

      So what if he has a tragic backstory? Of what purpose was it to the story? Elsa and Anna had a tragic past as well, but played a bigger role in driving the plot. A tragic backstory doesn’t make a character important, interesting maybe, but not important. And that tragic background is all speculation because they never really mentioned anything about his parents or background in the actual MOVIE.

      Kristoff saves Anna? All he did was provide the sleigh. She was able to keep the wolves at bay and she pulled him to safety when he was falling off a cliff. Please name the other instances, and provide the minute and second it occurred. Well, he did carry all the way to the castle when her heart was freezing over, so I suppose that made him important. If he hadn’t been there, she probably would’ve passed out in the troll village and the trolls would’ve either just let her die there or they would’ve had to be the ones to take her back to the castle.

  12. I think the popularity of Frozen is primarily down to the feminist undertones of the film, and it has moved a lot of people due to Elsa’s loneliness but her independent power to make something out of that where she can be happy.

    I love the fact that it is sisterly love, rather than romantic love, that saves her. Never once did Elsa need a man to save her. She ultilised her own power to create her own happy ending, and I think that suggests a huge shift in Disney into a very modern way of thinking, and Elsa acts as a role model for a lot of people, and I’d say adults as well as children, and boys as well as girls.

    • I do think that Elsa’s loneliness and isolation she feels makes her more relate-able as many people will identify with her insecurities.

  13. As an adult with no children, I feel no shame at all in declaring my love for Frozen! Loved it at the cinema when it first came out before Frozen-mania really took off. For me the reason it works so well is basically Let it Go. That song is just a perfect power ballad with a message that speaks to me and so many others. Never mind what people say or how downtrodden you feel, be yourself, be strong and don’t be held back. The animation of that sequence is gorgeous too. I must have listened to the song 30 times and still love it!

  14. As the parent of a four year old girl, I’ve seen Frozen innumerable times. I’ve taken her to the singalong show. We’ve got the dolls, the costumes etc etc. It’s brilliant.

  15. I will never forgive my friend who spoiled the Prince Hans twist halfway through the film (ok – I have forgiven her but I still resent it!)

    • It’s a crap twist though. He just goes from nice to evil somewhere behind the scenes. A good twist should be signposted a little bit so that when you see the film a second time you can see where it came from. Hans just changes because the plot requires him to be handing out blankets in one scene and to be evil in the next. It’s a bit half-assed.

      His plan also doesn’t make any sense. If our queen died, Prince Philip wouldn’t become king, her nearest living relative would. Maybe the laws of succession work differently there, but this isn’t stated. 🙂

  16. There are a lot of negative narratives that can be taken from Disney princess movies, but we should focus on the positive ones. Don’t diminish any of them, but also don’t dwell on, or have singularity of focus on them. Stereotypes shouldn’t be removed from society, they should become irrelevant through meaningful growth…not social engineering. It’s not even a fine line. I am aware this probably isn’t the popular opinion.

  17. You described these movies perfectly. Thank you!

  18. I really like the way that Disney has become more feminist, especially with frozen, as well as maleficent, where true love is not necessarily only based on romantic love but based family.

  19. My son watched it a lot a couple of years ago but has now decided he hates it. Presumably because he considers it a girls film. Some of the girls in his class also say they hate it – probably because they’re sick of all the princess shit.

    I thought it was fine the first few times. Unspectacular but passable. Now it’s been on so much I hope to god I never have to see it again.

  20. The aspect of Frozen that always irked me was the presentation of a binary set of stereotypes. Although traditional Disney-esque stereotypes are subverted, the subversion fails to consider many perspectives aside from the opposite. If Anna is not adhering to traditional stereotypes of the ‘princess’ type, then she’s presented as dramatically subverting such stereotype. Same with Elsa; the feminine is subverted by (masculine?) qualities that suggest a strong back-and-forth between identities without presenting much of a middle ground. It almost seems like Disney is trying too hard to appear progressive and empowering–Disney portrays the extremes of the feminine/masculine spectrum without portraying the multifaceted realities of the spectrum.

  21. I am starting to feel as if I am the only person who didn’t like this film, could barely watch it (only stayed because I was with my daughter) and promptly forgot about it – except a feeling of annoyance that, even after reading this article, I’m in the dark as to why it was so popular.

    • Trimble

      It wasn’t objectionable. But I think it was overhyped. Ah well, as long as it has/had a faithful audience I can see it becoming a singalonga classic to go with Rocky Horror and The Sound of Music. Sometimes these phenomena just happen, and there’s no explaining them.

  22. Shirlene

    Just watched this the other day when I ran across it on cable. One thing I’ve always liked about the movie is the look of it — the colors, the ice, the snow, the great details and patterns. Visually it’s quite beautiful.

  23. I love Frozen. I truly appreciate you being so analytical about this and giving SO MUCH proper info to back up your claims instead of just ranting your opinion like other writers and commentators do.

  24. Patricia

    A step forward for feminism in film!

  25. I look forward to seeing more of Disney’s feminist films in the future.

  26. I agree with how the Frozen movies both challenge and adhere to gender stereotypes, but at the same time, I am interested in how the idea of what a Disney princess is and how she should act has changed over time. What comes to mind as I type this is Aurora from Sleeping Beauty in contrast to Anna and Elsa.

  27. I dearly loved the sisterly relationship between Elsa and Anna.

  28. It was very satisfying for Hans to be punched off the boat by Anna.

  29. The Frozen movie franchise fails to give the female characters their own sense of control over their own fate and feel stuck within the stories have told

  30. The article is very well written and focuses well on the problematic nature of Frozen. The fact that the movie tries so hard to combat stereotypes but falls back into the same tired old plots is very telling of women roles in children’s movies and how they are failing to become more inclusive (lesbian couple cameo in Finding Dory).

  31. very interesting

  32. Great article! I didn’t enjoy Frozen II that much, but Kristoff’s characterization was a definite highlight for me. Great to see a male character not bound by toxic masculinity and in a support role while the women can have the spotlight. (I still didn’t like the romance subplot though, hah.)

  33. Sisterly, familial love of the first Frozen as well as the twist with Hans were pleasant surprises. The memes as well have survived longer than the original movie’s popularity. As far as Hans is concerned, the betrayal is sudden but subverted my expectations pleasantly. While the circumstances of actually carrying out the plan were destroyed, marrying into a successful woman’s station and taking credit for it by sidelining her falls in line with the evil male persona Disney begins to vilify.

    The article speaks of breaking stereotypes. Why not bring up Moana and Princess and the Frog? The former isn’t even based on a Western fairytale and stars a strong independent juvenile girl, the latter featuring a self-starter would-be entrepreneur who realizes that business without love or soul is dead.

    I suppose an overriding question is still going to be “Will Disney ever move on from their safe target demographic?” The traditional family friendly market can only tolerate so much progressive content before the bottom line is threatened even more than it is with other brands Disney has its grubby little paws on.

  34. I love this article. Frozen is clearly the beginning of a new era of Disney movies (though it could be argued that Tangled laid the foundation for Frozen’s success.)
    I believe Frozen was immensely popular due to the challenges it presented to the conventional Disney model. It focuses on familial love, which takes precedent over romantic love.
    However, Moana is probably my favorite of the last decade. It uses Frozen as a foundation to allow a strong, female character to take the role of the hero, and to find her own purpose beyond others’ expectations. Then, Frozen II takes what Moana has done and builds upon it. Frozen II in some ways “has its cake and eats it too” as Elsa remains the independent female lead, and while Anna also fits into this role, she is still able to have a “Disney princess” ending.
    All in all, I’m very interested in the modern era of Disney animation.

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