2nd May 2017

The Empowerment of Women and Positive Social Evolution in Disney’s “Frozen”

Anyone with children or grandchildren under 12 years will know of “Frozen” and has probably joked about being driven insane by that song! What is often not understood is that the film may be one of the most powerful indicator of the positive social evolution over the past generation to come through mass media in the last decade. In our time of uncertainty and change, in which the “voices of doom” are loud and domineering, it is good to recognize that the underlying message we are giving to our children is so positive.

Two generations ago, the Disney Princess was singing “Someday my prince will come” while doing the housework for seven male dwarves. Now, as I watched my 3 ½ year old granddaughter stamp her foot and spread her arms singing “Here I stand, and here I stay” and the rest of “Let It Go!” with such joyful energy I realised that a whole generation of young girls is receiving a massively powerful message of self-affirmation and liberation that was unthinkable just a few decades ago. And that is happening not just here but around the globe! 

The empowerment of women is now well established as a marker of social evolution, so who knows what positive impact this change will mean as those young girls become adults, leaders and parents in the years to come?

Now, let’s look at that song – “Let It Go!”. In its three-and-a-half minutes this Disney song incorporates the whole of the human being’s spiritual journey! It moves from ‘socially-conditioned consciousness’, where we are trying to be what we think others want us to be, who we “should” be; 

“Don't let them in, don't let them see. Be the good girl you always have to be. Conceal, don't feel, don't let them know …”

 – through to ‘self-actualisation’; 

“I don't care what they're going to say … It's funny how some distance makes everything seem small, and the fears that once controlled me can't get to me at all. It's time to see what I can do, to test the limits and break through. No right, no wrong, no rules for me, I'm free! … Here I stand, and here I’ll stay! … That perfect girl is gone …” 

– to ‘universal consciousness’, the experience of universal unity;

“I am one with the wind and sky … My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around … And I’ll rise like the break of dawn …”

Not bad for a three-minute song, eh? The song has a focus on individual evolution – what are its implications at the social level?

And underneath these aspects of the story are other markers of positive evolution.

  • Hero’s journey for girls: Many successful films – e.g. the original Star Wars trilogy, Gladiator – are structured according to Joseph Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey” (see, for example, . Princess Elsa’s journey exemplifies this more clearly than any previous Disney female hero. No longer the reserve of the male, Frozen is one of an increasing number of films that follow this archetype with female heroes.
  • Subversion of the prince archetype: The ‘Prince’ – Hans – in Frozen is the baddy. Even the good male figure – Kristoff – is unable to provide the act of true love to save the day …
  • Sisters do it for themselves: It is Anna, Elsa’s sister, who provides the act of true love that saves the protagonists and the community – who needs princes these days, anyway?
The Empowerment of Women and Positive Social Evolution in Disney’s “Frozen”

The Empowerment of Women and Positive Social Evolution in Disney’s “Frozen”

Posted by Jefferson Cann

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