Statistics show females comprise a larger share of moviegoers than males, so why in 2012 did women comprise only 9% of directors and 15% of film writers in the top 250 grossing films. When it comes to directing and writing it should only be the size of one’s imagination that matters not whether she or he is female or male. In 2013, Jennifer Lee inspired the world with her film Frozen; in doing so, she successfully made Frozen, the most progressive Disney movie ever.
What girl hasn’t wanted to be a Disney princess? However, the ‘Princess syndrome’ is a harmful disorder and its preposterous name deflects from its disconcerting condition to influence and manifest in the minds of young impressionable girls. Psychologists have began to only just touch the tip of the iceberg in truly understanding how damaging, misleading, and in some cases even disturbing Disney films can be to children.
The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast are two cases where submissive representations of females set very poor examples for young girls. Ariel and Belle are smart and refreshingly independent female protagonists; that is, until they enter into relationships with their male lovers, fall head-over-heels into stereotypically dutiful gender roles and lose themselves along the way. For example, Ariel is expected to give up her voice, change her life and physical form for Eric. Disney’s gender stereotyping has become a flawed template for how men, women and romance are supposed to be in modern perceptions; the gender discrimination and stereotyping goes both ways.
Frozen is the first movie to portray women as protagonists who are clumsy, awkward and honest, whilst Kristoff is a wonderful example of what a masculine, 21st century man should be like. He spends the movie surrounded by strong women, yet he is not intimidated or cowed by them.
Elsa’s self-empowerment and acceptance to be on her own when her powers are eventually discovered sends the message that ‘if she is good enough for herself, that’s all that really, matters’. This is something Disney has never done before, as all the characters who have been voluntarily solitary have almost always been villains, not heroes. Everyone’s reaction to Anna’s foolish engagement, is essentially Disney tackling the painfully problematic trope it has created by making fun of itself for its previous poor plot choices. Although we are a long way off, the progressive elements of this film are clearly what have made it so popular.