Disney has always captured people of all ages with its stories. The music is happy and to me, well, magical. But in all Disney movies, there seems to be one thing in common—princesses all need a Prince to survive. Ariel literally morphs herself so a man will love her. Sleeping Beauty and Snow White can only live if a Prince kisses them. Even Mulan, a strong independent soldier who risks her life impersonating a man, ends up with the dazzling savior.
Two of Disney’s newest movies, Frozen and Brave, are finally catching onto something. There is no need for the focus on “True Love” for a fairytale to be successful. Girls can be strong without the help of the Prince. Brave is all about independence and coming of age, and while there is love, there is no romance. Frozen has also caught onto the trend: it has both the love and romance, but the romance does not control the story—or the girls.
Frozen tells the story of two sisters, Anna and Elsa, who rule a beautiful Scandinavian landscape. Elsa conceals herself from the public because of her inability to control her power to freeze anything that comes across her path. Things go horribly wrong and Elsa ends up freezing the entire land. (I’m not going to say much more because if you haven’t seen it, you need to.) It’s funny, it’s silly, it’s climactic, and the music is wonderful. But the most important part of Frozen is its focus on sisterhood and relationships between two women.
Between Brave and Frozen, it seems that Disney is getting it. While stories of romance are nice, audiences do enjoy something more. There is now a shift, a focus on a different type of love: Brave and Frozen are stories that depict strength and love between oneself and one’s family, and not just a general focus on a significant other. Could this finally be the end of the depiction of weak women in children’s films? The impact both Frozen and Brave have on young audiences is significant—they grow up with these movies, this is what they learn, this is what they choose to watch over and over. When the girls are strong, brave, and independent, it creates a completely different—and better—image at a young age.
By: Becca Kranz