July282014

Frozen - Sexism, Racism, Ableism

hijackspace:

Okay.

I saw a post arguing why Frozen is sexist, racist and ableist. It was slammed down by the fandom because in all honesty, the arguments were not solid.

Rather than respond to a gigantic damn post, I decided to erect a new one. So here are some alternate arguments as to why elements of sexism, racism, and ableism are unequivocally present in this oscar-winning, smash hit film.

This will be long. And if you want to conflate level-headed, comprehensive critique of media with “hate,” then please skip this. <3

1. Sexism

I would not focus too heavily on the forced romance between Kristoff and Anna specifically. Rather, I would draw attention to the pattern of Anna’s behavior and the consequences she experiences (or just completely skirts) from it.

Every decision she makes on her own results in utter disaster. Every decision is ill-informed, unadvised, and ends terribly, yet this is a character applauded for her independent decisions. Apparently the actual demonstration of efficacy is unnecessary to win the title of “feminist character.”

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So wait.

I get all these criticisms, and see a degree of validity in each. But the one I’m struggling with is how Anna making bad decisions is apparently sexist.

Are you saying you want a character who’s great at everything forever and always makes the right choice? For her emotional state and level of worldly experience- pity’s sake, she’s been locked in a castle all her life -Anna acts in a realistic manner. She’s never been given a reason not to let her emotions rule her; her emotions say “get to Elsa as soon as possible,” so she she makes Kristoff leave when they’re both tired and the light is bad. Yes, it’s a terrible decision, but real people make terrible decisions sometimes.

I’d rather have a female character who behaves realistically, even if that means doing things that make the audience bang their heads against the wall, than yet another unrealistically hyper-competent Amazon with no emotional depth. Never making mistakes does not equal a strong female character. Filmmakers often assume that what women mean when we want  better female characters is someone two-dimensional but really good at swordfighting. Sure, competence is wonderful, but when it’s shoehorned into a character for whom it doesn’t make sense…that’s just as bad as the traditional simpering princess. Both characters reduce women to tropes instead of representing us as real people.

Real people fuck up. Real people sometimes demonstrate a lack of concern for others. And if that real person is a princess who’s spent her entire life in a castle with no human contact besides her parents, a few servants, and occasionally her very distant sister, then yes, she’s going to basically fail at life for a while. We’re talking about a girl willing to get engaged to the first handsome, charming man she meets. Anna’s heart is in the right place, but naive does not even begin to cover it.

Again, some points of the critique I agree with, but that one kind of bothered me.

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