Tag Archives: Frozen

The Frozen backlash

In May I posted about how the movie Frozen all but took over our elementary school’s arts festival. Girls were singing songs from Frozen left and right. These songs tap into deep, deep issues that girls face. “Do You Want to Build a Snowman,” one of the favorites, speaks to troubles in girl friendships. And “Let it Go” speaks to a central conflict for girls: when we have powerful feelings, we’re always asked to hold them in, but . . . maybe we don’t have to!

Here are a couple lyrics from “Let it Go”:

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
Well, now they know

Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door…

Let it go, let it go.
And I’ll rise like the break of dawn.
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone
Here I stand, in the light of day.

Let the storm rage on!
The cold never bothered me anyway…

And here’s a link to the singalong youtube video.

Girls started singing this song all over the place — at the park, at home, at school . . .

. . . but there’s a backlash.

Yesterday I went to the Boys & Girls Club to pick up my kids from childcare, and I noticed a little sign. You know how at workplaces they often have signs saying how long it’s been without an industrial accident? It’s meant to encourage good behavior and stop people from getting hurt. Well, this sign said:

“Number of days without singing a song from Frozen.”

I burst out laughing.

Based on my experiences at home, here’s what I think happened: Girls started singing the song alone or in groups. Boys got annoyed. They started singing mutilated versions of the song. Everyone got louder. There were tears, maybe an exchange of blows. It turned into an all-out singing war. Something had to be done!

And since the song was the problem, it was the song that had to be stopped!

At home we have chosen a slightly different solution. There is a time and a place for singing songs from Frozen, and more often than not, it’s when the girl and the boy are in different rooms. When the girl and I burst spontaneously into song and the boy gets mad or sings a mutilated version, we do sing over him, but after the song is done we move on to another activity. When the girl tries to sing the song and the boy sabotages it and the girl ends up in tears, I weather the storm and then afterward we discuss it together.

So I know that putting up a sign is not the only response to the problem. Here’s hoping the camp counselors, and the rest of the grownup world, will figure out how to handle the backlash . . .

. . . without shutting up the girls.

The Frozen arts festival

Yesterday our elementary school had a fantastic arts festival. It happens every year — volunteers work hard to put it on. Art gallery, craft and activity tables, bake sale, lemonade, performance stage. Kids sign up for song, spoken word, instrument — whatever they think they want to do. This year, right about half of the songs were from Frozen.

If you missed it, go see it, rent it, watch youtube videos of the songs, or whatever you’re up for. I love it. It’s the anti-Disney-princess Disney princess musical. I mean it takes all the horrible tropes of fairy tales and subverts them. Prince and princess who fall in love and get married and live happily after? In one glorious song, they head toward that ending, and then the song is over and the whole thing turns out to be a con. And by the way, men pick their noses. The kiss of true love? Not what everybody expected. (Oh, and did I mention, it turns Hans Christian Anderson’s Snow Queen upside down too?)

Anyhow, the story isn’t about a prince and princess. It’s about a princess and her sister. Passes the Bechdel test with flying colors. It’s going to influence an entire generation of girls, but even more than that, so are the songs. My daughter and I have all but memorized “Let it Go” and “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” — and it’s those two songs that made an appearance at the festival.

Couple lyrics from “Let it Go”:

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
Well, now they know

Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door

I don’t care
What they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on,
The cold never bothered me anyway

Here’s a link to the singalong youtube video.

This taps in to something so deep: the expectation that girls hold in all their feelings and act like perfect little goody-goodies, and the passion that’s let loose if we decide to throw it all to the wind. I feel it myself and that’s why I keep singing it. 

Anyhow, it was performed three times at the arts festival.

“Do You Want to Build a Snowman” must also tap into something deep, because it was also performed three times. In it, a little girl keeps knocking on the door of her moody teenage sister asking her to come out and play. Maybe it’s about girl friendships generally.

Here’s a link to the singalong video.

A bonus, and not from Frozen, was a performance of “Brave.”

Say what you wanna say

And let the words fall out

Honestly, I wanna see you be brave

This was especially cool because I am so conditioned to hearing sappy love songs that I always thought it was “I wanna see you tonight!” But nope, like “Let it Go,” it’s a song about letting out what we think and feel.

Anyhow, it was a great arts festival all around, and . . .

girl power!