I saw this pop up last night on Twitter. The hashtag #GiveElsaAGirlfriend was trending, with posts from either side of the “debate”. I thought about it and figured I’d have my say and continue with what seems to be a bit of a Disney theme as of late.
Does Elsa need a girlfriend? Excuse my French, but Fuck, no. I seriously got a lot of rage about this. It seems wherever there is a thing, there are people moaning that it doesn’t represent their specific circumstances.
Let’s look at Elsa. Elsa (from Disney’s Frozen, if there’s anyone in the world who doesn’t know that) is the Snow Queen. The original story is based on the fairytale by Hans Christian Anderson. Disney’s angle on the ending (SPOILERS!) is that the “act of true love” needed to “thaw a frozen heart” was the sisters looking out for one another. That was the “true love”. Elsa’s sister, Anna, found romantic love in the form of Kristoff (and the cutest dog/reindeer ever, Sven) but Elsa ended the film without romantic love.
Here’s my issue. Why can’t we just leave it there? Why can’t Elsa’s story be that she doesn’t “need” romantic love? People whine and whine about princesses and “true love” and “needing to be saved” and all of that, but as soon as a princess ends a film without a ring on her finger, people pull the “she must be a lezzer” card. As soon as a character is a strong, independent woman people pull out the “she must be gay” stereotype.
Should Disney represent real life? Well, to a point I agree that yes, it should. It’s great that there are characters of many different races and cultures. It’s great that there are blonde haired princesses, red haired princesses, black haired princesses and brunette princesses too. It’s great that princesses especially have moved forward from “wears pretty dress, married prince” to the badasses that they often are now. I mean Elsa makes a castle out of ice and snow. You guys, A CASTLE! Out of ICE and SNOW?! But I think we also need to remember that these are fairytales and not real life.
People say “oh but X group needs to be represented” and whilst I agree to some extent, on the flip side I really don’t. It would be impossible for Disney to represent everyone, and like I said in my previous Princess related post, I like to think I can pick out a bit of myself in every Disney Princess and in many other Disney characters too. My favourite as a child was Ariel. Is that because I’m a mermaid? Or a redhead? Or fell head over heels in love with someone I met once? Or because I sold my voice to a sea witch in exchange for legs? Obviously not. About the only thing I have in common with Ariel on a base level is that we’re both white! There isn’t a Disney character that 100% represents me, but do I feel let down or upset by that? Did I spend my childhood wishing for a curly haired princess “just like me”? Nope.
Yes, it would be nice if in the future Disney had a gay character and in the future they likely will, but do I feel that Eden needs a gay character to “normalise” her family? Do we need a “token gay”? No. I think that’s mine and Amy’s job to teach as her parents, not Disney’s. We won’t just be sitting around expecting her to learn from Disney films. We’ll be going outside and learning about what a big, colourful, diverse world we live in.
I just think Frozen was such a success and it’s such fun to speculate. Some people thoroughly do believe that Elsa is gay, good for them. But why should she be gay and not, for example, asexual or bisexual? Are her powers a disability? Let’s write a film about that so that disabled kids don’t feel alienated. Disney can’t ever represent everything. It’s up to us to teach kids that whatever and whoever they are, they’re just as “normal” as everyone else. To make them proud of who they are and give them the confidence to be whoever they want to be. No amount of TV or movies can teach that – that’s up to us as parents and caregivers. Although I guess a gay character would help out the parents I’ve come across on discussion boards this morning who have voiced their objections starting with “I’m not homophobic but…” Yeah ok…
So, to those campaigning to #GiveElsaAGirlfriend, I say LET IT GO!
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Well said!!!! 😉 x
Agreed. I also get annoyed when a movie has two male characters who are friends and people immediately start assuming they’re gay. Straight guys can be friends with other straight guys! (I’d love to see more gay characters overall, but that particular trope about masculinity bugs me.)
This argument is constant. Growing up in would hear “why doesn’t this show have black characters.” As you wrote it is not TV’s responsibility to teach our children. TV cannot always represent what we each go through and it’s absurd to want it to do that.
I haven’t seen Frozen ( I know, I must be the only parent of young children in the world who is able to say that!) but I agree with you that this idea seems pretty tokenistic, which my spellchecker doesn’t think is a word
I think I just discoevered the last person in the world who hasn’t seen Frozen! It’s a great film 🙂
I tried putting it on for the boy, but at the time he didn’t have the attention span for films. My daughter is 2, so I’m sure it won’t be long! 🙂
I think that you make excellent points and I love how you say we should be teaching our kids about this kind of stuff, rather than Disney or TV doing it. Because it’s true, we are the ones who need to educate our kids.
However, I do also think that it would be amazing to have a gay Disney character. Especially since it is something that hasn’t been represented before. If that’s how Disney choose to portray Elsa, then I certainly won’t be mad. Would I prefer it in another character though? Yeah, probably. I feel like if they are going to do it, it needs to be part of the character from the very start. I don’t think it’s something that should be revealed in the second movie. That is a HUGE part of a character and for it not to be mentioned before this would be a bit like she was hiding it or it wasn’t important. And I don’t think that sends the right message. In saying that, and I guess I’m going to contradict myself here, but it shouldn’t be a ‘big reveal’. Why do gay people have to announce they are gay, when straight people don’t have to? Which brings me back to the point that although I would love to see a gay Disney character, perhaps it would be better if it wasn’t Elsa. I think they should make another one, and have that set in stone from the beginning. No big reveal. No secrets of hiding. Just that she meets a girl and falls in love, exactly like she would if she met a guy. Or hell, even have the main character as a prince who meets a guy. Either would be great!
I guess the one great thing about this talk about Elsa is that it shows Disney is getting more diverse as a company and accepting that not everyone is interested in the opposite sex. I think that’s amazing. Xx
This is my point entirely. If they want to introduce a brand new character who just happens to be gay, I’d be totally in support of that. But I wouldn’t want it to be an existing character. I don’t get why they can’t just leave Elsa be. And totally agree about “announcing” as well. The family members who hadn’t figured out Amy and I were a couple figured it out when u sent a wedding invite… No big announcement needed
I must have missed this as I am completely oblivious to the whole thing which, as you point out so well, is a complete nonsense. Straight, gay or bi, it doesn’t matter. If Elsa wants to grow up a-sexual and live with lots of cats who cares. Why is everyone obsessed with the romantic, is it so ridiculous that you might have a happily ever after without it?
EXACTLY! As you can see, the idea made me a bit ragey. I hate “token”-ism
I wrote a uni assignment on Disney, the trouble is exactly as you pointed out, they can never represent every single person in the world. You can pull apart every single Disney film, domestic abuse, sexism, slavery, miss representation, racism so on and so forth.
Poor Disney and their childhood fantasys.
I think half the issue is how we look at it as adults. A child doesn’t look at it the same way and I think sometimes people forget that. Children tend to take things on face value.
I saw this trending and wondered what it was all about! Well done on the bang on trend post! 😀 I don’t really think of Elsa as anything really. It had never occurred to me to think of her as gay but then neither had I imagined her with a man, the story was never about that, as you pointed out. Also, they already have Oaken and his family. I think it would be better if they brought in more gay characters throughout their films, rather then keep them all in one place. If that makes sense?! 🙂 Thanks for linking up. #bigpinklink
I’m back again from #passthesauce! You’ll be sick of me soon! 😀
This is an absolutely brilliant post! Well said! Disney is just about making entertaining movies…and that’s it. The responsibility of educating our children lies with us. Of course, Disney tries to be inclusive as possible but the world is so diverse, you will always have a group who will feel left out. I actually enjoyed Frozen precisely because it was about sibling love, instead of the usual Prince Charming ones. Thanks for sharing with #PasstheSauce
Thanks for reading 🙂 I agree that the onus is on us as parents to educate. Something like Disney is just part of the equation
Yes but people tend to forget that as parents, you are the MAJOR influence on your child. Thanks again for linking up! I am so glad you did and I found a new blog to love and stalk!
This is a great post. I think it was actually a good thing that Elsa didn’t have a romantic partner – the message of the film was that a woman doesn’t need saving. Regardless of whether she’s gay, straight or inbetween, she’s independent and sorts her own problems out. Surely that’s not a message many people can complain about!
Thanks for linking up to #BloggerClubUK 🙂
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I nodded along with your post here – you make a lot of really great points! I thought part of the reason people praised Frozen was because it’s different & didn’t have a Prince or Princess come in to save the day for Elsa. And I agree Disney can’t & shouldn’t try to represent all groups in its films. But, I do think it’d be nice to have a character in the future who is gay. Thanks so much for joining us at #bloggerclubuk x
I’m with you! My first thought when I heard about this movement, was “Yeah! Why couldn’t/shouldn’t Elsa have a girlfriend?” But my very next thought was, “Better yet, why not no love interest at all?” I loved that about Frozen, that Elsa didn’t fall in love at the end, or that they didn’t even allude to her having a romantic interest. She’s got bigger things to deal with, after all!