I don’t actually remember what my favorite Disney princess was. But I remember loving watching all Disney princesses movies. Growing up, I was a big fan of The Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, Mulan, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin. I loved singing to “A Whole New World” from Aladdin. I loved dressing up as Jasmine, Aurora, and Belle.
Disney princesses were a great part of my childhood. And, if I am being very honest, of my teenagehood too. I was already thirteen when the first Frozen movie came out. And I loved it. So when the sequel came out, I had to watch it. I first watched Frozen 2 as a college student. The movie theater was full of younger girls. Elsa and Anna were for them what Ariel, Belle, Aurora, Mulan, and so many others were for me. These princesses (and, spoiler alert, queens) are a great part of many girls’ childhood. They are important symbols of girlhood, they are inspirations for girls. But it was only after I watched the movie again recently that I started thinking about some of the aspects of the story. What does this movie actually say about us? What does it say about girls? How has the depiction of girls in Disney princesses movies changed since I was younger?
In Frozen 2, the two main girl characters are Elsa and Anna. They are two sisters who spent years apart and are now learning to be with each other again. Like in the first movie, the main focus in Frozen 2 is the relationship between the sisters. Both of them are going through their own personal journeys while trying to protect and support each other.
After coming to terms with her magic in the original Frozen, Elsa is now finding herself. She is trying to discover why she is how she is. My personal favorite song of the movie is “Show Yourself.” It is such an emotional moment. And my favorite part of it is when it says “You are the one you’ve been waiting for… all of your life.” This song has so much meaning to Elsa’s character arc. Elsa needed a little help from Ahtohallan, but she ultimately found herself within herself. And this shows girls that they have answers too.
Anna does not have as many questions about herself. For me, it seems like she knows who she is and who she stands for. She is, however, trying to find her place. How can she support her sister? How does she fit in her sister’s magic journey? In the end, she does find her place. Her place is helping her people and being queen of Arendelle while supporting her sister. Another interesting point in her story is Kristoff. Unlike in other Disney princess movies, he is not the main point of her story. She has so much more going on, but she still finds love in him. This shows that girls can, indeed, find love if that is what they wish, but that there is so much more to them.
Elsa’s and Anna’s stories fascinate me because of the change they represent in Disney princess movies. A recent change in Disney princesses. Growing up, I saw princesses falling in love or being saved by a prince. Now, movies focus more on the princesses themselves, on their personal journey, instead of a journey that focused on them finding love. The newest princess movies represent what girlhood has always been like but what most earlier movies failed to represent.
Girl Museum Inc.