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The Meanings Behind Elsa

***WARNING: DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED Frozen. Though I don’t know how you haven’t seen it yet. SPOILERS AHEAD. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK***

Frozen is my absolute favorite Disney movie of all time currently after Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast. So, obviously, I’m going to be talking about the movie’s main(ish) character Elsa and some of the hidden meanings behind her terribly well developed character (millions of points for you Disney, you go Disney).

Now one thing that I noticed about Elsa was the fact that she was dressed in very dark colors in the beginning of the movie; black, purple, and a dark/navy blue. Some people think that her attire is such because she is a royal and the queen. Well yes, purple was indeed a colour associated with royalty, for example, among the Ancient Greeks and also they don’t call it royal blue for no reason. But the main reason that Elsa is dressed in such dark colours is because it reflects the emotions she holds internally due to the roller coaster of a life she has lived.

Elsa is a character that has faced many hardships throughout her years of being a princess:

  1. she nearly killed her little sister Anna with her powers unintentionally
  2. she ceased her relationship with Anna because of the incident
  3. as she grew older, her powers only became stronger and scared her
  4. she didn’t know how to control her powers (which is why she was scared)
  5. she had to hide herself from the world because of her powers and the fear of people thinking that she is a monster as well as hurting them unintentionally
  6. her parents died and she had no one to comfort her/ mourn with (mostly because she isolated herself because of the reasons above)
  7. she suddenly faced the stress of becoming queen and having to hide her powers from her entire kingdom even more than ever before

This is where we get into the absolute depth that Disney created within Elsa (you geniuses, God bless y’all at Disney). They combined all of the stress, heartache, remorse, anguish, loneliness and fear into a simple girl and managed to create a character that is the embodiment of anxiety and depression. After doing a little bit of research on types of depression and their symptoms, I’ve concluded (though I might be wrong, just saying) Elsa may have suffered from Dysthymia (a.k.a Chronic Depression).

Here are some parallels between the symptoms and Elsa:

  • Sadness or depressed mood most of the day or almost every day –> Elsa is seen in her room all the time without a smile on her face and hardly makes any attempts to try and have any sort of fun.
  • Loss of enjoyment in things that were once pleasurable –> Elsa’s powers used to make her feel happy because they provided her and Anna with fun but now all she does is fear them because, as previously stated, she has no idea how to control them and the only choice she has is to hide them from the world before she does something by accident and ends up harming someone at a greater scale than what happened to Anna years prior.
  • Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness or excessive guilt almost every day –> After the incident with Anna when they were young, Elsa regrets her powers and feels the remorse of almost killing her sister. Not only that, but Elsa (in the beginning) knows that she has no idea how to control her powers, giving her a sense of defeat because of her lack of stability and I personally believe that as a royal, one should be able to know themselves and be able to adapt to certain situations based on that due to many of the experiences that royalty face when compared to the average citizen. Elsa couldn’t do that. She wasn’t able to learn adapt to anything because she couldn’t even learn to adapt to herself. Finally, because of the fact that she can be a harm to society and possibly be an outcast because of her differences, Elsa knows that she will never truly be accepted into her kingdom, therefore making her, in a sense, a worthless member of society.

Elsa, even though she is a member of the Disney community, is a perfect example for a person being impacted by the effects of depression and anxiety. From personal experience, I know that both of these mental issues are terribly serious pertaining to my personal generation, impacting teenagers and young adults in ways that they never used to in the past. With the creation of Elsa, I feel that Disney has done absolute wonders by incorporating these characteristics into a princess that overcomes her problems and becomes the queen she truly is.

7 Wacky Frozen Theories

Disney’s “Frozen” is the studio’s biggest hit since “Toy Story 3” and is about to hit the list of the top-25 highest-grossing films of all time. (It’s taken in $360 million in the US already.) But is it just a heartwarming parable of sisterhood with knockout songs, or does it have a deeper meaning? Here are seven theories of what “Frozen” is really all about.

Puberty

“‘Frozen’ uses the idea of magic powers as a metaphor for coming of age, a time when feelings are raw, unpredictable, terrifying and new,” writes Britt Hayes at ScreenCrush. Elsa, the sister with the magical power to whip up a snowstorm, has been told to conceal her supernatural ability from everyone, but “the more she suppresses it, the worse it comes out . . . All of this is, again, merely allegory for a young woman’s coming of age — the inexplicable new feelings and our sudden appeal to the opposite sex, both of which could be described as having ‘powers.’ ‘Frozen’ is a (much, much) gentler version of ‘Carrie.’ ”

Coming out

“Is Elsa gay? I think there’s certainly a valid queer reading to be found in the film,” says Devin Faraci at Badass Digest. “It isn’t like she has a girlfriend — or any romance at all — but the idea that she was born different (it’s explicitly specified that she was born this way, not cursed) and that her difference makes her not a ‘good girl’ (a phrase repeated) lends itself to that interpretation.”

“Teems with gay themes,” agrees R. Kurt Osenlund at Slant magazine. “Disney’s gayest animated movie yet,” says Eric Diaz at Topless Robotmovie, who adds, “Queen Elsa’s big number, the Oscar-nominated ‘Let It Go,’ is pretty much the gay kid’s coming-out anthem for a generation. Seriously, expect a whole gaggle of musical-theater kids to belt this number out in audition after audition . . . for like, the next 30 years.”

 

Christianity

Frozen “might be the most Christian movie I have seen this year,” opines Collin Garbarino, assistant history professor at Houston Baptist University, at “Elsa has broken relationships, and she has guilt, and she pushes people away — and her sister is sort of like a Christ figure who pursues her. Anna comes and pursues, and when she pursues her, she has to die. And then she’s resurrected, which kind of proves the strength of her love, and it brings reconciliation, and Elsa is saved because her sister dies.”

Garbarino also compares the movie to Dante’s “Inferno” (noting that the bottom of hell is ice, not fire, in the Italian classic) and gave an interview about Christian themes in “Frozen.” Meanwhile, adds Nancy French at Rare.us, “Frozen uses Anna’s quick engagement to demonstrate exactly what is wrong with the ubiquitous ‘listen to your heart’ advice found in traditional Disney movies . . . While ‘don’t follow your heart’ lunchboxes might not sell well at Walmart, it’s actually a biblical principle.

“Proverbs 4:23 tells us to ‘guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.’”

“Jeremiah 17:9 tells us ‘The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?’ ”

 

Slut power

During Elsa’s big number “Let It Go,” “I looked over at my partner in the theater and audibly gasped,” writes Elizabeth Wallace at Redbook. Elsa loosens “her blond hair as if in precoital pounce. Her regal coronation outfit (long gown with long black sleeves — stunning and stately) morphs into a snowflake of a dress: a Tiffany Blue, tight-fitting gown with a long slit in the skirt, dramatically highlighting what appears to be her 18-inch waist sandwiched between perfect perky breasts and womanly hips . . . Elsa has transitioned seamlessly from a girl literally hiding her power under gloves, to a bare-shouldered vixen proudly broadcasting all of her nubile assets . . . It’s no accident that the movie conflates the way Elsa embraces her magical powers with her transformation into a hyperfeminized object. I’m all for sexual power, but does that need to be telegraphed with a skintight, slit dress that highlights unrealistic waist sizes, and t - ts and hips that seem to exist primarily on a Victoria’s Secret runway or after a trip to the cosmetic surgeon?”

Climate Change

“Subtle references to contemporary fears and issues establish ‘Frozen’ as a definitive snapshot of the current global climate debates,” writes University of Texas student Coleman Tharpe at EnergyAtTheMovies.com. “Prince Hans represents small island nations threatened by rising seas struggling for a voice in climate-change debates. The Duke of Weselton symbolizes economically developed nations struggling to retain global leadership in the face of rapidly shifting energy markets. Queen Elsa and her chilling powers personify the worst-case scenarios of severe climate change. And, like the real world, the high-stakes negotiations are tinged with some misunderstandings, suspicion, corruption, and the risk of failure.”

A blogger at the Bay Area film site StandByForMindControl.com chimes in, “In case you missed it, the message here is CLIMATE CHANGE IS BAD. In Disney-land this can be corrected through love (and cap & trade) and loyalty and strong female characters, like perhaps Hillary Clinton? The latter I am wholly in favor of, unless we’re actually talking about Hillary Clinton.”

 

Sexism

“Frozen” “is based on a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale in which a girl rescues her male friend, but the film writers changed the story to make main character Anna need a man’s help,” complains Bitch magazine. “On top of that, the film’s head animator said that it was hard to animate two female characters in the same scene because they both had to look pretty. Also Anna looks really similar to Rapunzel from ‘Tangled,’ showcasing once again Disney’s lack of diversity around race and beauty.”

Noting that Anna’s eyes are bigger than her wrists, Slate’s Amanda Marcotte says at that the movie is all about “signaling to the audience that an inherent part of being female is to be as small and diminutive as possible, and impossibly so . . . [‘Frozen’ is] sending the troubling message that to be lovable, it’s best to take up almost no space at all. Shrink your bones down, if you can.”

Racism

Angry bloggers at the This Could Have Been Frozen site at Tumblr complain that Disney can’t stop making movies about white girls. Moreover, Scandinavian Sami people are upset that their ethnicity isn’t acknowledged in the movie.

“There are a lot of us (Sami) who don’t like it. A lot (A LOT) of Sami have spoken out about the bad job it did representing us,” writes another Tumblr poster that Kristoff is never called Sami in the movie.  “Also, not all of us are white. Yeah, a lot of us are, but [People of Color] Sami need better representation, and at our roots Sami weren’t white . . . Sami aren’t really seen as ‘proper’ white by a lot of sh - - ty bigoted people.”

Also, the trolls are “awkwardly kind of racist,” writes Deborah Pless.

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