The Representation Test: Frozen
Frozen, written and directed by Jennifer Lee, is a Disney movie about a fictional pair of sisters named Elsa and Anna. In a movie focused on the two sisters, Elsa has the unique ability to control the winter (snow, ice, etc) where Anna is kept in the dark about her sister’s powers. When Elsa loses control of her powers and is forced to flee the castle, Anna is the one who steps up to search out her sister and resolve the conflict.
Looking at the Representation Test, I was optimistic for this movie. We have two leading female roles that break some of the normal stereotypes. I had a strong feeling that this movie could pass the test with flying colors. But to my surprise, the movie didn’t achieve as high of a score as I thought it would. I mean sure it ended up with an A but I expected a lot more from a movie in which the two main characters are female protagonists.
First of all, Frozen received two points for the main protagonists being females. These points were the obvious ones and why I decided to pick the movie. We have Anna who is determined to help her sister control her powers in order to save her from self-induced exile. And then we have Elsa who is trying to save her castle from the eternal winter that she created. The next point comes from the fact that neither woman is just an object of the male gaze. Although we do see that Anna is interested in a guy and has another one that is interested in her, the story itself avoids the concept of making the sisters just objects for the men to look at. The final part of the women section of the representation test is that the movie successfully passes the Bechdel Test. These protagonists have many conversations that concern more than just a man, which gives it another point.
Relating to men, this movie does nothing to glorify the violent behaviors of men in any way. There is an evil man who attempts to get rid of the sisters in order to take over their castle but he is the villain and is not glorified in the slightest. The next point comes from the restraint of idealizing men who have the “perfect body”. The glorification of the perfect body for a male is something that can create a lack of self-confidence in men which Disney does a good job avoiding.
The remaining points come from the fact that this film was written and directed by a woman named Jennifer Lee. Also, the movie itself does nothing to promote offensive racial, ethnic, and cultural stereotypes.
Overall the movie did all right on the Representation Test. A score of 8 is much lower than I anticipated however. I do see this test as a little too harsh on movies though. A movie such as Frozen is doing great things promoting feminine strength and the breaking out of the normal princess stereotype. Even the ending where Anna gets saved by a hug from her sister rather than prince charming is another example of how this movie truly breaks the “norm” for female roles. And yet, this movie only gets a B on this test. I think that these kinds of tests are a great idea however to achieve that sought after A is nearly impossible.