Do you want to build a snowman or a castle or your self esteem?
Queen Elsa and Princess Anna sang their way into our hearts, making Frozen a part of history as a Disney masterpiece. But is Frozen just a movie about two sisters and a living snowman?
Undoubtedly, it is way more than that !
Frozen operates on the premise of Elsa having magical power of turning anything she touches into ice. The movie establishes that she is ‘different’. Not knowing how to handle her powers, she injures her younger sister Anna – almost killing her. Their parents decide that Elsa’s powers are too dangerous and keep her in isolation most of her life – until she has to come out to take on the throne after her parent’s death.
Elsa spent all of her childhood in isolation. She always believed she was punished because of her powers. She was taught to be scared and fearful of it. Everyone told her she is different – not special. When a child is told that she is different, and something is wrong with her, she will internalize the notion that she is indeed different and wrong. This impacts the child’s self-esteem and establishes fear and shame of being themselves.
Instances such as shutting Elsa in her room, making her put on the gloves can be extracted as metaphorical representations of inducing fear and shame upon her. It is similar to shaming people for sharing too much or shutting them down. Anna drifting apart from Elsa because of the isolation signifies how fear and shame can isolate you from not just the world but your close ones as well, and eventually it isolates you from your true potential.
As this story progressed further, we saw Elsa fearing herself and Anna longing for love. One small action somehow affected these girls who used to be happy and lively.
Elsa’s powers are portrayed as dangerous or ‘too powerful’. If we compare it to our non-Disney world, it is quite similar as being told you are ‘too opinionated’ or ‘too vocal’ or ‘different’. The society runs on conformity and despises anyone who is different, and labels them as abnormal. Society is like a manipulative and controlling partner who won’t let you do anything they don’t like. And like Elsa, you become abnormal and your powers too, become too dangerous.
Low self-esteem and negative self concept comes as a result of negative experiences. If Elsa was told to accept her powers instead of fearing it, she would have probably grown up to be a super-confident woman. Instead she grew in shame and fear, and then she found herself needing to unlearn all the lessons of fear and shame taught to her. ‘Let it go’ is an iconic song. And it is not just iconic because of the lyrics and music but also because of its beautiful meaning. With this song, Elsa finally unlearns and accepts herself. She tells the world that her powers are her strength, not her weakness. She builds her own castle and then dresses up like the queen she is. And immortalizes her snowman. After that, she is absolutely unstoppable.
Frozen depicts with great conviction how childhood experiences are essential for children to grow up as confident adults. It shows that the fear and shame associated with being different is merely there to stop you from achieving your royal potential.
So, why don’t we let it go and start building our castle? Or a snowman? Or whatever we want!