Disney diminishes a heroine in 4 easy steps

Ever heard of The Snow Queen? It’s a famous fairytale about a girl who rescues her brother from the powerful Snow Queen. Let’s see how Disney diminishes female power in 4 easy steps.

(1) Change the title. Once called “The Snow Queen,” the movie is now called “Frozen.” Using the same tactic as when Disney switched the title of “Rapunzel” to “Tangled” to hide the female star, it’s become extremely rare for a female to be referenced in the title of an animated movie for children.

(2) Change the story In the original story, the girl rescues her brother. Now, she rescues her sister, keeping the trope of a damsel in distress and preventing a girl from saving a boy.

(3) Create a male co-star Just as Flynn Ryder’s role was expanded to equal Rapunzel’s in “Tangled,” Disney invented Kristoff, a mountain man, to share the screen with the heroine.

(4) Don’t let females dominate posters or previews The first preview has no Snow Queen and no females at all. Its a funny bit between two male characters.

The early poster, tellingly, is a shadow of a female figure who you can barely see.

frozen

You know what really creeps me out? Thousands of years ago, conquering armies smashed the idols of their victims and stole their stories, an extremely effective tactic to destroy a community and steal its power. Christians did this to pagans, but of course, this act is all over history. Just like the goddess morphed into the Virgin, girls are going missing under the guise of celebration. Right now, in 2013, Disney is stealing and sanitizing stories. It’s an annihilation. How long before we all forget the original story? Will our children ever hear it?

When I blogged about the sexist comments made by the head animator of “Frozen”– that female characters need to be pretty, and it’s hard to make two angry ones look different from each other– Nebbie comments:

Two female hero characters is not difficult, it’s only difficult if you’re using one basic type of female character.

They also could’ve made the sidekick reindeer, Sven female instead of male. Making the reindeer character female could bring in another type of female character in the movie. Most sidekick characters in Disney Princess movies, and other Disney movies for that matter, are male and having a female sidekick character would be change of pace for the company. The female characters who aren’t villains don’t all have to be pretty, sensitive, or passive.

Making the reindeer female would also make for an interesting female animal character. Human female characters are lacking in fictional media, but female animal characters are even more lacking in fictional media.

Making the reindeer female would also make him more accurate to the species because male reindeer begin to grow antlers in February and shed their antlers in November whereas female reindeer begin to grow antlers in May and keep their antlers until they shed them next May. The movie takes place in the winter months, so Sven should’ve been female.

The sidekick snowman, Olaf could’ve also been female-gendered. In other words, there would be a “snowoman” or “snowlady” instead.

 

Think Nebbie is off her rocker for suggesting so many female characters in “Frozen?” Look what Feminist Fangirl writes about the original story:

 

There is the Snow Queen herself, a formidable villain who’s power is treated with respect. There is Kai’s grandmother, who provides an essential catalyst to Gerda’s journey. There is the old witch woman with the enchanted garden who functions as a threshold guardian for Gerda while being characterized in a respectful manner that serves as a good subversion of the old witch trope. There is a female crow who knows how to sneak into palaces, a helpful princess who heads a side plot in which she will only marry a prince as intelligent as her (!!!), a robber and her daughter, head of a band of robbers who kidnap Gerda. The daughter is a spunky, knife wielding girl who befriends Gerda and aids her on her way. And finally, there are two women, the latter of whom helps Gerda understand the inherent power she has always had within her, a power that will ultimately save her friend, and the world.

 

I got that link from Fem it Up! who, like Feminist Fangirl, is boycotting the movie. I will most likely see “Frozen” as I want to know, first hand, exactly what happens to this story. Also, you know what really sucks? I have 3 young daughters, and this movie probably shows more of a heroine than most of the rest in 2013. If you doubt me, check out Reel Girl’s Gallery of Girls Gone Missing From Children’s Movies in 2013. Which is why, I suppose, Disney believes we all have nothing to complain and ought to be happy with these crumbs of feminism for our kids.

 

63 thoughts on “Disney diminishes a heroine in 4 easy steps

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  2. ” You know what really creeps me out? Thousands of years ago, conquering armies smashed the idols of their victims and stole their stories, an extremely effective tactic to destroy a community and steal its power. Christians did this to pagans, but of course, this act is all over history. ”

    Christmas was combined with a Pagan celebration marking the return of light and the lengthening of days and the return of warmth . The Christmas Tree is Pagan ,
    Other such Pagan rites were incorporated into Christian narratives to appeal to them and promoted Christianity .

    Christians few in number in Pagan Europe, tried to appeal to Pagans.
    It was the Barbarians after all that conquered Rome and the Barbarians who became Europe .

  3. Hey there Margot,

    Thanks for having this blog I’ve been feeling alone for a long time.. That no one understands why this is a world of hypocrisy. A man says he loves a woman but he couldn’t care less about the fact that everyday when she needs to speak she is obliged to speak in a language that is so ancient and sexist (English is better than most. But all those that have the stems of nouns and verbs in male form and to turn it into female we have to add a prefix or a suffix… As if all life is first male). That applies to almost every other aspect of life. Even the word “man” which used to just mean “person” has been occupied by the males since they are obviously the first representatives of humanity along with the biologically impossible belief that the male was there before the female. Why this is the essence of hypocrisy, well because despite the fact that a boy told a girl with all his heart that he loved her, the initiative to let women vote was female. What saddens is not the past, and not so much the present but mainly the future. Because in my eyes the future looks exactly like the past and present; where “creature” means male even before you get the chance to investigate it’s real sex. Luckily we still have “it” that in our minds remains just something and not something male.

    I read the comments and it is very heart-breaking. Even if a man that says he loves a woman not just with his penis, he wouldn’t care that “she” is only an extension of a “he” in this world. He wouldn’t lift a finger to change it. But well, I don’t mind that, laziness always wins in a battle of temptations. I do mind the fact that he argues. Argues that things are fine and “women are not dying”, so what’s the problem? (Not a direct reference to the comments but to what my BF thinks). And he argues against any point we raise. But when he goes to bed he loves his girl or woman or other female. He gets annoyed that we pinpoint and pick at life; well yes almost every aspect of life, especially any media related aspect of life, is a mirror to the status of women in the mind of men (and unfortunately women as well).
    What I’m trying to say is that if you care, a female that cares, or a male that cares, then you have to care for the future. The present is broken, it’s over, it’s done. And the future will only be the way we shape it now. That’s why the media in our lives is such a key ambassador for our cultural development. And this touches my heart because it directly addresses that young age in which we still believe innocently that we are equal. And I take your arguments further and say that just the fact that the “snowman” (which does not mean “snowmale” but “snowhoman”; too bad males have concurred that word) which is supposed to appear sexless (as the first commentor noted in a counter argument) he still has a male’s distinctive voice. Because we are grown and bread to know that “thing” is male. Imagine for a second a world where “thing” means “it” and putting on “thing” a make voice feels unnatural just as it would if the “snowman” had a female voice.

    I love your blog because you seem to look at the bigger picture like me(:
    But you have a mistake. Kai is not Gerda’s brother. They are friends. That’s quite a big mistake because there is a difference between saving a family member and saving an unrelated loved one, at least in “movie” and “disney story” terms.

  4. 1) Disney change the name of most of the movies they produce, often last minute and frequently for marketing reasons. To think that people have sexist motivations behind this change is a bit paranoid. It shows that you have little understanding of the pressures of bringing an animated movie to the market place.

    2) Having an additional female character is not a bad thing, Neither for the marketing gurus nor the feminist naysayers, additional doll sales buffer up remarkably well with the Bechdel test (It has to have at least two women in it,who talk to each other, about something besides a man.) The female characters in this are great role models for little girls.

    3) Kristof fails. Its a deliberate subversion of what we would expect he is not the act of true love that saves the princess she is her own act. She is literally self-actualising and self-liberating.

    4) You can’t even tell they are male in the previews. Does a snow”man” even have a gender? From a marketing perspective you lead with your funniest bit, they are the comic relief i bet lion king’s trailer had a large epic opening shot, a short cute bit a long timone and pumba joke and then a wrap up. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sj1MT05lAA OMG seriously I’ve not seen that for over 10 years and did NOT back track or change I swear. It’s just marketing by numbers and like i said i think you might be ignorant of this side of the creative process.)

    5) MY TURN: Men are shown to be evil, a woman is in charge of the country at the end of it all girls are portrayed as physically strong and morally robust.

    The film is as feminist as it can be without being propaganda. The motivation of the filmmakers was to make money not to pander to your beliefs.

    I’ll leave it there.

    A warning perhaps to not perpetually view life through a single lens.

    • Hi Adam,

      (1) Paranoid? Actually, no. Ed Catmull gave an interview to the LA Times where he explained exactly why he changed the title of Rapunzel to Tangled:

      “This time, Disney is taking measures to ensure that doesn’t happen again. The studio renamed its next animated film with the girl-centric name “Rapunzel” to the less gender-specific “Tangled.”

      The makeover of “Rapunzel” is more than cosmetic. Disney can ill afford a moniker that alienates half the potential audience, young boys, who are needed to make an expensive family film a success.

      “We did not want to be put in a box,” said Ed Catmull, president of Pixar and Disney Animation Studios, explaining the reason for the name change. “Some people might assume it’s a fairy tale for girls when it’s not. We make movies to be appreciated and loved by everybody.”

      You can read my whole post on it here http://reelgirl.com/2010/03/rapunzel/

      One of the things that struck me about this interview is how upfront Catmull is, he said all this with no shame whatsoever where as its perfectly fine to have titles with male characters.

      (2) Of course having an additional female character is not bad, we could use A LOT more female characters. What is bad is that the female no longer gets to rescue the male.

      (3) Agree about Kristof failing. In the actual movie, not the marketing, both princess and Queen are strong characters.

      (4) You can’t tell they are male? Watch animation much? Does a snowman have a gender? There is the term snowman. Ever heard of a snowwoman? Would you notice is someone said that? Everything is gendered in kids media, whether its a car, plane, fish, or robot. AS fas as it just being a short, cute bit, it is rare to have a preview with no glance at the protagonist.

      (5) AS I wrote in number 3, the women are strong, you can read my review of the actual movie on Reel girl

      Margot

  5. Margot, I have huge admiration for the grace with which you respond to challenge and the consistency of your arguments. It is so pleasant to read an online debate like this without it getting silly or nasty. Thank you!

    • Thanks Genocides. So many people got mad at me for what I was writing about Goldie Blox, but I think it’s really important to publicly debate these issues, not stay silent about them.

      Margot

  6. I completely agree about the title and marketing but that is distinct from the film. The film isn’t worse, or even bad, because of its marketing. I agree it’s an important point and it annoys me but it’s unfair to take it out on the film for a decision made separately and independently.

    Other than that, the Snow Queen is one of the sisters so nobody gets “rescued”. If you saw it you might find that it is more empowering than you think. And I don’t mean that in a passive agressive way, I mean the promo just isn’t accurate to what the film is. That is indeed a problem.

    Oh and that’s a detail but the film happens in the summer months, so the reindeer doesn’t have to be female. Not that i believe they double checked that but it’s an important point in the story, that the winter is an accident caused by the Queen.

    I think it may not be as feminist as you want it to be or as the original tale was but it is one more step in the right direction.
    And will our kids ever hear the real tale? Well go on, read it to them. My mom did. We don’t need Disney to be the sole education for kids.

    • Hi Dai,

      Marketing is super important, especially in kidworld. Everyone sees the marketing. Even if you don’t go to the movie, you see the posters, the ads, the toys, the clothing and on and on. So often, a powerful female is shrouded in sexist marketing. Look what Disney tried to do o Merida. Look at makeovers for Dora and Strawberry Shortcake. I did see the movie. I blogged about it, look it up please. I would argue that Elsa was recused by Anna, though I just read in either Time or Newsweek, taht the Snow Queen was “recused by a snowman.” WTF? But there you have it again, the story and then how people talk about the story. I really liked the movie, except for the look of Elsa and Anna. Disney is not the sole education but it is very powerful and its model is replicated over and over again. It’s impossible to avoid, even if you dont go to the movies.

      Margot

  7. Dear fellow feminists, let’s not lose our sense of perspective and humour. There are so many other things in life to worry about. Messing with some stories is creative licence and very post modern. Don’t sweat the small stuff, don’t mis-direct your energy and see misogynistic demons everywhere. I’m looking forward to taking my fairy princess pink obsessed 5 yr old girl to see the new Disney movie. I will continue to set a positive strong and confident female role model for her, provide her with ample opportunities to deconstruct the context around her, let her explore life and all its richness and contradictions and simply let her decide who she wants to be. It can only make her stronger as an individual to give her a well rounded popular culture experience on top of an excellent education. So let’s not rant, infiltrate the system, influence, take power and be the change. And please maintain perspective and positivity. Male or female, human beings hate to be castigated and embarrassed. Don’t make enemies when you can be more effective by be-friending, negotiating and ultimately convincing through sound logic and argument x

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  11. I just wanted to let you know that I quoted this blog post in an honest-to-goodness academic article. Okay, it’s more of a creative non-fiction essay/feminist theory about narrative, but still. I thought you should know: you are awesome. And thanks for making creative connections–your point about conquering armies destroying communities by destroying their stories (I know you didn’t say by burning their libraries, but that’s what came to mind as well) was so haunting that I couldn’t get it out of my mind while I was writing. For me that particular observation inspired the connection between feminism and my argument about narrative transmography. So thank you. Here’s the link to my article: http://adanewmedia.org/2013/11/issue3-dreadful/

    • Hi Jilly Dreadful,

      I feel so validated, academia! YAY. I’m serious, I come from a family of full of academic types. I’m thrilled that my post inspired you. That sentence you’re talking about it is one of the most satisfying i’ve written– after blogs and blogs of trying to articulate the obvious/ invisible paradox of missing females– and I don’t quite understand why more academics aren’t quoting me : ) Thank you for your comment and I love your post as well.

      Margot

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  14. So just a small correction there, in the original tale “The Snow Queen”, Gerda and Kai aren’t siblings, they’re friends.

  15. Oh, I almost forgot! In previous posts, you wished that Dinsey’s “Tangled” changed the “damsel in distress” part from the classic story in order to fit modern (or maybe we should say feminist) standards. So, is it right to change classic fairy tales to make it more feminist in 2010s, but it wasn’t right for Christians in 312 After Christ, at the dawn of obscure Middle Ages, to do the same thing with pagan cultures? You need some historical perspective. Bigotry can be found everywhere, even in Feminism, which is a pure and simple political movement like any other, made by imperfect human beings.

    • Hi Andrea,

      Yes, it is good and necessary to adapt stories. What is not OK is the systemic oppression of the stories where women are powerful. If an ancient story has a powerful woman, it is often suppressed, and then modern adaptations (Tintin, Lord of the Rings, stories about Pirates or French chefs, or any historically male dominated field) leave women out because they are “historically accurate. What is common is a manufactured justification for the annihilation of females in 2013.

      Margot

      • Thanks for your civil answers. Even if I don’t agree with you at 100%, especially about male dominated media, maybe because most of the animated series Italian children watched in my childhood years (late 90s and the first years of 2000s) were all female-oriented shows (prominently Japanese cartoons dubbed in italian, Italy has never been a pioneer in animation, you know), but this hasn’t changed the “gender inequality thought” in my country. So I think that media influence plays a very little part in the development of one’s personality, maybe it’s more complicated than what we think. Anyway, I appreciate what you’re doing, it’s a great and right work. Saluti dall’Italia! (tr: Greetings from Italy!)
        P.S. I read other previous posts. If your young daughters are searching for a good girl-power book, may I suggest you “Nobody’s girl” by Hector Malot (The original title is french: “En famille”), one of my favorite book as a child. It’s considered a classic of children’s literature in Europe, and it’s really a beautiful book from XIX century, a ture masterpiece, or at least in my humble opinion. Ciao!

      • Exactly which ancient story is Lord of the Rings adapted from? Moreover, when did Tolkien ever claim it was “historically accurate”?

    • WOW do you sound like a freaking IDIOT. No it wasn’t right for Christianity to slaughter and kill people, take their myths and idols, forcibly change them and kill the history of the people who wanted not to convert to christianity. NOW, we live in 2013 and we have a severe problem of representation for girls and women. If all you saw were “niggers” shifting around like house slaves over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again, you’d wonder WHY THE HELL can’t any of the ‘genius” at Disney think up anything different than the same fucking stereotype over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.

    • Of course, there is one massive the glaring flaw in your argument: what the christians were trying to do was to completely erase Pagan culture – they tried to change the whole of religion to stamp it out. The feminists here are trying to PRESERVE a cultural tale, stopping an original story being altered. Using your idiom, the Christians are playing the part of the Disney, not the feminists. So in answer to your original question – yes, it is ok for the feminists to preserve myths that speak of strong women, AND it wasn’t ok for the Christians to try and wipe out the pagans. Very simple to understand :)

      • Hi Pan Demonium,

        Huh? “The feminists here are trying to PRESERVE a cultural tale, stopping an original story being altered.” The consistency is that stories are altered to conceal female power.

        Margot

  16. Hi! I’m an Italian young man, so I apologize if my english is not well. I just wanted to tell you something. I was navigating in the Web, searching for news about Disney’s upcoming new movie “Frozen” (In italian it was titled “Il Regno di ghiaccio”, which means The Ice Kingdom”) and I came upon this blog. I read your posts and I don’t want to discuss about the sexist innuendo of the movie (which also bothers me, because “The Snow Queen” was one of my favorite fairy tale as a child, and Andersen is one of my favorite writer as well), but what really makes me furious was your painfully offensive remark about Christians. Offensive for anyone who knows History. You wrote “Christians do it to pagans”, referring to stealing their stories and killing their culture. Maybe you ignore the fact that Pagans for three centuries had persecuted Christians and blamed them for like anything wrong in the world (I know that Christians did the same when they gained power, but I think we should condem any form of bigotry, right?), that Christian monks had preserved pagan culture (which also means their stories) from the Barbarian invasions and it is mainly thanks to them if we can read today Virgil, Homer, Lucan, Ovid, Caesar and many others (they saved even atheists works like “De rerum natura” by Lucrece which condems religion, according with Epicureanism, a philosphy cult he followed). And about the idea of “goddess morphed into the Virgin”, have you ever heard of Artemis or Diana, the Virgin huntress? Virginity in women was stressed even before Christianity. Pagans (Romans or Greeks) weren’t so enlightened about women as you suggest in this post. I know Christians had burned witches and heretics and they did many other disgusting things, but they also did many good things. Humans can be good or bad, and they can be the latter even if they follow a religion about love and tolerance.

    • Hi Andrea,

      I agree with you! That is what I blogged about, this act of taking over stories has gone on throughout history. Christians are not the evil ones and pagans the good ones. It’s happened again and again and again. The Greek myths is a great example, you can actually see in the stories the patriarchy taking over. My point is that its easy to look back in history and be appalled at what people did, but the same thing is happening right now. Females are going missing from stories. Females don’t get to be heroes and we are letting it happen.

      Margot

    • WOW. You sound like someone who needs a history lesson. Christians are the most violent bigoted people in the world, second only to Islam. Christianity has killed and raped more people on this planet than all other causes of DEATH combined. From the inquisition all teh way to raping children, you people really take the effing cake. Can’t you imagine a world where people didn’t kill one another because of fighting about their imaginary friend in the sky? I am NOT a Christian, and I was not raised in any religion whatsoever. What I can tell you, is that you people all make me sick to my stomach. You are for the most part, hate filled ignorant people who specialize in shame, degradation and murder of the human spirit. I see no morals in Christianity, no integrity, nothing but theft, murder and rape of the soul. Name any act of goodness you Christians or your Christian church have done. Now think about this next part: WHY COULDN’T YOU HAVE DONE THAT GOOD ON YOUR OWN SIMPLY BECAUSE IT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO, AND FOR NO OTHER REASON? Otherwise, you so called “Christians” need to own your shit. Christianity is filled with murder and abuse of people, and I for one feel you own the entire world and apology for your ridiculous beliefs and behaviors.

      • Wow. You know not all Christians are evil. Done just twist God’s word to justify their actions.
        I don’t think that you have any right to group all Christians together.
        I’m am apostolic Christian, and i know of no apostolic who condones murder, rape, or any other “bigotry”.
        By you grouping all denominations, you are proving how blind and disrespectful you are.
        And about you saying we never do anything just out of the goodness of our hearts, that is not true. I don’t have to give to missionaries, or witness, or help those in need, or smile at those who look like they need it. I don’t have to do anything. But i do things because i know God’s compassion, and should return all the love to the world and i should be an example of Christ.

        Think about the different groups of christianity before you speak harshly.

        • And what I’m saying is add up all the rape murder and slavery in christianity and it IS fair to lump you all together and what I’m saying is you should be able to do all those nice things you listed WITHOUT EVER knowing god. You should simply do it because it’s right, not because you ever went to church or read a book.

          • Its sad you think that way. Without church, i wouldn’t have standar ds. Its the way of world, neither of us can do anything about it. We both know what is right, and we should both try to be kind.
            But you talk about being good, and yet you basically prosecute Christians for done of our mistakes.
            I’m not saywe’re perfect because we have faith, I’m just saying not all of us are the same.
            Some people claim to be Christians, but don’t know right from wrong.
            Its a matter of the heart, not religion.

  17. Uh… Aren’t Cinderella, Little MerMAID, Snow White, Sleeping BEAUTY, and BEAUTY and the Beast referring to a female character? So therefore you are wrong saying that there is no movies that have the female character in the title.
    True that this has somewhat diminished recently, but they change things to put a twist on it. Like Tangled, the title is changed so you know that it’s not going to be the basic prince rescues princess story. That it’s not going to be like the original. You don’t understand that.
    And the whole “Don’t let females dominate posters or previews” is not totally true,
    Why are you hating on Disney? They make these movies to please young children, not over dramatic feminists.
    You seem to enjoy blowing things out of proportions. You’re making all females look like huge complainers about every little thing. Why don’t you pop a bag of pop corn and enjoy the movie??
    Just relax. Not everything you see on the TV is sexist.

    • Hi Desi,

      I didn’t write no movies have females in the title, I write that it is extremely rare.

      From Reel Girl’s Gallery: “In 2013 Of the 21 movie posters for young kids pictured below, only 4 appear to feature a female protagonist; 16 seem to feature a male protagonist and 10 are named for that male star. In one case, “Peabody and Mr. Sherman,” the movie is titled for its 2 male protagonists”

      As far as previews, females go missing completely from the first and the Snow Queen is hardly in the second. Don’t worry, I don’t just hate on Disney, I have numerous other on the sexism in previews Watch sexist previews, here’s a link with 3 http://reelgirl.com/2013/08/when-the-worst-thing-we-say-to-a-boy-is-he-throws-like-a-girl-we-teach-boys-to-disrespect-the-feminine-and-disrespect-women/

      Unfortunately, children’s media is really sexist. Girls get sidelined, stereotypes, and go missing all together. I don’t enjoy it at all.

      Margot

  18. That’s true… Disney version replaces several times the original story. What about the Hunchback of Notre Dame ? I remember back in the 80’s-90’s that I argued with one of my friends about the Little Mermaid. She believed hard as a rock that Disney version was the “real” version and that the mermaid didn’t die and transform into foam at the end of the story after renoncing killing her prince.

    This annihilation for the purpose of adaptation to young audience is just a crime against culture. The Snow Queen was so mesmerizing by itself, it’s a pity.

    I’d love to see a animated version of East of the Moon and West of the Sun for instance but I’m scared to the bone at the same time of what it would turn out.

  19. Here’s an awesome comment by one of the WOMAN animators who worked on Frozen:

    “As a woman who worked on this film and knows it inside and out, I would suggest that people actually go see it before making false assumptions about supposed “chauvinist” storylines and complain about lack of dimension in the female characters. It is a fantastic film with a strong, appealing heroine, so please hold your judgement and hissy fits until you actually know what you are complaining about.”

    http://www.cartoonbrew.com/disney/frozen-head-of-animation-says-animating-women-is-really-really-difficult-89467.html

    I suggest you read some of the other comments by people who have actually animated before and know what they’re talking about. They’re quite enlightening.

    • Here’s another great comment by an animator (who I assume worked on Frozen) about Lino:

      “If any you commentators knew Lino, you wouldn’t be so quick to judge him so harshly. Had you worked on this film, or any other film with difficult rigs then you would know exactly what he was talking
      about, and how difficult it is to work with such complex and delicate
      characters. It was easy to throw them off model. It’s that simple….he was talking in animation terms. There are plenty of reasons to dog Disney as a corporation, but this isn’t one of them.

      This guy cares more about the characters in this film more than most of you will care about anything in your entire careers. He inspired and fought hard for the animators on his team and I hate to see the animation community vilify a man that hasn’t done anything but work his ass off to make something to be proud of. He just rolled off a long and exhausting production and this is a simple statement taken completely out of context…..give him a break. Go see the bloody movie and THEN form an opinion about him.”

      • Hi Animator,

        A lot of animators work hard and care about their films and make great movies. “Ratatouille” is a great movie and it follows a sexist pattern as well. We’re sick of female characters being marginalized. It’s a pattern that has gone on too long, and its limiting a new generation of kids.

        Margot

    • Hi Animator,

      I do plan on seeing the movie, but a comment by a female doesn’t change the facts that the story and its title have been changed to diminish the role of the heroine. His comments are sexist. Male characters don’t have to look pretty and male characters come in all shapes and sizes and male characters tend to be evaluated on their actions more than their appearnance.

      Margot

  20. Regarding the animating dudebro who can only draw one kind of female, why does he even have the job? I spend my days illustrating and I can tell you for a fact, if you can draw, you can draw. That includes animals, people and objects. What happens is we end up ‘preferring’ to draw some things over others, but isn’t that the same in any paid gig? Doesn’t mean we get to pike out on doing the job properly.

    I wonder if he has on his CV, or slipped into his job interview, Oh by the way, I can only draw one kind of woman, hope you’re all good with that.

    This is what happens when so few women get the art/animation contracts. They make stuff that appeals to boys, then they wonder why women don’t see ourselves as part of them.

  21. “When I blogged about the sexist comments made by the head animator of “Frozen”– that females characters need to be pretty, and it’s hard to make two angry ones look different from each other”

    Uhh… you seem to be taking a lot of liberties with what the guy said. Here’s what he actually said with no paraphrasing:

    “Historically speaking, animating female characters are really, really difficult, because they have to go through these range of emotions, but you have to keep them pretty and they’re very sensitive to — you can get them off a model very quickly. So, having a film with two hero female characters was really tough, and having them both in the scene and look very different if they’re echoing the same expression; that Elsa looking angry looks different from Anna being angry.”

    None of this is untrue. And you’d know it too if you had ever animated before. If you animate two similar looking characters, it’s hard to animate them in the same scene and have them act like unique characters instead of moving exactly the same.

    Regarding the “looking pretty” part, what he’s essentially saying is that if a very appealing looking character say… freaks out and gets angry, it’s a challenge to animate it and not go off-model (ie the character doesn’t look like the character anymore) or look unappealing.

    THAT is what he is saying. There’s nothing “sexist” about this comment. He’s merely commenting on technical issues that have been with animators since the earliest days. There’s nothing wrong with that and you’re freaking out over something completely innocent.

  22. The comment of the head animator reminds of some guides teaching to draw female characters in comic, saying that female characters have all the same shape
    http://eschergirls.tumblr.com/post/19423881064/thats-christopher-hart-teaching-us-how-to-draw
    “With male comic characters, you can mold their bodies into many different shapes, producing a wide range of cool characters. It’s not so easy with women. Women in comics are, by and large, attractive—even the villains. Especially the villains! The Voluptuous Vixen and the Villainess are much more attractive in cutting-edge comics. So, you have less latitude in altering the body. You can’t draw brutish women or you’ll lose the attractiveness. Therefore, the changes rely less on the body types and more on the pose, costume and attitude.”
    And, of course, they have to be always beautiful and sexy
    http://ratcreature.livejournal.com/175099.html
    I haven’t read The Snow Queen, but there are several stories from the spanish folklore (and some of them are similar to other stories from other european countries) where the hero (or protagonist, not all the stories have a “hero”) of the story is a woman. And I don’t mean “she is a princess and she has a love story”. I mean that she tricks the ogre and saves her boyfriend, or she tricks the demon and gets what she wants, or she is a “good witch” and combats an “evil witch” to save somebody. There are powerful beings, heroines and villainesses, werewolves, sirens, faeries… As a matter of fact, traditional folklore is much more feminist than the more famous versions from Perrault or the Grimm brothers.

  23. I agree with pretty much everything you brought up, however in the case of Tangled didn’t the story always involve a prince coming to help Rapunzel? I don’t really see how Flynn was added, he just replaced an already existing male.

  24. They should have kept the title as The Snow Queen. If they had or wanted to change the title, they could have changed it to Anna, after the main female protagonist. Historically, Disney actually had female protagonists in their titles of some of their movies.

    For Female Protagonist(s):
    1) Cinderella (1950)
    2) Alice in Wonderland (1951)
    3) Sleeping Beauty (1959)
    4) The Little Mermaid (1989)
    5) Pocahontas (1995)
    6) Mulan (1998)

    For Female Protagonist(s) and Male Protagonists(s):
    1) Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs (1937)
    2) Lady and The Tramp (1955)
    3) Beauty and The Beast (1991)
    4) Lilo and Stitch (2002)
    5) The Princess and The Frog (2009)

    • Hi Nebbie,

      Yes, occasionally a female makes it into a title. It is a rare event. Try making a list of all the movies for children with a male in the title. Check out Reel Girl’s Gallery of Girls Gone Missing From Children’s Movies in 2013 to see the stats for this year.

      Margot

      • It’s amazing that there is even 11 out of 53 Disney Animated Canon movies that have a female character in the title. So, here are the movies that have just a male protagonist or protagonists in the title.

        For a Male Protagonist(s):
        1) Pinocchio (1940)
        2) Dumbo (1941)
        3) Bambi (1942)
        4) The Three Caballeros (1945)
        5) The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)
        6) Peter Pan (1953)
        7) Robin Hood (1973)
        8) The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977)
        9) The Fox ad The Hound (1981)
        10) The Great Mouse Detective (1986)
        11) Oliver and Company (1988)
        12) Aladdin (1992)
        13) The Lion King (1994)
        14) The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
        15) Hercules (1997)
        16) Tarzan (1999)
        17) The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)
        18) Brother Bear (2003), albeit indirectly
        19) Chicken Little (2005)
        20) Bolt (2008)
        21) Winnie The Pooh (2011)
        22) Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

        • It’s great you’re making a list. I think other studios are as bad as Disney. For 2013, from my Gallery post: “Of the 21 movie posters for young kids pictured below, only 4 appear to feature a female protagonist; 16 seem to feature a male protagonist and 10 are named for that male star. In one case, “Peabody and Mr. Sherman,” the movie is titled for its 2 male protagonists.”

  25. Seriously ? I saw this preview a while back and literally said out loud WTF is that movie even about? (Ok probably not F because my son was in the room). I had no idea it was The Snow Queen until I read this . That’s really unbelievable. The addition of the mountain man character is what bothers me most. She can’t do it herself, she needs a man to help her. Ugh. To be honest though my first reaction to this post was “Thank god I don’t have daughters.” And then I had to walk that back and remind myself that I still need to raise sons who view women as whole , equal people . Damn. This is my problem too .

  26. Would you recommend a specific book version of the story for our kids, so that we can keep the story alive? I found online the retelling by Naomi Lewis, but don’t know if that’s a good version. Thanks!

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