Damsel, Not Distressing: Anna

PRINCESS ANNA

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Book/Series/Movie: Frozen

So picture this:

You grew up in the palace with your loving parents and big sister, Elsa. She was your hero and confidant. The two of you spent practically all of your time together. You don’t remember what happened to cause it, but one day Elsa was just gone. From that point forward, she spent all of her time in her room while you dragged yourself around the castle, wishing you could go back to that former life, the one where you still had your best friend.

Then one day, after the passing of your parents, your sister has to take over the kingdom. And there she is, standing within feet of you for the first time in forever. You’re excited to be around her – seriously, it’s been years – but her initial acceptance of you fades as she throws up barriers around herself to reinforce that distance between you two.

Then suddenly everything goes haywire as Elsa seemingly loses her mind, starts an eternal winter, and flees from the kingdom.

But what are you going to do about it? You’re “just Anna.”

This is the real turning point in Anna’s story, the one that flips her from Wimpering Princess to Damsel in Control. Without so much as a second thought, she heads out into the frozen wasteland that her sister created. She knows what has to be done: Elsa must be found, consoled, brought back, and the curse has to be broken. The first two are her priorities, which says a lot about her character. See, she cares…and does so with her whole heart. That could be seen as a weakness, absolutely, but it’s what makes Anna so strong. The love she felt for her sister (despite all the years of rejection) drives her straight up to the Snow Queen’s door. It’s worth noting that she doesn’t do it alone. Yes, Anna does find help along the way, but love interest Kristoff is more like the sidekick than savior.

What I really appreciated about this film was that we are so accustomed to true love curing all, but Frozen took it to a whole new level. Most of us were pretty convinced that Kristoff was the one who was meant to save Anna. Disney pulled the rug out from beneath us, though, when we found out that the “damsel” actually saved herself through a dying heroic act that was born of true love.

How’s that for a plot twist?

I do hope this is a trend we will continue to see in future Disney films. In as much as I do love classics, this new breed of strong female characters is exactly what our daughters need to see. Every time I’m at the grocery store and see a little girl go skipping past in her Elsa dress or Anna cape, I want to give them a high-five. Rock on, kids. It’s time for us girls start saving ourselves.

xo – Meli

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