It’s Halloween in 2014. For girls in my neighborhood this is known as “Dress up like Elsa Day.”
According to this report published on CBS8.com, “Frozen” Halloween costumes were the “hottest” this year. According to this info pic published on the Huffington Post, my home state of New Jersey led the Frozen charge. Having just gotten back from my children’s Halloween parade I can confirm the accuracy of these reports. The classes were marching at 50% Frozen this year (as was I, having forgotten to wear a proper winter coat).
Amid this flurry of Frozen exuberance, I have also noticed a related, countervailing trend. No one who is not a girl under age 9 can say “Elsa” without an obligatory eyeroll and a weary sigh.
When, we wonder, are they going to Let it Go?
To cope with this Frozen Fatigue, social media has generated a solution in the form of a drinking game. Each time you see a little blonde in frosted blue tonight, Drink!
As someone who tried unsuccessfully to give her daughter an Elsa doll for her sixth birthday last June, I understand some of the Elsa hate. After hours of fruitless searching, handfuls of my own (dyed) blonde hair were on the floor as I clicked on and purchased: the Elsa juice glass, the Elsa dinner plate, and the Elsa silverware set (i.e. all the Frozen merchandise available at the time).
As a result, I spent more money on Frozen stuff than I would have if the doll had been available. Worse still, I only managed to fuel my daughter’s desire for the real Elsa doll which, not surprisingly, remained out of stock. I was reminded of this fact at each Frozen themed mealtime when my daughter (who admittedly did love the Frozen tableware) wondered why Disney managed to make enough Elsa juice glasses but ran out of Elsa dolls.
I wasn’t ready to explain the chilling truth. We were being manipulated!
In the months that followed, I continued to be compelled by the perception that Frozen items were “scarce” despite their obvious ubiquity. I purchased Frozen napkins, Frozen stickers, and the Frozen movie in many different formats. Then finally, finally I bought the Elsa doll herself when she suddenly was made available (and in great abundance) everywhere.
Still not convinced that there could ever be enough Elsa to go around, I secured a deluxe Elsa Halloween costume for my daughter in August, by hiring a friend to make one.
Now of course it is clear that my worry was unfounded. The girl who was once so “hard to get” is available at all times and for all people. We have all the Elsa we could possibly want. So why do we resent her? Why don’t we want our girls to want to be Elsa?
The anti-Elsa movement is probably inspired by contempt for the Disney franchise itself, contempt which is understandable. As described above, the Disney corporation is more adept at creating demand for its product than meeting that demand. Plus, thanks to its so-called “FAST PLAY” DVDs, countless years of the average parent’s life have been sucked away in the vain attempt to get to the feature presentation without watching 30 minutes of previews.
No, I don’t love Disney. But I do appreciate Elsa. Of the available cartoon role models, she is a pretty awesome one. She is cold and misunderstood, yes. And she almost kills her sister and everybody when she loses her temper etc. But unlike the other princesses, Elsa is independent, loving, and willing to change. And, as has been harped upon repeatedly, Elsa is not focused on finding her Prince.
I think there is a little more to the Elsa hate though. This comes from reluctance in adults to see our kids wanting to be like everyone else. We want them to be exceptional students, exceptional athletes, and “exceptional,” period. We want them to be the kid who came up with the creative costume that made all the adults say, “Wow! How original!”
I support the impulse to be unique. But when kids want to fit in by being “Elsa” who is the closest a cartoon can get to being a modern, liberated woman (with frozen powers!). I like that too.
It kind of gives me chills.