Reel Women: ‘Frozen’ is Making Men Look Bad According to the Dummies at Fox News
When ‘Frozen’ hit theaters, we were so pleasantly surprised and overjoyed—Disney finally delivered a princess movie that didn’t rely on men to rescue or validate its female characters, and instead gave us a film about the power of sisterly love. And while most of us have been celebrating films like ‘Frozen’ and other recent female-driven blockbusters, the knuckleheads at Fox News are not happy at all. In fact, they believe that movies like ‘Frozen’—but especially ‘Frozen’—are a problem because they’re treating men unfairly.
Don’t laugh too hard at that because you might crack a rib. In this ridiculous segment, Fox News describes something called “The ‘Frozen’ Effect,” in which movies like ‘Frozen’ are “empowering our girls by turning men into fools and villains.” Sure, let’s just ignore the fact that for decades we’ve had to put up with women taking the backseat in movies and TV shows (not to mention, pretty much everywhere else), relegated to the role of mother, daughter, wife, girlfriend, nag, accessory, a tool to validate a man’s choices, a sex dispensary, et al.
Recently, thanks to huge hits like ‘The Hunger Games,’ ‘Lucy,’ and ‘Frozen’ (and, wonderfully, many more), we’ve proved that not only are strong female-driven films incredibly successful, but that female audiences have just as much power at the box office. And yet, while most of us are thrilled about this trend, these maroons at Fox News seem to think all this lady empowerment is bad for man-business. We’re making dudes look bad, you see, with all of our independence and prominent leading roles that push them aside, proving that a female character (and, like, a woman in general) doesn’t need to rely on a man for her to simply exist.
What’s even more hilarious (but also sort of horrifying) is this quote from Penny Nance, the CEO of Concerned Women for America:
It’s not just Disney, but Hollywood in general has often sent the message that men are superfluous, that they’re stupid, that they’re in the way, and if they contribute anything to a family it’s a paycheck. And that is not true, and it’s not good social science
If you replace “men” with “women,” that statement magically becomes accurate. Hollywood has been sending the message both in front of and behind the scenes for years that women are unnecessary, that we mean little in the grand scheme of things, that we’re stupid, that we’re “superfluous.” Does Penny Nance live in a bizarro world where we’ve been unfair and sexist toward men since, I don’t know, the beginning of existence?
Apparently we live in a world which, according to one mom interviewed in the segment, is teaching little boys that masculinity is villainous and wrong. I’m pretty sure that we live in the opposite of that world because last time I checked (two seconds ago), we live in a world where basically all men are exalted, regardless of their flaws. Captain America is just as beloved as Walter White or Don Draper. We excuse the behavior of flawed male leads because it’s typically masculine and accepted, while a woman who shows her strength and independence, or even her flaws, is frowned upon. Seems like the only safe place for us ladies is in the kitchen with an apron and a box of tissues for all of our feelings, which we should keep bottled up forever and ever.
I would love to say I’m surprised by this Fox News segment, but I’m not—not only because it’s Fox Friggin’ News, but because this is just the sort of backwards thinking that is sadly still prevalent and perceived as OK. What’s sad is how many of these moms are teaching their kids that characters like Elsa and Anna, or Katniss Everdeen, are bad for women.
It reminds me of a screening I attended for ‘The Punk Singer,’ the documentary chronicling the life and accomplishments of Kathleen Hanna, one of the pioneers of the Riot Grrrl movement. After that screening, during a Q&A, a man raised his hand to ask director Sini Anderson (a woman) a question about the “women in the front” movement, where musicians like Hanna would demand that the male attendees at concerts move to the back and allow the women to come to the front, fostering a safe environment while teaching her fans about feminism. At the screening, this man asked Anderson, “Do you ever think there will be a time when we don’t need to move to the back to allow women to the front?”
To which Anderson beautifully responded, “When have you ever honestly had to move to the back in your entire life?”
Films like ‘Frozen’ move women to the front without dismissing male characters the same way female characters have often been dismissed in male-centric films. Films like ‘Frozen’ offer gender equality and work to destroy deeply ingrained stereotypes. To any man who complains that he feels as though he’s being “pushed to the back” because of something like ‘Frozen,’ I take inspiration from Anderson when I reply: When have you ever honestly been pushed to the back in your entire life? You have no idea what that really feels like, Fox News dudes, and you should be thankful that you never will.