‘Frozen’ sends the wrong message about domestic abuse

I saw Frozen again the other day and, at the risk of this turning into the Pretty Princess Blog, it’s time to find more hidden meanings in the Disney tale.

Last time we determined the movie was full of gay propaganda. This time we’ll see if the movie features a chilling message about domestic abuse.

Because it totally does.

(Once again, there are plenty of spoilers with no warnings other than this one.)

The movie starts out with sisters Elsa and Anna as kids. They’re playing together, with Elsa freely letting her ice powers out. Anna starts going too fast with Elsa telling her to slow down, but Anna won’t listen to her older sister. That’s when Elsa “accidentally” hits her younger sister in the head, causing a serious injury.

This is the first sign that Elsa has anger issues, and she’s just taken it out on her sibling for not listening to her.

Their parents freak out, and tell Elsa she has to keep her powers to herself and never let anyone see them. She spends the rest of her childhood heeding her parents warnings and trying to learn to control herself, constantly repeating the refrain “Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let it show.”

She’s trying to repress her emotions, but it doesn’t work. Her powers keep coming out. On the day her parents died (in an unrelated accident at sea), she’s unable to contain herself, destroying her room.

On the day of her coronation as queen, Elsa is afraid of everyone seeing her slip and showing her powers. Of course, Anna sets her off, and Elsa lashes out aggressively at everyone.

elsa-coronation-lash-outThis is clear confirmation of Elsa’s anger issues. Disney couldn’t make it more obvious. Just look at the color scheme! A green dress with a purple cape is oddly reminiscent of another character famous for anger issues.

Do you need her to shout "ELSA SMASH!"? Because that would have been ridiculous. (Ridiculously awesome!)

Do you need her to shout “ELSA SMASH!”? Because that would have been ridiculous. (Ridiculously awesome!)

The townspeople are terrified of her and immediately want her, their new queen, to be arrested and executed (probably). Which is absurd, really. As the queen, she is responsible for the well being of the kingdom. Who better to protect them and enter into medieval negotiations with the neighboring villages than someone with superpowers? HINT: It’s because anger issues aren’t a superpower.

With her countrymen turning on her, Elsa runs off, singing her hit “Let It Go” in the process. And that’s just what she does. All of that anger she’s been holding inside of her for all these years comes out.

"Good. Use your aggressive feelings, young Icewalker. Let the hate flow through you."

“Good. Use your aggressive feelings, young Icewalker. Let the hate flow through you.”

She even sings “Let the storm rage on!” It’s a fitting description of someone consumed by violent anger.

As a result, everyone in town is immediately put at risk.

The sudden, explosive release of everything she’d been repressing creates a perpetual winter in the film. The cold is an immediate threat, but destruction of crops and livestock would soon create a food shortage that would be even more devastating. This is what happens when you try to push all your anger deep inside you for your entire life–it eventually all comes out, and those closest to you are at great risk.

Anna, who doesn’t remember her sister hurting her when they were children, gives chase.[1] When she finally finds Elsa (after some wacky misadventures!), Anna begs her to come back and undo the damage she has done.

Pictured: wacky misadventures!

Pictured: wacky misadventures!

Elsa wants no part of going back, even saying “No, Anna, I belong here. Alone. Where I can be who I am… without hurting anybody.” She knows her abusiveness makes her a danger and doesn’t want to hurt anybody anymore.

Anna keeps pushing her, and Elsa’s temper flares again. She again strikes her sister, this time unknowingly dealing her a mortal injury. Her anger takes physical form as she creates a giant golem to attack anyone who gets close to her, acting just as any domestic abuser would.

The face of domestic violence.

The face of domestic violence.

Then lots of stuff happens, plot plot plot, more wacky misadventures, and we get to the exciting climax of the movie.

Now Anna is on the verge of death, but she thinks she’s found the cure–she needs an act of true love. But as she’s on the way to that, she sees Elsa in trouble, about to be stricken down.

With the last of her strength, Anna sacrifices herself for her sister. Like so many abuse victims, she is still drawn to her abuser no matter how grievously she’s been harmed, and she pays the ultimate price for it.

Except it’s a Disney movie, so Anna’s sacrifice counts as the true love. This in turn teaches Elsa about not holding back her love, and she immediately undoes all of the damage she had done.[2] With her new outlook on life, everyone is happy!

Which, of course, is a terrible lesson to learn about domestic violence. Elsa’s violence has already destroyed parts of her home, threatened the safety of her town, and injured her sister twice (once causing her brief death). But kids learn that if the victim just loves the abuser hard enough for long enough, everything turns out okay.

If you have a dad that beats you, or a mom you’re terrified of, or a sister who stabs you in the heart with icicles, don’t try to escape them. Keep chasing after them and showing them how much you love them. Eventually you’ll get your own talking snowman and custom ice skating rink too.

And this time when they say they'll never hurt you again, they'll mean it.

And this time when they say they love you and they’ll never hurt you again, they’ll mean it.

Thanks for reading. Join SCS next time, when we take a deep look into how Frozen pushes President Obama’s agenda of fascist communism.

1. Anna’s recklessly impulsive behavior could be another topic unto itself. It is probably the most accurate portrayal of a teenage princess in Disney history.
2. Except for all of the townspeople who froze to death, and the destruction of all the crops and livestock. Oh, and there’s a giant, deadly snow golem out there somewhere; it doesn’t go away with the happy ending, because it’s seen after the credits.


12 thoughts on “‘Frozen’ sends the wrong message about domestic abuse

  1. I was following you until this passage “Her anger takes physical form as she creates a giant golem to attack anyone who gets close to her, acting just as any domestic abuser would.” This conclusion I could not follow anymore. For me this conclusion would need more explanation… otherwise your view is interesting.


  2. I think it is great we are talking about this. It is a deep movie. However, not addressing or even talking about Princess Anna assaulting Hans is harmful. She blasted him in the face! Please tell the entire story….


  3. I can see where you are coming from with this, but I really, really disagree, for several reasons, that Elsa is abusive to Anna.

    First of all, Elsa had no control of her powers due to fear. She hurt Anna when she was afraid she would hurt Anna. I have never heard of domestic violence happening because someone is afraid they will hurt their partner.

    Domestic violence is about control. It is about manipulation. It is about someone being calculated and deliberately terrifying their partner when it suits the abuser, and also keeping them close. Abusers will say and do everything they need to do to keep their partner under their control. They do not shut themselves in their room for over a decade to protect someone they love from themselves.

    Anna definitely felt the effects of abuse, but it was from her parents, not from Elsa.


  4. And…I just read your other posts. Now I feel silly. 😂

    Of course it’s domestic abuse. My ex used to conjure golems all the time. I guess I just had to come to terms with the fact that that was wrong and I was really in love with a monster the whole time.


    • It looks like you took quite a journey here today! Glad to have you on board, and glad you now realize this movie presents a terrible message about domestic violence, and also know about the problems of abuse golems.


  5. This is nonsense. Elsa is not abusive. What she is a repressed, self-loathing, and depressed young woman. Yes, Elsa hitting Anna with her magic was an accident. She slipped, for crying out loud. Her issues with her controlling her powers are also not a result of her having some sort of extreme anger issues. It’s because her powers respond to her emotions, and she loses control when when her emotions are negative. When you’re depressed and deeply self-loathing, you’d have a lot of negative emotions to deal with. Now, is this to say Elsa never makes mistakes or is perfect? No. She does make plenty of mistakes in the movie. But she’s not some abusive monster that should never be around Anna.


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