Diversity Got the Deep Freeze in the movie “Frozen”

We’ve just returned from doing what probably eleventy million North American kids did this weekend – watching the latest Disney movie “Frozen”.

I’m torn about sharing my thoughts, because on one hand, I want to be cool, just chill (see what I just did there?) and take a kid’s movie at face value.

And at face value – it WAS a pretty fun movie. Good music, funny jokes, entertaining characters and a uniquely engaging storyline.

But hidden underneath all that ice was something I found a little disturbing. So, being who I am, you know I’m going to share it with you. Because who are we kidding about that cool mom who knows how to chillax? Not me and we all know it.

Now, my biggest complaint about this movie is really not just about THIS movie, but about almost ALL kids’ movies. This one just happened to have the misfortune of being the ice on the cake (sorry, couldn’t resist).

There is a gaping lack of diversity in this and many other kids’ movies.

And I’m sick of it.

Yes, the movie is set in Medieval-era Nordic lands, where presumably diversity was not ever heard of, but don’t tell me that if Disney can cook up a story about a sister who has ice flowing from her hands to freeze a village in July and create blizzards, a moving,talking snowman that has body parts that separate and regroup at will and a reindeer that communicates with eyeball language, then don’t tell me they can’t cook up some black, Asian, East or West Indian residents in the village. Or royalty visiting the castle. Or a hero or heroine. Or even a cross-race romance (GASP!) I just don’t buy it. In one ballroom scene, there is a barely-there glimpse of a brown-ish couple, but it’s so fleeting that I’m actually wondering now if my eyes were playing tricks on me because I wanted to see something, anything other than white so badly.

The same is true for many kids’ TV shows. Take the royal darling Princess Sophia. How many black princes or princesses attend the Royal Academy with Sophia? Yep – you got it. None. Oh sure – Sophia has a black girl friend, who is a peasant in the village from Sophia’s pre-royalty life, but she rarely shows up at the castle. Why is that? Are the writers and creators so confident that a non-white person could never actually become royalty via an exclusive private academy? I also watched a Barbie TV special last week with Baby Girl that disgusted me for the same reason – Barbie and all of her white friends were attending a fancy private school that offered equestrian training and competition. Well, it must have been set either in South African apartheid, or the Southern States prior to the civil rights movement, because there were nothing but WHITE girls at that school.

The same for Frozen. It would appear that diversity was frozen out of this film. Not even a non-white servant in the castle, which perhaps I should be thankful for, that at least THAT stereotype was left out.

Now what troubles me most about the movie white-out is this: my daughter is black and taking her to see these movies is sending her the subliminal, subconscious message that non-white people do not belong in princess adventure movies. Unless of course they have their own township-like side of town to live their life of hardship in menial jobs, are turned into a frog to help a sinister black voodoo man and end up owning a restaurant with a fellow “coloured” man, not living like royalty in a castle. Baby Girl is learning from these movies and shows that maybe non-whites just aren’t good enough to be at a grand party at the castle, or even skating in the castle courtyard with the other villagers.

Children’s TV and movies is not the world of equality and the desired colour-blindness that so many politically correct people are calling for today, yet we as parents continue to take our kids to these movies and allow them to believe that it’s acceptable to freeze out diversity.

Don’t get me wrong – Baby Girl did not notice the missing representation one bit. In fact, during the Barbie TV special, I asked her numerous times if she saw anything missing from Barbie’s school and circle of friends, and she didn’t. Even when I pointed out to her that there were absolutely no black girls – or any other race than white – attending the school or even in the show – her response made me want to cry.

“That’s ok mommy. It doesn’t bother me.”

Well, it bloody well should. It bothers the hell out of me, and it bothers me MORE that it DOESN’T bother her. To me, that’s simply an indication that her experience of movies and television has been so completely white-washed that she just assumes this is NORMAL. Which sadly, it is in the world of entertainment, if not the real world that some of us live in.

I’m really disappointed that a powerhouse like Disney, knowing they could do SO MUCH to instill tolerance and equality in our children’s minds, continues to white-out all of their characters, or segregate them to their own movies like The Princess Frog, Mulan or Pocahontas.

If so many of us are trying to de-segregate, inter-relate and strive for a loving society of diversity, why shouldn’t our children’s entertainment be helping us send the same message to our kids so their generation doesn’t have to work so hard to fight racism?

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21 thoughts on “Diversity Got the Deep Freeze in the movie “Frozen”

  1. Oh poor unaccepting you. You know, oh you know it’s in Norway. Yet, you still can’t seem to grasp the fact THAT THEY ARE MAINLY WHITE. For the time period I assume it is in, Immigration probably has not yet started for the Norwegians, unless it being to Denmark (White), Estonia (White), Finland (White), Iceland (Decendents of Norwegians so White), or Sweden (White). You are focusing on the wrong thing. You want a movie that is NOT of European decent. :3 I hope we are clear.

    • Well, as much as I appreciate the history/anthropology/sociology lesson you’re attempting to provide, I think one of us is still a little unclear on something: a movie can be set ANYWHERE in the world, but if it is an animated, non-documentary children’s fairy tale with a walking/talking snowman, rock trolls and a princess that throws ice from her hands – I’m pretty sure it’s also ok to throw in a few black, East/West Indian and Asian characters to teach our children (and apparently their parents) that the world is not just about white people. Thanks for your comment, though.

      • Yes, some of the latest Disney characters have been white. Would you like to know why?
        Rapunzel is a German story. Do you want to know what color the people in Germany are? They’re pretty white. Even now the diversity isn’t that great, a vast majority of the people are white. Brave is set in Ireland. Do you want to know what color people from Ireland are? They are so white it’s ridiculous. Lastly, Frozen is based off of a story called the Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, which was published in 1845. Do you know what he was? Danish. Do you want to know what color Danish people usually are? White. Do you know the diversity they had in Denmark in 1845? None.
        Let me just say that there are plenty of ethnic Disney ladies. Jasmine, Pocahontas, Esmeralda, and Tiana. And do you know why they are ethnic? It’s because it makes sense with the story. Do you know why the other ones are white? It’s because of the setting of their stories. Beauty and the Beast is set in 19th century France, it makes sense that she’s white.
        Disney does not whitewash. Whitewashing would be if they took Princess Jasmine from a story based on Arabian Nights and gave her blonde hair and white skin and named her Jessica.

      • Hi Colleen. Thanks for your additional history lesson – I guess Haley’s comments didn’t cover it for you? (BTW – Brave is set in Scotland, not Ireland) It sounds to me that you and Haley are real sticklers for historical accuracy. Perhaps you should limit your movie-going experiences to historical documentaries and leave the fairy tales and fables to folks who don’t require so much ethnic accuracy. It must be really hard for you to accept all of the creatures and mystical happenings and make-believe of children’s movies, if you are so unable to accept the idea of an “ethnic” person appearing in a children’s film (not just Disney) no matter where it is geographically located. Whitewashing does happen, in almost all children’s movies and TV. Your history lesson doesn’t change that, unfortunately.

  2. Thank you so much for you commentary. I will have my 7 year old granddaughter and 5 year old grandson this weekend and taking them to a movie would be fun. I have read the glowing reviews of Frozen and went online to get more information including whether there was any diversity in the film. So glad others share my concern. For every Frozen movie can we have a movie that reflects the rich diversity of the country and the world? Let’s do better by our children.

    • Thank you for your comment! I still take my daughter to all these white-washed movies, but I’ve started having pointed conversations with her about the lack of diversity and how it doesn’t accurately represent the world we live in. She still enjoys the movies but I agree that we need to start having more conversations publicly about this to influence the entertainment world towards better portrayals of diversity in our kids’ movies and tv programs!

  3. I also read another article about the lack of diversity in Frozen, and if I’m not mistaken they pointed out that in the original story “the Snow Queen” there are some women in the story who are of a native descent of the country where the story took place and where darker people. If this was in the original story, why couldn’t Disney bother to add in a few other races as well?

  4. Your article is entirely pointless and your logic is flawed.

    You sum up the reason why there is no diversity with the following line: “Yes, the movie is set in Medieval-era Nordic lands…”. Why yes it is and that means it is going to focus on the Nordic populace, which are Caucasian!

    If you have such a problem with this then maybe I should complain about the reason that there are no Caucasian people in Disney’s Aladdin, which is set in the Middle East. Surely a movie with a talking parrot and a magical blue genie can add some white folk into the mix, right?

  5. Indian ‘Bollywood’ movies are 100% Indian (with a few exceptions), should all Indian movies from now on have to show Germans, Swedes, black, Arabs, Japanese etc… in them, because of lack of diversity? Nigerian Nollywood movies only have black people in them. So from now on would all Nigerian movies have to have Europeans, Asians and native Americans in the name of diversity? I am a non-White person and very dark as that but trust me, I and all my dark skinned friends absolutely enjoyed the movie and did not care one bit about so called lack of diversity. For thousands of years there was not much diversity in Africa or Europe, people lived happily just the same. Diversity is a choice not a compulsion.

  6. To those of you using Aladdin as an example of an ‘ethnic’ Disney film, the fact that the characters are not white does not prevent white washing in the film. Have none of you noticed that Jafar, the villain, is a dark skinned Arabian with classic features, yet jasmine and Aladdin – the heroes have lighter skin, more European features and mysteriously american voices? Even in the lion king, a film that doesn’t have any people in it at all, has white washing. Musafa, the dark lion is evil, yet the heroes are considerably lighter. Coincidence? I doubt it.

    • Thanks for your comments, and I definitely agree – white-washing goes on far too often in movies, TV, books – everywhere our children look. Hopefully over time that will change with more awareness and education.

      • Um, no the opposite is happening in Jew controlled Hollywood. Whites characters are being re-written as black, even if it is totally out of context (The Equalizer, Annie, Heimdall (from Thor, a NORSE god)

  7. I have experienced what you’ve written about in your blog. Many of Disney’s movies lack diversity. And when Disney attempts a diverse movie, it plays into our stereotypical beliefs. What saddens me even more are the excuses some of those who have commented for the lack of diversity in kids shows and movies.

    • Thanks, Sharon. It’s not only Disney, unfortunately. Children’s entertainment in general lacks diversity in such an obvious way that it’s mind-boggling that some readers of this post could even consider taking me to task about the “historical accuracy” of Frozen! Glad I’m not the only one who sees it this way.

  8. you people are idiots. stop making it about race and racism will disappear. how about the fact that there are no handicapped people in the movie? or that were teaching our children about sexuality at such a young age.

    did you know that my sisters friends who are 14 years old are talking on facebook about havin sex with their boyfriends? isnt this such a bigger issue than the fact that theres a difference between blacks and whites. stop spouting your crap about such a non-issue and focus on the fact that your child is watching movies with sexual innuendos they wont understand until theyre 11-12 and then theyll feel more sexual because of all the sex theyve been filled with from “childrens” movies that you will be grandparents when theyre 13-14.

    but im sure youd be just fine with haveing a pregnant pre-teen if the baby is a different color than the mom right?

  9. You shouldn’t point that stuff out to your child. Every color is beautiful. My daughters are half African American and they dislike when someone refers to another person or a group of people by a color. Expand your mind. If skin tone doesn’t bother her why change that?

  10. I think the idea of enforced diversity onto a story like Frozen, set in pre-Multicult Norway is pure Cultural Marxism and cultural genocide – of white people. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with having all white characters in a country that is in fact 100% white. So racist how all the characters in Mulan were Asian? I think it is just racist that there were no white people in that film.

    When left wingers talk about so called “diversity” what they really mean is getting rid of white people, both culturally and literally. This outrage over Frozen is just racism against white people, pure and simple.

    Anyway, they had a black princess and it was the biggest Disney failure of all the DPs. Also, quite a lot of the success of Frozen was in Asia. It seems they didnt mind looking at nothing but white people for 90 minutes.

    Having ANY of the characters would have been completely out of context.

    Forced diversity is GENOCIDE

    • Yeah, do you know what Saami people are? They would be in the film Frozen. They have olive to dark skin with black hair. Anna’s little boyfriend would not have been what Disney portrayed him as. He would have been pretty brown.

      Also i think ommiting people of color when the film is based on imagination is bull crap.

      You do know that all these excuses being made are of your own accord.

      Disney has never once made any statment lamenting about why they made certain characters look certain ways. That is just you.

      Also Brave was set in 10th century scotland and there WERE people of color there. They were aristocrats as well as servants and guests invited to the castle of the king. I believe his name was Henry. He bestowed gifts upon diverse groups. There are records of this.

      You don’t seem to acknowlege that 🙂

      Also in Frozen, there would have been olive skinned to dark tan people as well as blacks.

      See whites only care about historical accuracy when it comes to race and ignore all of the other fake stuff.

      And you other peoole bringing up aladdin and such, those aren’t the same thing as what Frozen and Brave are.

      Those movies are supposedly Disney version of the cultural experience to hide the fact that they really don’t have any diversity.

      You might say they are honestly just token films. I honestly wouldn’t care if whites were in the film or people who looked white but Disney made a pandering film.

      These other ones though? Mix it up. Kinda like The Princess and the Frog? That’s a German tale. What race was the main character?

      See your argument and excuse for Disney is already flawed.

  11. I really agree with this. I find myself arguing with whites all day on social media when I leabe a factual comment that explains the familiar pattern with Disney. Keep fighting the good fight and bringing these things to light.

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