Friday, January 31, 2014

Is Disney's Frozen gay?

A few weeks back, I lauded the movie Frozen as one of the best theological movies in years. A few days ago, a few comments on that post indicated a belief that Frozen had a pro-gay agenda (such as this Catholic site, who also claims Madagascar 2 was aggressively gay). I was a bit surprised to say the least, and started doing some reading, finding several sites arguing precisely that.

I felt like my response was too long for a comment, so I thought an extra post was useful. Here are my four main thoughts on the matter, in no particular order:


1:  THE EVIDENCE IS UNCONVINCING

The three biggest pieces of evidence given are:  (1) Elsa is "born cursed" and eventually is true to herself; (2) Oaken (a male) refers to his family and there is another seemingly adult male in the shot; and (3) after the credits, a deep-voiced snow monster puts on a tiara.

Let's take them one at a time:

(1) As I argued in my post, the entire point of the story is that Elsa was trying to control her curse through willpower, and only after understanding and experiencing sacrificial love was she able to redeem her curse. To consider this about homosexuality is the thinnest of connections. For example, look at the lyrics of the song Let it Go, most of which is nonsense in the gay-themed reading but makes complete sense in the "willpower fails" reading. In fact, Elsa's entire approach is to flee civilization and be, as she says, "Alone but free."  If "Let it Go" is Disney's pro-gay message, then apparently they expect homosexuals to separate themselves from society and--even from a distance--they can still accidentally harm society (as Elsa continued to harm Arrondale).  Let's also not forget that Elsa's curse actually harmed society until someone else chose to die for her...not exactly the message you want to send in a pro-gay lobby. 

(2) Is Oaken's family shown as a gay lover and their children? This allegedly occurs during  a blink-and-you'll-miss-it joke where Oaken says that his family is in the sauna and it briefly shows the following photo:

The implication being that the man was Oaken's lover and the other four were their adopted children. I did not see it that way at all--nor did my wife, or our other two kids, on three viewings. Until someone raised this it never occurred to me. Why? What did I see?













Well, Oaken looks like this:













As you can see, he looks considerably older than the male in the photo. The male looks to be an older teen like most of the characters in the movie, while Oaken looks more like his mid-forties. Meanwhile, I assumed the woman on the right of the sauna photo was not just an older child, but his wife.

 Frankly she looks a lot like Elastigirl from the Incredibles, certainly drawn to be older than the others. I assumed the older son was blond like Oaken, and the other kids were brown-haired like their mother. (And again...if Disney is using this as their pro-gay agenda, I think having a much older man and a very young man as the couple is a questionable way to go about engendering sympathy, as it would play into all kinds of predator stereotypes!)

At best, this is ambiguous. 

If they had made one of the children black, or Indian, or something which clearly indicated them as adopted that would be one thing. But there is nothing in the photo so clear. And unlike the author above, who indicates that the framing somehow implies prominence to the relationship of the older son...I say hogwash. (I don't, really. I don't use the term 'hogwash.' But it seems appropriate.)  The joke of the scene is that Oaken is trying to sell things to the two visitors and offers them an uncomfortably tight sauna crowded with his family.

(3) The monster wears a tiara.  Yeah, clearly gay, right? Because the movies have never played up the masculine/feminine differences for jokes before. Need I point out that long before gay marriage became a big thing, the big burly man wearing a dress/jewelry/liking to cook/etc has been played for laughs a thousand times? Bosom Buddies, anyone?



2:  THIS IS A GREAT EXAMPLE OF CONFIRMATION BIAS

As I discussed at length here, confirmation bias is the tendency of our brains to give extra weight to evidence which confirms our pre-held beliefs. In the comments to my Frozen post, one commenter said, "You don't seem to understand what Disney has been attempting to do for many years if you don't see the gay agenda here."

Ah, there it is, no? The commenter already believes Disney has a gay agenda, and then sees it when looking at the movie and discounts my arguments to the opposite. This is confirmation bias: she excessively weights the arguments which agree with her, and downgrading/ignoring the arguments which disagree. This is why conservatives tend to watch Fox and liberals watch MSNBC--we like to hear people who agree with us much more than those who disagree. It's human nature.

And so it is no surprise that the article I linked to before--by someone who already sees a pro-gay agenda in Madagascar and Happy Feet and others--also finds one in this movie. Indeed, I would venture to say that it is likely they could find one in any Disney movie if they put their minds to it.


3.  IF THIS IS DISNEY'S PRO-GAY AGENDA, THEY ARE TERRIBLE AT IT

We live in a world where the sin of homosexuality is so widely accepted that it is on TV, in movies, and legal in half the country. You don't have to exactly be subtle about it any more. If me and my wife--both of whom are intelligent, conservative Christians--can watch a movie three times and not see the agenda, then Disney sucks at agendas.

Seriously. If they were sitting around thinking, "Hey, how can we corrupt the youth and make them think gay marriage is okay?," and this is what they came up with...then EPIC FAIL, Disney. I can guarantee you my kids didn't get that from it, nor did I. 



4.  EVERYONE JUST RELAX, ALREADY

Remember like 15 years ago when Christianity lost its mind over the Harry Potter books, and now almost every Christian child has read them? Ever read some of the articles from another 15 years before that, when Christians were up in arms over Star Wars, and now we use the movies as sermon examples? Back about 25 years before that, some states banned Charlotte's Web based on the argument that talking animals were clearly the work of the devil.  Those seem silly now?  

Here's the thing--we Christians LOVE us some culture wars. We love to get irate about what "those guys" are doing to us and "our" society. We love to rant and rave about how America is going to hell in a handbasket, and it is all because of some godless commies/gays/atheists pick your enemy of the day.

And so we love to get irate about whatever the popular entertainment du jour is, and how it is ruining America. Today it's Frozen, and 50 years from now that will seem as strange to my grandkids as the Charlotte's Web thing seems to me. 

So everyone just chill out a little bit, breathe deep, and ask yourself if this is really a movie whose themes are so gay that they're worth getting worked up over.


25 comments:

  1. And every time we Christians go on a tear about something like this, it only boosts ticket sales! If we really thought it was dangerous, we should just keep our mouths and typing fingers silent--let it die a natural death.

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  2. Wonderfully written! I'm so glad I found this. I also enjoyed the movie, and got none of this either. I read this extremely long essay from a Mormon woman about how Frozen pushed the gay agenda - I found her evidence weak, but have still been confounded all day. You cleared it up perfectly, and you're dead on correct here. Thank you!

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  3. I can see your point on everything except Harry Potter. But Harry Potter promotes witchcraft which is blatantly and repeatedly condemned in the Bible. Just because American Christianity eventually "comes around" and approves of something, it will never change God or His Word.

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    1. Except that God and His Word have also changed through the centuries, from old testament God to New Testament God and the countless translations from old latin/hebrew to modern English, so...

      Ever play a game of "Telephone"? Yeah.

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    2. Somehow I manage to disagree with both of you anonymous folks. To Anonymous #1, I would disagree on the HP situation and think you would have a tough time explaining a good deal of Christian literature throughout the years in that case. But that's fine, the debate on Potter has been had 10,000 times and I see no need to restart it here. We can lovingly agree to disagree on that one.

      To Anonymous #2, with all due respect you're way off here. Please check out these three links for me and if you have further follow up feel free to comment on them:

      http://rebootchristianity.blogspot.com/2012/06/why-i-am-inerrantist-and-what-that.html

      http://rebootchristianity.blogspot.com/2013/06/youth-group-series-faq-week-2-how-do-we.html

      http://rebootchristianity.blogspot.com/2013/07/youth-group-series-faq-week-6-if-god.html

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    3. To Anonymous #2, the second link is probably the most relevant.

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    4. At the beginning of the movie, at the beginning of the scene where Anna gets hurt by her sister Elsa, she says "do the magic, do the magic" as they enter into a Pyramid design on the floor with an all-seeing eye. (pause at 4;19)
      the line in the song about the dude and his reindeer, promoting beastiality
      and has no one noticed that Disney killed off yet ANOTHER set of parents and orphaned its children once again?? Why is Disney so deadset against children with parents? Evil, evil, evil...

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  4. The pope said he wasn't anybody to judge LGTB people, why do you think you are? Ugh. This is the reason christianity is a horrible thing.

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    1. Ummm...did you READ the article above? Because I can't find anywhere that I judged anyone who was LGBT. All I said was that, despite what some people are saying, I don't see Frozen as a movie about gay people. And that I don't think that it is worth getting worked up about. How is that judging?

      If you want to know what I do think about judgmentalism and gay marriage, maybe you should check out some of those posts. I think you will find that I am far more kind than you have seemed to assume. Relevant posts:

      http://rebootchristianity.blogspot.com/2012/08/judgmentalism-101-what-does-not-judging.html

      http://rebootchristianity.blogspot.com/2012/08/judgmentalism-201-sharing-word-without.html

      http://rebootchristianity.blogspot.com/2012/08/why-almost-every-gay-marriage-argument.html

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    2. For example, that last one includes the phrase: "If you struggle to be friends with someone who is gay, the problem is largely yours, not theirs. How can you be best friends with the guy who shacked up with his girlfriend, but cannot be friends with the gay guy who did the same thing? Do you think your friend with the secret porn addiction is sinning less than the lesbian in your workplace? Nope. You should have no trouble being friends with any of them, if you are Christian. If you look down on and try to distance yourself from gays, but are not doing that to heterosexual sinners, then you are acting like a Pharisee, not a Christian."

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    3. You did say this, though: "If they were sitting around thinking, "Hey, how can we corrupt the youth and make them think gay marriage is okay?," and this is what they came up with...then EPIC FAIL, Disney." Why should a pro-gay movie mean Disney is corrupting the youth? That attitude towards their position makes you sound intolerant. Instead, they might have thought, 'how can we teach kids that being different in any capacity, gay or not, is okay because every one is different in some way yet everyone is of equal value'?

      However, I will say that it is false to call christianity a horrible thing.

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    4. Ginny I see what you mean. Here's what I was trying to do (but clearly, not as well as I thought!). I am writing this post in response to those Christians who said--ridiculously, I would claim--that Frozen was "part of a gay agenda" by Disney. Those people who make such a claim universally would say that the purpose was to "corrupt our youth". Hence I was speaking for them and then trying to show why such a statement was stupid.

      So I was making their argument of what Disney was trying to do, and then showing why that argument makes no sense because Frozen would be completely ineffective in that regard. I wasn't making MY argument, because if I was then I wouldn't have needed a post to refute it. :)

      But I can see how maybe that wasn't clear, reading it again.

      To be honest, when I re-read these things before posting I try and think of the audience. I assumed most of the audience who would read a post about if a movie is "too gay to be Christian" would be the kind of Christians who were worried about movies being "too gay," so to speak. I am a bit surprised to see that so many comments are by those on the other side. In that case I would have worded things a bit differently, as they were not the intended audience.

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    5. Oh okay, now I see what you meant. Thank you for clarifying!

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  5. Hello, I've read both your posts on Frozen and would like to comment..

    Just from the lyrics of 'let it go', you can spot many connections for the gay agenda, to list a few:

    1. The society at large used to disapprove of homosexuality = Elsa's freezing ability is seen as a curse.

    2. That's why homosexuals could not come out, they had to hide their identity, have been isolated, cut off from society in some ways = Elsa sings she was like the queen in a kingodm of isolation / 'conceal, don't feel, don't let them know'. She had to hide. Disney depicts the minority state of homosexuals and sympathizes with them. Not " they expect homosexuals to separate themselves from society and--even from a distance" as in your post.

    3. Has your homosexual identity been revealed? so then 'come out' is the message, encouraging homosexuals to be open, there is nothing to hide. That is the message of today for homosexuals and from Disney = Elsa sings 'now they know, let it go, I don't care what they are going to say'


    It seems quite obvious... Rather than marking some people as confirmation bias, could it be that you have been blinded because you liked this movie so much? Please think for a moment.. So too, you could be in confirmation bias, because you see Frozen as such a wonderful theological movie, that you are unabe to objectively hear the critiques?

    This movie now may only have hidden messages, but it can be a stepping stone to actually having two homosexuals as main characters in their movies later on. They slowly sink in their idea, not suddenly throw it at you.
    ===================================

    Regarding your interpretation of the law, your comment

    "The lesson from Elsa's life is clear: the sin-curse that we have cannot be controlled through works of the Law, and it cannot be controlled through isolation."

    That is right. Only by the grace of Jesus Christ, are we free from the bondage of sin.

    However, we should fight till the end resisting sin as in Hebrews 12:4. That 's what those in whom the Holy Spirit dwell will choose to do, knowing that even the struggle cannot be by our sheer will power but by the grace of God through the work of the Holy Spirit.

    "In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood."

    We should not just let it go as did Elsa, we must resist sin to the point of death.


    Further point, you called Elsa's freezing power 'sin' in the Law section, but later in the Redemption point, as a 'gift'. Our sin can never be redeemed into a gift.

    The sinner, as we are, has been redeemed with the blood of Christ and the wages of sin is paid, therefore the sinner is called 'righteous'.

    Sin itself does not turn into a gift. = Elsa could be called redeemed through the sacrificial love, but her sin cannot be turned into a gift.

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    1. Annie, there two parts of your comment so I will answer in two parts.


      PART 1: ON HOMOSEXUALITY
      Again please think through what the implications are if Elsa's curse = homosexuality. Let me sum up the plot using the term [gay] in place of "curse":

      A girl, Elsa, is born [gay]. Even as a young, innocent child, this [gayness] is a danger to those who come in contact with her [gayness], particularly her sister. As she grows up, she voluntarily keeps the [gayness] inside, trying to conceal it to protect those she loves. Yet every time she is emotional, her [homosexuality] comes back out again.

      Eventually, however, her [homosexuality] is revealed publicly, both to her shame and to the immediate risk of those around her. The very fact that she is [gay] is an immediate and clear danger to all those around her, putting the lives of all of those around her in danger.

      Despite the insistence of her sister, she does the only thing which has a chance to protect her people: she flees, to keep her [gay] tendencies secret. She never intends any other person to be exposed to this side of her again, believing it will protect society. Only when totally alone can she be [gay] and not worry about harming others. But it turns out this is not true. Being [gay] puts society at risk even when exiled. Whether keeping it under control and silent or being exiled and alone, the very fact that she is [gay] puts all of society at risk. Many are on the verge of dying as a direct result of her [homosexuality].

      Only at the end, when someone else dies sacrificially for love--a death caused directly because Elsa is [gay]--does she learn what love is and, therefore, gain the ability to no longer be a [gay] risk to those around her.


      Now if this is what Disney is trying to promote as a "gay agenda", almost any fundamentalist would sign up! Do you see my point that, as a "pro-gay message", it is absurd and ridiculous? If her curse = homosexuality, then this is the most anti-gay movie ever made: it would be saying that homosexuality is inherently dangerous to society at large, even if the person keeps it quiet or doesn't act on the urges, and that only sacrificial love through the death of an innocent can reduce the risk!

      I don't know whether Disney has a "gay agenda" or not. But if so, this ain't it...if this is about homosexuality, then the gay community should be furious as it would set back people's thoughts about homosexuality three decades.

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    2. PART 2: ON THE SIN BEING REDEEMED

      You've misinterpreted in the second half. Of course sin is not redeemed and then good, if you've read this site at all you know that.

      What I am saying is that in the movie, her skills/ability to control weather is itself not inherently bad (as we learn at the end, in a twist). It is a good thing. It is only sin and dangerous because of the curse. Upon redemption, it can return to its proper status and be used for good.

      Likewise, you and I have skills which are meant for good, but through the curse of sin become sinful actions. Only through redemption of the curse are our skills now turned into gifts to be used for the Kingdom. I have a gift of communication: but before I was saved this gift was used for self-serving means (and thus sinful); after I was redeemed by Christ's blood, the sin-curse is removed and now my skills do indeed become gifts to be used for God's glory.

      Again, think through how strange this is if you read the "gay" part into it. This would mean that Disney is saying homosexuality is basically good AS LONG AS A SAVIOR DIED FOR YOU. Otherwise it is sinful, but after someone dies in self-sacrificial love, then all of a sudden it is good again. Which, again, neither makes sense nor is 'pro-gay' at all.

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  6. Guy in the middle, Oaken's son. His wife is on our right (dark hair), and the other three take after their mother. The one in the middle is Oaken's son, and takes after his father.

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  7. well it could be not even his family he says hi family indicating that he has a visiting family in sauna ?

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  8. Thank u!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I knew this was really ridiculous about Disney and pro-gay stuff.
    I did not believe in any of it.
    Thank u mister! U made my day. :) what a relief.

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  9. It is difficult to discern the subtle messages that are planted in much of today's culture - television, music, movies, and many other genres. There is a very aggressive agenda being pushed. May we seek the Holy Spirit's guidance in order to truly discern the manipulative devices of the world. The Holy Spirit is given to those who obey the Lord.

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  10. I agree. Thank you for posting this. All of these comments make me think of a very important point that isn't made a lot that I think everyone needs to hear though, and that is that God loves everyone, regardless of whether you're gay or not. Not that homosexuality is ok, but to God, it's no worse than what some would deem a little sin like gossip or gluttony or thinking bad thoughts or something. The Bible also says to take the plank out of your own eye before removing the speck from someone else's eye. We should show God's love to everyone. Including all of the gay people, not gay people, murderers, preachers, christians, muslims, budhists, republicans, democrats, liberals, conservatives, etc. We should not let our petty differences get in the way of showing God's love to everyone. For all of you reading this, God loves you no matter what. None of us deserve heaven, but absolutely everyone can have salvation because of Jesus.
    I know that did'nt really have anything to do with Frozen, but I just felt like that needed to be said. I love Frozen by the way. Let It Go still gives me the chills when I listen to it. It's such a beautiful and epic song.
    Wow, I'm just all over the place topic-wise. Since I am, let's talk about Star Wars. You mentioned Star Wars. Star Wars is awesome. Maybe the new Disney one will be good. I mean, they made The Avengers and Pirates of the Caribbean so I don't see why not. Maybe it will be. Maybe not. Who knows?

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  11. hopefully your kids will be in heaven in fifty years...we just passed gay marriage yesterday here in Oklahoma...we're living in Sodom and Gomorrah over here

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  12. Why if this wasn't the gateway movie....is Disney claiming the man in the sauna was no mistake...and they are coming out with a movie called princes. They say two princes fall in love and marry. How is your research now?

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    1. How is my research? Better than yours, apparently. It took me five minutes on my phone to disprove your claims.

      If you google that movie you will be interested to find only one link. Huh, one link for such a big news item. And that is from a website whose "about us" section says it is a FAKE entertainment news site intended to be satire. There is no such movie coming out (no pun intended). But people without a sense of humor read that article and didn't fact check it and started spreading rumors which is probable how you heard it.

      See here for the evidence:l from Snopes which confirmed my findings as well: http://www.snopes.com/media/notnews/princes.asp

      I beg of you as with all Christians: please be more skeptical of what you read on the web. Please fact check. Because we are the Keepers of Truth, so when we seem to be so naive and easily led astray, why should someone trust us about Scripture? If we don't take five minutes to google a hoax, how can we expect them to believe we know eternal Truth?

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