The movie “Frozen” is about the most opaque and difficult movie I have ever tried to understand. The surface story – a dangerous girl shunned as a child has her frozen heart thawed by a loving sister – seems innocuous enough, but like a powerful dream that wakes you in a cold sweat of self-revelation, the movie has a near infinite set of layers that go right down to the beating and beaten heart of modern life.
The story was inspired by "The Snow Queen," by Hans Christian Andersen, but was altered to reflect a girl power theme, in which the heroine is rescued not by a man, but by a woman, her own sister.
The movie is enjoyable, entertaining and gloriously symphonic, with some of the best music I've heard in a musical for years. It has a freshness, a wittiness and a depth that has literally had me tossing and turning at night to unwind its myriad meanings. The depths are bound up in its ancient fairy tale origins; stories rarely stand the test of time unless weighed down by the meaty ballast of deep experiences and up-drafted by the myths that keep us alive.
“Frozen” is the story of two sisters, Elsa and Anna. Elsa is born with the magical power to control ice and snow, create life, summon clothing, control weather, you name it. Magic is so often taken for granted in stories – whether in traditional fairy tales, or as “the force” or “mind melds” in science fiction – that it has just become another kind of alternative physics. However, there is much more to magic than childlike wonder and narrative convenience.
Magic by definition is irrational, and thus cannot exist in the objective, empirical universe. Therefore it must exist within the mind, which unlike reality is capable of error, delusion, fantasy and superstition. Irrational people generally project their craziness into the people around them – and the world they live in, and thus cannot be cured of their illusions, since their madness has become “physics” and “human nature.” In stories, magic always escalates because madness – itself a pathological story – always escalates, as a hysterical pushback against a stubbornly rational universe. Like a woman screaming at an indifferent man, hoarseness, tears and assault are the inevitable eruption. Reality is Rhett Butler to the Scarlet of madness – “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
Magic in stories is always and forever a metaphor for madness; it stands for psychosis and delusion and the violence that inevitably results when madness is challenged by prosaic reality. “Harry Potter,” for instance, is the story of a violent and psychotic young boy who ends up in a mental institution – called "Hogwarts" – and surrenders to his delusions of grandeur. Ditto “Star Wars.”
Madness can result from significant trauma as an infant or toddler, but it can also result from being born with great ambitions and capacities into a tiny, narrow-minded and bigoted tribe. From Frodo Baggins to Luke Skywalker, great souls often escape a petty world into violent fantasies – this is not meant to describe actual people or events, but is rather a description of the writers, since the stories are fiction. Great intelligence is a prerequisite for great imagination; fantasy writers seek to escape the dullness and predictability of their everyday acquaintances – particularly as children, when imagination first flowers – by creating heroes who leave boring childhoods for intergalactic adventures. This violent rejection of the writer’s early environment contains a base hatred against the culture he grows up in – this hatred is projected into the blackened heart of the usual arch-villain. The hero destroys the villain, because the act of story-telling must destroy the writer’s dangerous hatred of those around him. In this way, the storyteller survives his hatred of the tribe by providing entertainment to the tribe, by telling a hidden story that appeals to the bored and narcissistic desire for adventure without personal risk.
In other words, fantasy stories were the first video games.
Once we understand that there is no magic in the world, we can understand that Elsa did not harm her younger sister with her fantasy powers, but rather damaged her physically or psychologically through cruelty and/or violence. My guess is that Elsa is a Hamlet character. Hamlet was a Renaissance man trapped in a medieval world: a sick displacement of premature rationality in a dusty tribe of apelike brutality. Elsa is partly driven mad by the gap between her deep human potential and her incredibly dull and pedantic environment. Her slow-witted parents – a mother and father rendered permanently poisonous by being so “well-meaning” – only accelerate her white-water course.
Elsa’s parents saw that her madness was infecting her younger sister, and took her to a mind healer – the fact that the stone trolls act and sound like stereotypical Jews is not inconsiderable, since Jews invented psychoanalysis – but there was no cure for Elsa, since the girl’s madness was a reaction to a soul-crushing familial and cultural environment. The only remedy was isolation, and so basically she was institutionalized at home.
Almost all tragedies – in art as in life – arise from a failure to listen. King Lear does not listen to Cordelia – or his fool, for that matter. Hamlet does not listen to Horatio, and every horror movie murder results from someone saying, “You go for help – I’ll follow the bloody footprints down to the cellar!”
The wise troll says to Elsa:
“Your power will only grow. There is beauty in it, but also great danger. You must learn to control it. Fear will be your enemy.”
Elsa’s father, the King, does not listen to the troll. Instead of teaching his daughter how to control her power, he seals her in a prison palace, and demands that she repress and avoid her feelings. (In society, this is so often the repressive instincts of men faced with the awesome power of female sexuality – “Women are attractive? Bury them in burkas!”)
What kind of madness is this demand for repression? The obviously mad are usually channeling the blandly – i.e. culturally approved – mad. At the age of six or so, Elsa already has the power to almost murder with a gesture, by accident. The wise troll clearly states that her power will only increase – how on earth is a little girl supposed to contain and repress such awesome capacities?
The real answer is that the King is afraid of his subjects, of his daughter being perceived as a witch, of the resulting threat to his political power (think popes and pedophile priests). Ice magic is well known in the kingdom – the troll asks if Elsa was born with her powers, or was cursed with them – but the King is terrified of the negative stigma of his daughter’s powers, and so demands that she repress and avoid her magic, which is of course impossible. The troll clearly says, “Fear will be your enemy!” which in hindsight seems less of a warning than a premonition, i.e. “Your father’s fear will be your enemy!”
As usual, Elsa’s mother nods in a scared, stupid, sheepish way as her husband proceeds to outline his plans to do exactly the opposite of what the healer he respects recommends. She has no voice, because she married the ultimate alpha male, and so cannot contradict or instruct him, because there is no one for her trade up to (who dates Angelina Jolie after Brad Pitt?). Her natural hypergamy – the female desire to “mate up” – has tragic consequences for her youngest daughter Anna, who almost gets murdered pursuing the same estrogen-fuelled ambitions.
There are certainly overtones of lesbianism in the story – as a man says about Elsa’s sexual availability, “No one was getting anywhere with her,” – and homosexuals do sometimes appear to have “magical powers” (at least before they were able to adopt and raise children) because they just had so much more time and resources than straight couples with kids. Certainly, trying to repress stigmatized characteristics that only grow in power – and explode during puberty – would have been a constant struggle for historical homosexuals, but I don’t think that the story is fundamentally about homosexuality, despite the all-male cast in the shop sauna. The same stigmatized/repressed continuum powers religious skepticism, scientific advancement, forbidden love of every kind, creativity among dull people, existential boredom, child abuse, contempt for “small talk” – you name it. Atheists in a religious community don’t often get – or necessarily even want – dates, this does not make them gay. Making the movie about homosexuality seems kind of gay-obsessed – the vast majority of mankind is in the closet about some damn thing or another.
In a fascinating sequence, the troll mind-healer attempts to cure Elsa’s madness by replacing fantasy with reality – there is no snow magic, the girls were just playing in the snow. This cannot save Elsa, who is by now committed to her fantasy – her “magic” is what makes her special; her vanity cannot stand the boring and sequential bricklaying of value through years of study, work and virtue; she must be “magical” to have value, and this is the prison of her psychosis. Anna is young enough to accept the reality of playing in real snow, and reject the fantasy of snow magic, and so grows up lonely but relatively sane.
Elsa’s parents are too fearful to help Elsa heal her madness, and therefore can only helplessly insist that she “conceal, don’t feel,” and give her gloves to wear so that her magic – her madness – is somewhat restrained by further disconnecting her from reality – wearing gloves means that you cannot touch anything – or anyone – directly. Truly, this is a case of, “glove, no love.”
The madness breaks out after Elsa reaches puberty, and says to her parents, “I’m scared, it’s getting stronger!”
Father: “Getting upset only makes it worse – calm down!”
Elsa: “No! Don’t touch me! Please! I don’t want to hurt you!”
The next thing you know, her parents are dead. What can this mean? In stories, “I don’t want to hurt you!” followed by two cadavers means – what? Well, that Elsa probably murdered her parents – her madness then concocted a story that they drowned in a terrible storm at sea – the storm of her own madness, the storm she refers to in her signature song later. Elsa is not present at her parents’ funeral, perhaps because she was at least suspected of killing them.
After the funeral, Elsa is revealed sitting in her room surrounded by ice, with snowflakes drifting in the air – the death of her parents, probably at her own hands, has cast her into a state of catatonic depression, where she no longer has even the fading will to fight her own madness.
Three years later, Elsa is about to be crowned Queen, since she has come of age. The vacuous idiocy of the culture is revealed by a matron who has dressed her little boy in his uncomfortable Sunday best because, as she says in a breathlessly excited voice, “The Queen has come of age, it’s coronation day!” This dull bovine woman, dressed in plain, poverty-stricken clothes, has probably spent money she does not have – and note, there is no father present – trussing her son up in formal clothes to worship a rich woman born into money and privilege. Broke single moms spending rent money on Princess Diana memorabilia come to mind, or the scene in “Taxi Driver” where broken beta men examine a fragment of bathtub for evidence of an orgy.
Lonely Anna makes her sudden reappearance, alarmingly none the worse for wear after a childhood of crushing isolation and rejection, an imprisoned sister who nearly killed her, and the deaths of both parents. “What horrors? There might be a pretty boy at the DANCE!”
The grand delusion – and insult – for victims of childhood trauma is always that storybook heroes emerge from years of early neglect and abuse with no apparent psychological scars whatsoever. Anna wakes for her sister’s coronation with a goofy smile and a silly song, dancing through the proletariat preparation for the coronation with no thought for the toiling masses that keep her fed and clothed and comfortable, dreaming of romance and sex, pretty in that pedophile Disney stereotype, with eyes literally bigger than her wrists. She has the waist of an anorexic, the skin tone of an agoraphobic, the perfect hair of an obsessive compulsive sexual manipulator, but she presents herself as a clumsy dorkaholic charmer; the male fantasy of a sexy woman who does not know she is sexy, which is about as likely as the twitchy gestures of a mad woman creating a living snowman who loves summer.
The late King did nothing to prepare his daughters for being in charge of a kingdom – there’s no evidence of any education, books, parental conversations, the imparting of wisdom and justice and magnanimity in statecraft. This is notable only in its absence; when the sisters greet each other again for the first time in over a decade, they exchange vapid nothings about how warm it is, how much fun they are having, how pretty each other is, and how much they like chocolaaate. Dear Lord are they adult women or mentally-challenged trivia addicts?
The grim political reality is that neither of these highly unstable women are even remotely fit to rule the kingdom. They show zero interest in economics, politics, education, literacy, the arts – or even the toiling masses around them who keep them in heels and hair clips. (After Anna leaves a man in charge, he does the usual socialist redistribution switcheroo of handing out blankets – the only vaguely political action in the whole movie.)
The moment Anna meets Hans, the young alpha playa who also pretends to be unconscious of his own physical attractiveness, their hormones and dysfunctional neediness flare up and overwhelm any vestiges of self-respect they might have had. Hans turns out to be a manipulative sociopath – like almost all the other men in the movie, of course – but there is a moment where “Frozen” totally cheats by showing Hans staring wistfully and happily after Anna when no one is watching. This is not how evil men work – they turn on the charm until they are alone, then the mask drops.
One of the fantasies that still grips modern society is that men are simple emotional creatures, while women are deep and complex. Men want a beer and sex and food, while women strive for intimate connection and juggle complicated emotional spider webs. This trope only reveals the narcissism of women and the cowardice of men – imagining that you are deep and complex, but others are simple, is one of the primary signs of malignant selfishness. Men should point out that most of the deeply powerful emotional artistic works of mankind were created by men – and in fact, the root story of the movie “Frozen” was written by a man – while women generally grace us with claustrophobic emotional revelations that lead nowhere – think “August: Osage County,” “The Edible Woman,” “The Bell Jar,” and “The Stone Angel.” Women’s obsessive examination of their own fleeting emotions is generally a substitution for rigorous intellectual investigation, and a great excuse to get out of doing anything remotely useful for a man. “I can’t make you a sandwich, I’m conflicted!”
This narcissism shows up when Anna asks Hans about his family, and he replies that he has “twelve older brothers” – and then adds, “Three of them pretended I was invisible – literally – for two years.”
Anna says, “That’s horrible!”
Hans shrugs and says, “That’s what brothers do.”
Annnd that’s about enough of her talking about him – Anna then turns the conversation back to herself and her sister. This is incredibly rude and self-absorbed, and only looks charming because we still treat women like children. It even seems adorable that Anna has been talking the whole time about herself – while also accepting questions from Hans about herself – (“But enough about me, tell me what you think about me!”) Imagine, though, what a messed up family structure Hans must have grown up in – such multi-year sadism at the hands of his brothers must have been birthed from and condoned by equally sadistic parents.
Hans is happy to listen, though, because he is scanning Anna for vulnerabilities – when she reveals how hurt she was by Elsa shutting her out, he says, “I would never shut you out!” – annnnd then she wants to marry him. Self-absorbed people are incredibly vulnerable to exploitation both because they exploit other people continually, and because they do not scan other people for danger, any more than I worry about a knife jumping up from the counter and stabbing me in the heart – tools don’t have sentience, and for a narcissist, you and I are just tools for their own self-aggrandizement.
The song “Love Is an Open Door” contains the self-medicating delusion of all romantic addicts – on meeting a new codependent “one,” they can: “Say goodbye to the pain of the past / We don’t have to feel it anymore!”
Mental anguish tends to result from the avoidance of legitimate suffering, and this is a recipe for all the disasters that follow.
During the coronation, Elsa is terrified to hold the penis-and-testicle ball and rod, and quickly puts them back as they ice over. Astute observers of mental illness will understand that she is terrified that other people will not see the ice, and she will be revealed as mad. That is the real reason her hands are shaking – if you have ever tried to talk a paranoid woman out of her delusions, you’ll recognize the phenomenon. There is no null hypothesis for mental illness – every piece of counter evidence can be wished and willed away, or rejected in blind rage.
When a merchant – i.e. a man who actually works for a living – bows while asking Elsa to dance, the two sisters giggle at him when his toupee flops over. This lofty contempt for and indifference to anyone who works is offensive, but is not noted in the movie because the two girls are so very very pretty. The fact that youthful female beauty is a magic and mad currency all its own is at the root of one of the movie’s main messages. (If it’s any consolation, Anna only judges a man by his looks; when she fantasizes about meeting a man at the ball, she grabs a ruggedly handsome statue to play with. When she first meets Hans, she shifts from snappy to seductive the moment she sees how handsome he is. Nonetheless, women the world over will continue to complain how men objectify their gender.)
Within an hour or two of meeting, Hans asks Anna to marry him, and she says yes. When the mad couple asks for Elsa’s blessing, tempers flare in a ridiculous manner, and a sisterly dispute explodes into a public scene of vicious ill temper. Elsa lashes out with her “snow magic,” which shocks everyone. When we remember that there is no such thing as magic, only madness, the shock and horror of the ruling class at the new queen’s obvious mental instability is understandable. When the young queen is revealed as mad, the kingdom can look forward to many decades of tyranny, economic decay, starvation, mass imprisonment, and war. The townspeople gather outside because they are terrified that the new queen – knowing that she has been locked away since childhood – is going to make their lives a living hell.
Elsa’s “snow magic” is a metaphor for the power of madness coupled with near infinite political authority. Mad women can be witches who live in isolation in the woods – mad queens will destroy the kingdom, and thus cannot be ignored. Radagast versus Caligula…
As Elsa runs through the crowd of increasingly terrified townspeople – subjects to be subjected to decades of her madness – a baby cries, as if seeing his own decaying future in an insane kingdom. Elsa fires another bolt of “magic ice” (really, hysterical verbal abuse) at the bald merchant, and then runs off into the night. When the merchant complains that Elsa tried to kill him, Hans replies, “You slipped on ice.” This indicates that Hans did not see the “ice magic” – another example of its internal nature.
Elsa pauses at the edge of the fjord, while Anna begs her to stay and talk. Deep connection is the antidote to madness, and this is the moment when Elsa chooses to reject her sister and go completely insane. She steps on the warm water, which turns to ice. “The impossible can support me!” she imagines, and strides off confidently over the forming ice into the glorious prison of her own psychosis – not unlike another ancient water-walker.
As Anna decides to go after her sister without any provisions or protection, the glorious “Let It Go” YOLO sequence unrolls.
The lyrics are a revelation:
The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
In the movie, Elsa is leaving footprints as she walks through the deep snow – but she cannot see any footprints, because they are behind her – by breaking with her past, she has gone mad. The manic relief that comes from the fantasy that we can with one savage slash cut the chains of the past and rise like a phoenix, free of all history, is generally a tipping point into insanity, akin to believing that we can escape the endless constraints of gravity, and fly off a tall building. “I’m freeeee… SPLAT!”
A kingdom of isolation,
And it looks like I’m the queen.
She is the queen of her own madness, which fed and grew strong on her childhood isolation.
The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I tried
But – has Elsa really tried? She was told as a child by the wise old troll that fear was her enemy, and she blows up at the ball when Anna asks what she is so afraid of – she is afraid of madness, sure, but she is even more terrified of sanity, of the ordinariness that comes from a lack of magic, and the resulting dull drudge work required for excellence – always anathema to those cursed to inherit great beauty, wealth or power. The storm is not real, not empirical – it is inside Elsa, as the song states. Throughout the movie, the snow has an eerie unreality, from the opening scene of childhood play in the castle, to the female characters seeming imperviousness to its unholy coldness. The madness of a ruler makes the whole kingdom mad – the coldness of a ruler makes the whole kingdom cold – this is the horrifying vulnerability of oligarchical hierarchies. We are not overly bothered if a stranger is mad – the insanity of a ruler infects generations.
Elsa also sings the same notes with two voices at times in the song – not harmonizing. This is the only time this occurs in the movie – or in any musical that I can recall – which also shows the multiplicity of voices in her head.
“Let It Go!” is the great cry of all humanity, the base desire to be free of all restraints – even sensible ones like reason, empiricism and sanity. Who doesn’t want to stay up all night, eat as much sugar and fat as we want, refrain from dull exercising, have sex with whoever we please, abandon responsibilities, go wildly into debt? These are natural and even healthy desires; they lead to technology and efficiency and economic growth when restrained by the voluntarism of the market. In politics, though, they lead to national debts, environmental predation, fiat currencies, massive unfunded liabilities and all other forms of heady unrestrained hedonism to be paid for by the economic hangovers of the next generations. The song would be charming if sung by an emotionally repressed twentysomething – sung by a political ruler, it has a terrifying element – it is only saved from being a dictatorial anthem by Elsa’s refusal to return to her kingdom. Imagine her singing this song from her throne, as her subjects groaned and packed and fled, and you will see what I mean.
No right, no wrong, no rules for me
Free – at whose cost? No rules for the rulers is tyranny for the subjects. Freedom for politicians is enslavement for citizens.
The song climaxes with:
I’m never going back,
The past is in the past
Let it go, let it go
The new dress Elsa crafts for herself, which eats her Puritan smock from toe to sudden cleavage – slit up to the knee, silver skin-tight and with heels no less! – is the mad woman waking up to her sexual powers after leaving an oppressive home. But what is it for? Why would a woman living alone in the mountains need a skin-tight vampy dress? She sings that she does not care what people think, but she still craves the narcissistic attention of imaginary eyeballs, because in madness, there is always an audience, never regenerating solitude. The slinky drawing on the screen knows that she is in a movie theater, and that the show will never ever end.
As the song ends, Elsa rejects the earlier reference that “love is an open door” by literally slamming the door in the audience’s face. Love is an open door; narcissism is a sealed ice fortress of mad magic.
Kristoff is a mountain man who, as a boy, saw Anna being cured by the old wise troll. He is currently what certain sectors would call one of the Men Going Their Own Way – or MGTOW – in that he has no interest in dating or relationships, and is not impressed by a half-naked pretty woman in the middle of a snowstorm. Anna gets him to help her by buying him supplies, and offering to end the winter which is putting a few snags in his ice-selling business.
A truly jaw-dropping sequence ensues when the pair get chased by wolves while careening through the forest on a sled pulled by a manic reindeer named Sven. Anna proves physically dexterous, wise to the ways of the woods, a dead shot with a guitar, and able to both light and accurately throw a burning blanket at a charging wolf. Kristoff – a man with decades of experience in the woods – is twice saved by Anna, a 16-year-old girl who has almost never left her castle.
This blatant appeal to female vanity is highly insulting to everyone involved. Anna has probably never even ridden on a sled, let alone tried to hang on to one bouncing around trees in a forest while being chased by wolves in the dark. Yet she keeps her balance while Kristoff falls off, and she saves him from being eaten by wolves, and from falling into a chasm by hurling an ice pick and having it expertly land and lodge a hairs breadth from his fingertips. Would she even know what an ice pick is, or how to tie an expert knot, or how to throw it so it lands perfectly – and do all this in less than 10 seconds?
This may sound like nitpicking, but it is a truly essential point. When you think of movie montages, one of the most common is the amateur man becoming an expert at something through grueling and repetitive training, usually at the hands of an older expert who pushes him relentlessly. This is most common in sports films, of course, but it also occurs in films about intellectual achievement.
The opening of the movie “Frozen” baffled me for quite some time – why was there an extended and dull sequence of men cutting holes in ice and shipping them down to the city? The music was monotonous and dirge-like, and it seemed to have little to do with the rest of the story, which was about sisters and sex and magic and madness.
It hit me eventually – men produce ice through dangerous, hard, grueling labor in freezing conditions. Women produce ice through magic. When Kristoff first sees Elsa’s ice castle, he says that he is going to cry, because it is so beautiful. A team of expert men would take months to produce such a masterpiece – vampish Elsa creates it with a wave of her hands in about 20 seconds.
Even Elsa’s magical powers, repressed and unpracticed for over a decade, flower into ornate and powerful life the moment she flees the city. How could a skill so long avoided be so expertly wielded? When I was a little boy, I spoke German, but I don’t think there’s any amount of emotional disinhibition and icy spandex wear that would ever have me speaking German fluently again without massive retraining.
So – why is the grueling pursuit of excellence such a common theme in men’s movies, but not in women’s? There are a few exceptions, like the training sequences in the movie version of “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” and “Million Dollar Baby,” but it is extremely rare to see a woman starting off as incompetent at some pursuit, and then submitting to months or years of rigorous training in order to achieve excellence.
Why is that?
Women often complain that they are not represented at the tops of highly challenging fields such as business, science, technology, engineering and medicine – but they don’t seem to roll their eyes when women are continually presented as being experts at some challenging field without any training or experience whatsoever. Imagine pitching a movie idea about a man who is overweight, out of shape, and then rolls off the couch, jumps into a boxing ring, and wins the heavyweight championship of the world – what would people say? They would say that the story was so unbelievable that it would cast serious doubts on your sanity. “How the hell could some out of shape guy go and win a boxing match? That’s an insult to all the people who actually do train and work incredibly hard to get to the top of their profession!”
Surely women know the amount of work it takes to become really skilled at something – why on earth would they not understand how insulting and limiting it is to tell women they can become experts without working? There is no better way to keep women out of the top tiers of professions than by telling them that they are great just by breathing, and that to be peppy and charming and spunky makes them the equivalent of a man with over 20 years of experience in a dangerous environment!
The reality is that Anna, by charging after her sister without any proper winter gear or provisions, would just end up freezing to death on the mountain. If she did manage to make it onto the sled, she would have fallen off at the first sign of trouble, and been eaten by the wolves. If she somehow survived all that, she never would have been able to jump the chasm, or save Kristoff from falling, and so she would have ended up alone with the reindeer, and died on the mountain.
It is a horrible form of sexism to pretend to women that they can be just as good as an experienced man without any experience at all – it discourages them from taking the necessary steps to work hard to achieve excellence, condemning them to lives of mediocrity; useless youthful sexual power, followed by decaying middle-age resentment.
There is a low rent form of biological truth in this formulation, however. Young men are worth substantially less in the sexual marketplace than young women, because young men do not have a lot of resources to provide to pregnant and child-raising women, while young women have a decade or two of fertility ahead of them. Older men have more resources to provide to women, but are generally less physically appealing. In the sexual marketplace, women are born rich, and grow poor, while men are born poor, and grow rich. This is the main reason why these silly, mad and vacuous women are portrayed as magical, wealthy and carefree. The true aristocracy of mankind is attractive young women, particularly in a post-aristocratic democracy. This is one reason why so many young women aspire to vanity and inconsequentiality – to be interested in weighty and serious matters is to confess unattractiveness, since if you are physically beautiful, men will pave and pay your way.
Young women so often mistake their sexual appeal for personal value, since it is infinitely easier to giggle and surf the tsunami of male desires than it is to struggle for a life of virtue and meaning. A young woman can create an invention, for which she can take enormous credit – male sexual desire is a force of nature that aims at the wombs of fertile young women, for which no young women can take credit. A young woman is born with the eggs the man’s sperm wants to get at; it is nothing she has earned. It is a mere reproductive aristocracy, of no philosophical or personal value whatsoever, unless we are willing to grant lady frogs medals of virtue for getting hundreds of eggs coated in male sperm.
This is the magic that is really occurring in the movie. The magic of foolish young women who imagine that the world revolves around their wonderful personalities, when it really just revolves around their accidental eggs. This is the real reason why we see fewer cinematic women struggling to achieve excellence and value through years of hard work – because they are born with eggs, and so have value, at least while they are young. They imagine that their personalities are all kinds of wonderful, but their wonder dies as their eggs die, leaving them bewildered and enraged, and unable to admit that they squandered the golden magic of their accidental inheritance on personal vanity and easy sex. Like a rich man who pays for his friends, attractive young women are so often unwilling to see if anyone actually asks them out for who they really are, without financial or biological bribery. Female vanity is a slow sexual suicide – the rich man may not run out of money, but the pretty young woman will always run out of youth.
Many young women love to forget that they are attractive for the sole purpose of making babies – this reality must be obscured in “Frozen,” so that youthful female vanity is not threatened, which is why – except for the royals – we never see a nuclear family throughout the entire movie, with its cast of hundreds. The trader in the woods has a gay family in his sauna, the mother at the coronation has no husband; two men clap each other’s backs on the way to the ceremony – even the royal family, with two parents and two children, never spend time all together, and of course are highly dysfunctional. Both sisters are orphans, Kristoff is an orphan, the snowman has no parents of course, and Hans is fleeing his abusive family, who remains off-screen.
Young women milking their sexual appeal don’t like to see functional or happy nuclear families, because it reminds them that they are using their sexuality in the wrong way. A young woman’s sexuality is designed to evoke a commitment from a quality man, not just feed her own vanity. Also, seeing a functional family reminds her that time is always running out, and that every day that she spends using her sexuality for vanity, rather than commitment, it fades and falls and loses value. This creates deep anxiety in the young woman, which would be enormously healthy, because it would provoke a change towards maturity and responsibility, but what is sometimes called “cultural Marxism” in society is little more than a bunch of predatory artists and academics being paid by women to avoid provoking rational anxiety about squandering their sexual value on alpha orgasms, man candy estrogen status, and narcissistic selfie vanity.
Why does Anna “fall in love” with Hans? Because he is good looking, and obviously of high status – she first runs into his very expensive horse – the equivalent of a Ferrari in the mythical kingdom – and then sees his costly clothing and perfect hair. Men are turned on by nudity, because it signals fertility; women are turned on by expensive clothes and cars, because they signal excess resources, which they can milk in order to produce milk for their children.
Viewed another way, why does Anna not fall in love with Kristoff the mountain man? Why does he get “friend zoned,” even though he is good looking, saves her life several times, and is willing to push back against her vanity madness – he is shocked that she wants to marry a man she just met.
This is a cliché of romantic comedies – the woman is in pursuit of a really hot guy, is helped by a beta-male friend, who she then falls in love with at the end of the movie. “I was looking the world over for love that was right under my nose the whole time!”
The simple reality is that Anna has no romantic response to Kristoff because he is low status – he is an orphan who takes years to pay off the cost of an old sled. He is a tool to be paid – and used – in pursuit of her own goals and desires. She submits to the insanity of Hans, because he is high status – while contemptuously rejecting the sanity of Kristoff, because he is low status.
Anna does “fall in love” with Kristoff at the end, but only after she has been violently rejected by the alpha male Hans. In other words, Kristoff is the regretful and humiliated “Plan B,” and if an even remotely enlightened male had written the film, Kristoff would have taken her sled and gone elsewhere. As the saying goes, “Alpha Lays, Beta Pays.” Young women often keep a harem of men in the friend zone, so that they can marry her if she fails to land an alpha. We see this so many times in romantic comedies, when a woman extracts a promise from a male friend to marry her if she is still single when she is 40. This also occurs if the woman has a child with an alpha male, and then needs resources from another man after the alpha vanishes. (Prior to the welfare state, the woman would at least have to woo a beta male to get those resources; now, the government simply forcibly extracts the resources she needs from the general population, and hands them over in return for her vote. Or, alternatively, she has a few kids with him, then divorces him and lives off alimony and child support for the next few decades, again, with the full power of the government at her disposal.)
Women are as attracted to power and status as men are attracted to youth and beauty – this is why in fairy tales, the women are always beautiful, and always hot for princes and kings – the well-decorated mass murderers of history. The ancient equation of resources and fertility is well expressed in the line from the song “Summertime” – “Your daddy’s rich, and your mamma’s good-looking!” (Alternatively, most fairy tales could be more accurately re-titled, “Putting out for Sociopaths!”)
After delivering Anna to Hans, Kristoff is striding back into the woods, followed by his reindeer. The reindeer wants him to go back to Anna – clearly, the reindeer is Kristoff’s animal instincts – and literally picks Kristoff up in his horns – the horns used for sexual combat – and tries to deliver him back to Anna. We are tools that our genetics use to reproduce – our toes help us keep our balance only so that we can make more toes for them. Our animal selves do not care about love, or virtue, or pride – only about the endless blind photocopier of DNA reproduction. Lust powers insemination, it does not serve virtue.
The skeptical face the reindeer makes when Kristoff says that Hans is Anna’s “true love” is not skepticism about Hans, but about the mad delusion called “true love.” “True love” is in reality the lowering of rational skepticism in the face of potential reproduction. Our hormones point us at wombs and sperms, and we rationalize this as “love” after the fact; “love” is an ex post facto avoidance of lizard-level breeding hysteria.
Adult love, mature love, grows slowly and empirically, after witnessing consistently virtuous and courageous behavior on the part of another – lizard love is a mere “squirt and sleep” cover story. It shows up so often as “love” in fairy tales because fairies do not in fact exist.
Olaf the snowman is the beta harem male kept around by Anna in case none of her real men marry her, or she just needs something. He keeps telling her he loves her, she never reciprocates or shows any real interest in him. In one fascinating sequence, Olaf sings about his love of summer – of light, of warmth, and thus of love – Kristoff wants to tell him that his dream is impossible, i.e. that he will remain forever in the friend zone – but Anna says, “Don’t you dare!” Betas are to romance as snowmen are to summer – come not between the vain woman and her soft and encouraged prey.
The “twist” at the end of the movie is that Elsa finally wakes up to how much she loves Anna when Anna “sacrifices” herself for her sister. This is a strange concept of sacrifice, since Elsa has already slow-murdered Anna by shredding her heart with snow magic. First of all, this is an apt metaphor for spending time with crazy and dangerous people – their personalities are socially transmitted diseases; like water poured into a container, most of us eventually turn into – or remain – whoever we surround ourselves with. We can change our tribe, but we cannot change that our tribe is our destiny. Anna wants nothing more than to spend time with Elsa, but Elsa is crazy and cold, and thus Anna turns into an ice statue of death.
This is needy and codependent self-sacrifice turned completely pathological – sacrificing your life to save someone who has murdered you is like offering up your second kidney to a man who just gouged your first one with a rusty spoon.
In true teenage sentimental suicide fashion, Elsa awakens to her love for Anna only after Anna has “died” for her sake. Anna could have been saved by an act of true love – Kristoff returning to save her, visible through the blowing snow – but instead she decides to sacrifice herself for her sister, exhaling her last breath after her suicide breaks Hans’s sword.
Anna has at last awoken Elsa’s heart by dying for her sake. This fantasy of redemption through death is the basis of war and memorials and medals – the mad fantasy of the codependent enablers of abusers is that just one more act of self-sacrifice will magically awaken empathy and compassion in the scarred hearts of those who hurt them. Given that empathy is a complex series of systems in the brain that require imprinting throughout infancy and toddlerhood – or a skill painfully acquired in adulthood through the rigorous pursuit of self-knowledge – this fantasy is like me pretending that if I repeatedly bash my knuckles in with a ball peen hammer, my 80-year-old Scottish neighbor will suddenly burst into fluent Mandarin.
Much like vampire movies and “The Hunger Games” – and a steady diet of junk food, violence and pornography – “Frozen” portrays relationships as exciting through insanity, through madness and magic and self-sacrifice and, well – dramaaa! The simple act of earned and intimate connections through honesty and vulnerability is like raw carrots to the mad chocolate of murder and betrayal and magic and suicide and sacrifice and redemption, blah blah blah. People who cannot connect are always playing games; there are no hugs in tennis or combat marriages, except at the end, when weary combatants may agree to be buried together. Lives lived without truth must always be inflated with the hysteria of status; a self-loathing man sneers from within the metal coffin of his BMW, an empty woman pushes up her cleavage, the aged cry over faded photographs, and no one connects with anyone. If you turn your world into a war zone, you never have to talk about your feelings, your history, your fears, your anger and hope – you dodge bullets, hurl ice, climb mountains and flee wolves. You become a mere mammal; tribal, blind, needy and immune to self-reflection.
The madness of the ending – “I will love you only when you are dead!” – is hard to fathom. The moral of the story – “An act of true love will thaw a frozen heart” – will help breed legions of codependent cannon fodder for sociopaths and narcissists: “If my heart is still frozen, it’s because you do not love me enough!” What drama, what excitement, what abuse! What a waste. It is nobody’s job to thaw a frozen heart, except perhaps bad parents who should pay therapists to repair the damage they have done.
When the endless snow thaws, strangely enough no one drowns – can you imagine megatons of ice and snow thawing in about ten seconds, over a village surrounded by mountains – this would be an oceanic avalanche, but of course the physics of nature is as violated in the movie as the physics of relationships.
At the end of the movie, Anna “gives” Kristoff a sled, which sounds generous until we remember that Anna has never actually had a job. She’s using her political power to forcibly transfer wealth from the townspeople to Kristoff, which is of course slightly less charitable. This continues the metaphor of sexual desirability – Anna no more earns the sled she gives to Kristoff than the sexual value she provides to him as well. She inherits both, earns neither, and knows nothing. Hmmm, she gives him a slippery money-maker she has not earned; they might as well have put a beaver on it and a bumper sticker that says “slippery when wet!”
Young people who mistake accidents for value – “I’m pretty/rich/athletic/talented!” – are about the highest maintenance people you will ever have the misfortune to meet, because time inevitably attacks their fantasies; in the long run, character always sandblasts away the illusions of luck. Like an aging Blanche Dubois, vanity requires the constant sacrifice of other people’s integrity and reality.
You might think it is feeding you, but it is really eating others.
Stefan Molyneux, May 2014
Stefan Molyneux, May 2014
Host, Freedomain Radio