Ah, princess problems. I’m in it again, people: Call it a princess place. Call it a princess problem. Call it a PRINCESS PALOOZA.
Literally, call it a Princess Palooza. Because that’s the name I’ve obnoxiously-coined for my first-born’s upcoming 4th birthday party.
PRINCESS PALOOZA. For real. I’m teetering on the edge, folks… teetering on the edge. I’ve even hired a ‘Snow Queen’ to come surprise the dozen unsuspecting little girls that will be gleefully playing in crowns and gowns in my backyard on the big day. (NOTE: I can’t legally call this ‘Snow Queen’ Elsa, because the fabulous-and-talented gal that’s going to swoop in and entertain us all in a glittery teal gown is not technically licensed through Disney… although she’s so amazing, she probably should be. That’s another story.)
The most freakish part about this? I’m really excited. Like, I get all weepy and happy and giggly and fluttery at the THOUGHT of my little girl squealing when her most fascinating idol appears at her house. I’ve never done this kind of party before. There’s a part of me that even questions if I should do this… given my previous post about piecing together this big princess problem.
After way too much back-and-forth overanalyzing, I couldn’t avoid it any longer: We are obsessed with princesses. Proudly obsessed. Elsa put us over the edge. After much hanging on and resisting falling off that cliff, I’ve finally let it go. We’ve all let it go, haven’t we? Princesses are no longer antiquated and evil for the modern mom trying to teach her girls self-sufficiency and assertiveness.
Princesses are now like that schticky page in featuring celebrities pumping gas in USWeekly… “They’re just like US!”
Recently, ABC Television Network aired The Story of Frozen: Making a Disney Animated Classic… and also announced a short film called Frozen Fever to debut spring 2015. After discovering this, I thought: This special isn’t airing during awards season as part of a campaign… (that’s the entertainment reporter in me talking). Frozen ALREADY won all their awards last year. The DVDs are already released (and still selling out). Why is this airing NOW, almost a year after this movie premiered? Sure, it won all the Oscars it was up for. Sure, it’s one of the highest grossing movies of all time. Sure, it got my little girl to set her fear aside and ride a horse for the first time. Sure, it’s spawned countless takes of mommy-daughter singing sessions in our kitchen. But really: WHY THE HELL DO WE ALL STILL CARE ABOUT THIS MOVIE SO MUCH? IT’S. A. MOVIE. AN ANIMATED MOVIE.
We care because Frozen made princesses (and, queens) REAL and RELATABLE. That’s a BIG deal. A big deal for any kind of women’s movement… and a big deal for humankind altogether. (No, I’m not being dramatic about this. Well maybe, but as a mom of two little girls who live and die by this most special film, I believe it, ok?) The characters Anna and Elsa are unsure of themselves, kind at heart, misinformed, ignorant, confused and just trying to make sense of life… just like the rest of us. (If you watch the 1-hour special, you’ll be fascinated to see all the sneaky tricks the animation team used to make these gals seem ‘real’ — amazing. Not to mention, “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” wasn’t even in the final cut of the movie until just before release! ?!?! That’s the geeky former film critic in me talking now. Aaaaaaand: It took Frozen 70 years to get made!)
The cold truth of our times is: We live in a world that seems to be too amped up in the scary department lately. (Geez, I sound like my mother.) We do. You know it. Besides wishing my daughters a happy, healthy life, I also hope and pray that they grow up to be assured of themselves and confident in whoever they grow up to be. I want my girls to have positive role models that extend beyond myself, family and friends. I want my girls to have depth and empathy for their peers who might have a complicated backstory (like Elsa did). I want my girls to learn to extend kindness to others… and if super-cool, animated characters with glitter and great hair inspire that kind of thing, who cares? I’ll take it.
As a chick who literally thought I WAS Snow White reincarnated when I was a wee 4 years old (just ask my mom how I embarrassed her, singing my heart out at Disneyland’s Wishing Well), I can still see bits of myself when I watch Anna and Elsa (by now I think I’ve watched them 349.776 times). What grown women hasn’t endured (and, overcome) a broken heart, had an intense argument with a sibling, questioned her talents and wondered why the hell she has them in the first place (and what she’s supposed to do with them during the course of her life) and on and on. The essences of Anna and Elsa are in all of us, mothers or not. The weirdest part about this whole thing is that they’re princesses. Princesses represent what we (as a culture) have perceived to be ‘a perfect life’… and to have realism and fantasy clash in one beautiful story of two sisters – complete with the reinvention of what true love really means – is jarring, eye-opening and invigorating. Maybe our kids are intoxicated by the magic of the realism. Maybe our mundane, realistic lives are more magical that they first appear… and we just have to stop and teach ourselves to see through the fog and recognize it.
That’s why we still care so much about Frozen. That’s why we love princesses. That’s why we’ll party in our crowns and wave our wands at our own Princess Palooza… to celebrate life’s magic that is really and truly REAL (even if that means watching a slew of 4 year olds losing their minds when a real life Snow Queen shows up in my backyard).