Will Disney Really Give Elsa a Girlfriend?

There’s been a hashtag floating around the internet called #giveelsaagirlfriend, in which supporters think the ice-slinging Elsa from Frozen should be Disney’s first homosexual main character. Even the voice actress, Idina Menzel, thinks it’s a good idea (source).

Incidentally, this has also sparked the hashtag #giveelsaagirlfriend jack, which says Elsa would be better off with Jack Frost from Dreamworks’s Rise of the Guardians.

You may now fight over which is better.

jack_and_elsa___jelsa_by_dariawhite-d7d0208
Let the fandom battle BEGIN!!!

Should it happen?

I’m not going to debate whether homosexuality is right or wrong, but I have been wondering whether or not it will actually happen. First, let’s look at it from an artistic standpoint: SHOULD Elsa have a girlfriend?

Some say evidence already exists in the movie Frozen, in that she has no boy toy hanging around and no suitors come calling for Elsa.

Honestly, that’s pretty thin. Just because no men are around doesn’t mean Elsa doesn’t like them. And as for there being no suitors, Elsa wouldn’t even see her own sister, remember? (Do you wanna build a snowmaaaan?)  She was scared of her powers, so marriage was probably not on her list of things to do–ever.

Still, there’s no hard evidence that she’s hetero, either, so it could happen. My worry, however, is that it will happen for the sake of happening. I know a lot of LGBT people want this, but if that’s the only reason, it’s not enough.

Movies are still art. Characters have to be crafted with care and intent. Disney is great at this, but they’re also great at selling out. Bowing to the masses is merely selling out, and I doubt the LGBT crowd wants Disney to make a lesbian character just to make money off of them.

If it’s a good character choice, that’s one thing. If it’s to satisfy Twitter, that’s lame.

Elsa

But what are the odds?

Let’s get one thing clear: Disney loves money. They make great movies (usually), but they love money. They’re making Cars 3 for pity sake. And remember all those horrible straight-to-DVD sequels of the early 2000s? And have you ever checked prices at a Disney store? They are a business and businesses want to make money.

So would writing Elsa as a lesbian make them more money or less?

I’d say…less.

You may say, “But Mike, think of all the LGBT people who will flock to see a sequel and buy Frozen products if they make her gay!” To which I would say, “They’ll spend that money no matter what.”

This is Frozen. The most popular Disney franchise of all time. Disney has peaked with this one. LGBT people may be disappointed if they don’t make Elsa a lesbian, but this is a wish, not a promise Disney made. Read that Idina Menzel article again. Even she essentially said she’s fine either way. The LGBT people will spend their money on Frozen anyway because it’s a great movie and Elsa is a strong character either way.

Some may boycott it, but I doubt it would be a large percentage. It would be more of a bummer than an outrage.

Now if they DO make her gay…oooooh, the backlash.

Elsa 2.png
“You won’t like me when I’m frosty.”

Despite the recent trends, homosexuality is still a touchy subject among conservatives and Christians. They are far more likely to boycott than anyone else, and trust me, they would boycott this movie.

Not only does the right wing of our beloved bald eagle run away from all things LGBT, but they also have their children to think about. They don’t want their impressionable babies to experience anything they themselves don’t agree with, and Frozen is primarily targeted at kids. If they introduced homosexuality, conservative moms and dads would ban it faster than a genderbent Harry Potter (ten bucks says that’s already a thing).

And that’s not all. This is the age of brand boycotting. If Disney decides it’s okay to put gay characters in their movies, conservatives may be hesitant to ever support Disney again. Just look at how people reacted to a lesbian couple that WASN’T the focus of Finding Dory!

The verdict? …Unlikely. 

Disney can either disappoint the LGBT crowd or royally piss off the conservatives. Considering their track record for tossing art out the window to make a buck, I doubt they’d put the LGBT crowd’s opinions higher than their bottom line (or lower, or however that metaphor works).

Now if this was a new, untried movie where they had a blank slate and nothing to lose, the odds would be higher. LGBT people would flock to it even if it turned out not to be very good and brand boycotting is less likely than boycotting an individual movie.

Of course, I could be wrong. This is only my speculation, and it’s mostly based on my analysis of Disney as a company. Anything could happen.

But who cares what I think? Do you think it’s likely Elsa will ever have a ladyfriend? Or do you prefer her to shack up with Jack Frost? 

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9 thoughts on “Will Disney Really Give Elsa a Girlfriend?

  1. I’m not entirely sure I agree that it’d make less money. Conservatives have already called for boycotts of past movies over pretty non-controversial stuff. I suppose the trick is in how the movie would do it. If they make her sexuality the main point of the film that might come at the expense of the writing, as it often does; I liked Frozen because I felt it was really well written, and even if they gave her a girlfriend I don’t know that I’d like it if the quality dropped.

    But don’t underestimate the power of exposure. There are a looooot of people, myself included, who are desperate to see more of us in popular media. A lot of my media purchases are heavily influenced by what kind of characters are in them.

    That said, I don’t think they would give her a girlfriend (or boyfriend). Frozen has been out too long. It would probably be seen as a pandering move to do it this late in the game, just like people got mad at JK Rowling for going, “Oh, uh, by the way, Dumbledore’s gay.” I wouldn’t personally be upset by it — an attempt is an attempt — but they have plenty of future stuff they can do this in. Like the lesbian couple in Finding Dory whose five seconds of existence caused a massive furor.

    In the end I think, sure, they’re in it for the money, but from a company as established as Disney and the dwindling influence of homophobic people, it’s no longer enough of a concern. At least imo.

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  2. First of all, if Disney gives Elsa a girlfriend to satisfy Twitter, I agree, it’s just lame. Elsa has so much potential as far as character development, and I think it’s just…degrading (maybe not that word but) to assume she even needs a romantic partner to make the story interesting, or to have a happy ending. She’s the first woman princess/queen (I don’t really count Merdida because she’s just a teen) to make it to the end of the movie without a love interest, and I think that’s pretty neat. People love her because she shows that just because you are single, doesn’t mean you have to feel lonely. So I don’t understand why she should have one at all.

    All that aside though, do I think Disney will give her one? No. Like you said, Disney is a company, and companies like money. Not to say theyre heartless, but I really doubt they would put their biggest animated franchise on the line for teenagers on Twitter. Not only would American conservatives have a fit, but also countries like China who aren’t really “LGBT friendly” wouldn’t likely show it in their countries. All around, I wouldn’t call it a smart move.

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    1. Ooh, I didn’t think about international appeal. If China banned the movie, that would cut a huge chunk of Disney’s profits. Sure, the Chinese people could internet their way into the film, but I doubt it would get Disney any money. Good thoughts.

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  3. Very doubtful. If this election (and North Carolina, and Indiana, and Pence himself , etc…..) is any evidence homophobia is not dwindling but making a strong resurgence. It would be a huge controversial choice right now, and Disney isn’t in to controversy. They like to people please sure, but we elected an African American President before they had an African American princess. Maybe when we get a gay president it’ll happen.

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  4. Hmmm it’s hard to say whether Disney will give Elsa a girlfriend, because while LGBT voices are more visible and respected these days, the conservative side is also a strong force. Y’know, culture wars.

    I hadn’t thought of China but that’s another factor too, now that Anonymous mentions it. And different countries are at different levels in acceptance of LGBT individuals. It’s also hard to say whether it’ll turn out to be just to please fans; it will depend on how it’s written out.

    Speaking of China, my friend mentioned this World of Warcraft movie that managed to become popular with the audience in China, and as a result, the people who made the movie have decided to make more of these movies. Apparently, if you do well in China, you’ll do well period.

    As for Jack Frost and Elsa, he’s now an immortal spirit while Elsa is a mortal human, so that’s something to consider.

    “If they introduced homosexuality, conservative moms and dads would ban it faster than a genderbent Harry Potter (ten bucks says that’s already a thing).”

    Genderbent Harry Potter would be more controversial than regular Harry Potter? Speaking of that, there are some fictional universes that lend themselves well to genderbending–it’s a great way to explore what things would play out differently, and what would play out the same. Even something as simple as 2 characters swapping places who happen to be of the opposite gender.

    Wow that went off to another topic didn’t it?

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    1. Apparently Sword Art Online season 2 did a genderbending thing, but it was really just a stupid random stunt rather than an actual exploration or anything, you know, real. So I’ve heard. And I believe the thing about China. 1 Billion people there and a pretty big global player, so that’s influence.

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  5. If Disney gives Elsa a girlfriend, they’re out of their minds. I’m not here to argue the morality of it all, but the Frozen franchise is probably Disney’s biggest money maker (next to Star Wars and maybe Marvel), so it’s just a big risk they probably shouldn’t take. If they decide to put gay characters in their movies (which someday they probably will) it would be safer to create new characters, not use iconic ones like Elsa. That way, they could test the waters so to speak without endangering one of their most popular franchises. And like Zoe pointed out, different countries are at different levels of acceptance, so even if it does well in the US, there’s no promise it’ll be that way in China and other counties.

    Also, like Sacredstruggler noted, The Princess and the Frog wasn’t released until after Obama became the first African American president. I wouldn’t necessarily say that that in itself was a green light for Disney, like “okay it’s acceptable to have a black princess’s now”. But it probably left Disney pretty confident that people’s attitudes had shifted over the years, and that the movie would do well at the box office.

    So let’s pretend for a moment that a gay person was running for office this year. Now let’s ask the question, could they get elected with a strong majority in 2016? I would argue no. Let me clarify, I’m not saying this as a hater, I’m saying this as a realist. It would not happen. It just would not happen, at least in this election. The attitudes in the US have definitely shifted in recent years, but there are still so many people who’s views haven’t. I mean heck, we haven’t even had a woman president yet, so the chances of a gay one seem pretty slim.

    But my real point is, until there’s a vast majority of people willing to pay for their child to watch a lesbian princess, and until there is a definite sign of majority acceptance, Disney just won’t go there, not with Frozen. Even if all the teenagers on Twitter promise to watch the movie, that won’t compensate for the money they need to make off of kids, because that’s really who the movie is directed at. It’s directed at kids whose parents will buy them dolls, and toys, and tickets to Disney World, and Anna and Elsa consumes, etc etc. that’s not to say all parents wouldn’t allow it, many would, but a big enough amount wouldn’t, and Disney likes that $$$. Like you said “ooooh the backlash” (sorry that was long).

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    1. You make a good point about the merchandise. Disney is far more than just films, which is fine, but if they don’t like the film, all that merch goes nowhere and the “teens on Twitter” aren’t likely to buy it themselves. Actually, the “teens on Twitter” would probably torrent the movie anyway, so Disney would lose that money, too.

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