Disney, why are you now trying to pretend women don’t exist in your movies? 9

So before Monsters University yesterday, one of the previews they played was this one for Frozen.

Now, this is still the description of the movie from the Disney site for Frozen.

Walt Disney Animation Studios, the studio behind “Tangled” and “Wreck-It Ralph,” presents “Frozen,” a stunning big-screen comedy adventure. Fearless optimist Anna (voice of Kristen Bell) sets off on an epic journey—teaming up with rugged mountain man Kristoff (voice of Jonathan Groff) and his loyal reindeer Sven—to find her sister Elsa (voice of Idina Menzel), whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. Encountering Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman named Olaf, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom.

The trailer above is underwhelming to say the least. I am completely un-whelmed, really. If nothing else, it gives the impression that it’s a movie about Olaf the snowman. Or possibly just the cute animated short that will lead for the movie, since that seems to be a thing now for Disney. For a bonus, Olaf is also the character who shows up on the story page. (Though in the art there are some nice pictures of Anna and Kristoff.) Kind of makes it seem like this is a movie about a doofy reindeer and snowman combo (Ice Age-esque, really) and involves no humans, let alone any girl ones, at all.

The reason this gives me no warm fuzzies whatsoever reaches back to the debacle with the Rapunzel movie’s title being changed to Tangled because otherwise people would assume it was a girly movie or something. Yes, this is just a pre-pre-pre trailer, but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth, like they’re trying to disguise what the movie is really about. Because girl stuff is yucky and we all know boys won’t watch girl stuff. (But girls totally watch boy stuff all the time. Because that is the natural order of things.)

Another bonus! This is what the Japanese trailer looks like!

Hint: Anna spends a lot of time in the trailer mentioning her sister and her sister’s magic. And Anna exists in the trailer! And is plainly the heroine of the story!

DOUBLE BONUS: The Japanese title of the movie is 『アナと雪の女王』–Translated: Anna and the Snow Queen. Not something as non-specific as Frozen.

Disney, why the fuck are you now trying to pretend women are not present in–nay, CENTRAL TO–your movies? Is it the same utter, contemptible bullshit that motivated the title change for Rapunzel? Well, little girls watch boy movies and then we can hook them in with the princess thing, but we shouldn’t even try to get little boys interested in movies with women? Is that the thing now?

This just infuriates me. I get that it makes marketing sense, if you think that’s what’ll get butts in the seats. That doesn’t make any less infuriating. Before The Princess and the Frog, there were plenty of Disney movies that had a title centered around the leading lady. But the issue has now been made into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Way to reinforce the idea that women in lead roles just don’t get butts in the seats by making them vanish.

9 thoughts on “Disney, why are you now trying to pretend women don’t exist in your movies?

  1. Reply Jen Jul 11,2013 13:14

    From what I know the first look trailer was only a teaser trailer. Disney, typically and from what I remember always plays the humor aspect in their teaser trailer. I don’t really understand your point about Disney trying to pretend women don’t exist in their movie. Almost all the marketing I’ve seen for this movie has been focused around Anna and Elsa. As for the title change, I think they changed it from the Snow Queen to Frozen because it’s supposed to be loosely based on the original tale, not a remake of it. But that’s just my grain of salt.

    • Reply Rachael Jul 11,2013 13:17

      The question then becomes why is the title still focused on the Snow Queen in Japan? Why is their trailer that different? I wouldn’t be so bothered by this if it weren’t for the move Disney already made with Rapunzel.

      The movie being only loosely based on the original story certainly hasn’t stopped then from using the original story’s name before.

      • Reply Jen Jul 11,2013 13:49

        I have no idea why they changed the title in Japan, but I think the trailer is different because they got an official trailer while we got the teaser. My guess is that we’ll get the official trailer when Planes is released.

        • Reply Rachael Jul 11,2013 13:54

          I’ll be interested to see what the next trailer looks like for certain. Though I’ll have to catch it online since I couldn’t be less interested in Planes if I tried.

          I certainly don’t mind being wrong. It happens often enough.

  2. Reply Janiece Jul 11,2013 13:40

    I swear to Christ, Rachael, are you trying to give me an aneurysm? Lately my feminism is taking my blood pressure to DANGEROUS LEVELS.

  3. Reply Kat Jul 11,2013 18:51

    The original trailer I saw for this (while looking up something for Mina on a Disney site) was completely focused on Anna; I didn’t even know about the snowman. So hopefully they’ll use that one ultimately. (Mina wasn’t interested, weirdly enough)

    • Reply Rachael Jul 11,2013 18:54

      I’m totally good with being wrong, that’s for sure.

      Weird I wonder why Mina wasn’t that interested. Not princess-y enough maybe?

  4. Reply David Merriam Jul 13,2013 06:09

    A lot of cartoons do this, regardless of the gender of the main characters. Ice Age did it (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_vrwzeSBSI), Despicable Me did it (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oh5X_8BPsA). I’m sure there are others. It seems that a lot of children’s cartoon movie producers aim to draw people in with cutesy side characters with self-contained stories…maybe so the kids will laugh and encourage the parents to take them?

    In any case, I’m also rather underwhelmed by this teaser. Hopefully the main characters are significantly better (and less annoying) than this doofus.

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