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Why my Grandkids Can’t Let It Go

Posted in ChicagoNow, April 7, 2014

During a recent gathering of my family, my grandkids staged numerous performances of scenes and songs from Frozen. One of them had not even seen the movie, but the songs and characters permeated play at his daycare. The others admittedly had seen it so often, now that it’s out in DVD, and had listened to the downloaded music so regularly, that they could perform every word of every song. A hilarious operetta ensued as the most obsessed, my 7 and 8-year-old granddaughters, alternated voices in a duet between Elsa and Anna.

My grandkids’ love of this movie is not unique. Frozen just surpassed Finding Nemo to become the most popular animated movie ever. The sound track is the #1 album. The new sing-along theater release has kids dancing in the aisles, and “Let It Go” won the Oscar for best song.

In an earlier blog post, I wrote a multi-generational review of Frozen. At the time, I was fascinated by my expectation of a Disney Princess versus that of my daughters and granddaughters. I did not see the ending coming. I foolishly expected the “true love’s kiss” thing to mean a guy was coming to the rescue. My grandkids knew all along it would be a sister thing. Times change (thankfully). This princess celebrates accepting who you are rather than changing to meet the expectations of others.

So now, after viewing snippets of Frozen on DVD and listening to endless versions of the sound track, I am pondering a different question: What is the movie’s allure for kids? There are several bits from the movie that have been woven into their daily lives…

The braid – Girls must have their hair braided loosely on the side to enable them to swoosh it properly as a sign of their liberation.

The stance – Arm out proudly as a sign of letting “it” go.

Flashes of power – Goes with the stance, and sound effects suggest magical freezing abilities and assorted other powers.

Let It Go – Sung at top volume and with total joy.

My granddaughter even chose the featured image as the logo for our t-shirts for the Cystic Fibrosis Great Strides Walk next month.

My children, their parents, used to watch Wonder Woman religiously. Although the show, featuring Lynda Carter, was on television from 1975-79, it’s reruns dominated children’s TV through the 80’s. At the time, I liked that my daughters wove this character into their Barbie games. Unlike Malibu Barbie, Wonder Woman was powerful and had a great song.

So is Elsa the Wonder Woman of their children’s era? Have little girls been searching for a princess who is powerful without being perfect? Who does not mind being without a prince? Who can build magical ice castles? Who can save her sister by loving her?

I have to admit when my grandkids belted out Let It Go together, I felt quite emotional. Sure I laughed at their innocence and joy. But a part of me was moved by what I think moves them – a character they admire for her strength, honesty, love of family, power, and perseverance. Not such bad qualities to emulate.


by Laurie Levy
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