Pushing for representation in Disney

Alyssa Lech

In the age of movie remakes and sequels, Disney has played a big role in this movement in recreating their animated classics and creating new series to follow beloved characters.

Disney is gaining even more hype with Frozen 2 being released this weekend.

Since the first movie in 2013, there has been much talk of giving Elsa a specific love interest. 

This sparked a fan movement that Elsa may be a part of the LGBTQ+ community, and some fans are calling for Elsa to have a girlfriend in the upcoming movie.

Many want Disney to finally include a more openly gay character and to be more inclusive in representing groups through their characters so that more people can relate to their characters and stories.

Disney has previously shown a gay couple in the remake of Beauty and the Beast, which was a good start in representing that population, but fans are looking for more.

The couple was only on screen for a few seconds. 

Some are quite appalled by the idea of representing the LGBT+, saying it will “confuse” children as the movie is supposed to appeal to a younger audience.

This is a very primitive stance towards the changes that are occurring societally.

Acceptance of different individuals and groups of people is becoming more prevalent in today’s society.

While I think it is a wonderful thing to include different types of people when writing characters and storylines, there is a tasteful way to bring these changes to characters. 

This is shown best in the recent remake of the Disney classic, Aladdin.

The producers were quite cognizant of the culture they needed to show viewers when recreating the fictional country of Agrabah.

There was a huge debate as to whether Agrabah should be more of an Indian or Arab culture to make sure they were inclusive as well as culturally sensitive in their representation.

 “Many want Disney to finally include a more openly gay character and to be more inclusive in representing groups…”

This was an amazing way to make sure that when recreating an animated city, they don’t offend or assume anything about the culture or those in it, a definite step in the right direction. 

Another aspect of Aladdin occurred in the changes made to the character of Jasmine.

The remake allowed her to speak more for herself, deny ever wanting or “needing” a love interest, and made her into a more powerful, in-control character.

These changes didn’t take away from the story and didn’t overpower what had been previously told, but did accurately depict a feminist perspective to be more accurate to the movie’s time period.

Women today are told to speak for themselves and not rely on any man to “save them”, as was the norm long ago.

By making this change to the character of Jasmine, especially through her song of “Speechless,” it was a very classy, discrete way to make a powerful point to the notion of female empowerment. 

Another antiquated social norm was that women were told to wait to be “saved” by a man or need a love interest.

This idea has been encompassed by Disney with its “happily ever after” aspects of a woman finally being happy when saved by a prince.

I am a sucker for a happy ending and a love story as much as the next, but this idea is completely unreasonable.

Not to mention, it’s an unhealthy message to have in movies targeted towards young girls.

I feel as if by giving Elsa a love interest, regardless of them being a man or woman, would take away from the whole aspect of sisterly love, which was a main theme from the first movie.

But if Elsa were to be given a girlfriend, this would be an even bigger stride towards more equal representation in the media.

It is incredibly important for different types of people and relationships to be supported and present in media and movies, for all ages.

By using Elsa to show a different type of relationship, it would be a great stride towards this overall goal of equal representation.

Disney has made some efforts towards inclusivity and better representation, but it is not enough.

Bigger changes need to occur to have more representation, but at least Disney has started to move in the right direction.