Yes, I realize what I am about to say will upset a lot of people but I also hope it makes some people think.
After reading multiple posts, articles & comments bashing Disney’s Frozen for, well, “lack of color” I figured I should point out that this is not really the case.
While I agree with the people critiquing the almost depressing state of homogeneity in Disney movies and television shows in general, reading these kind of comments about Disney princess movies has often confused me since some of the same people who complain about lack of color in Disney movies also complain how Tiana from Princess & the Frog (along with Mulan and Pocahontas) was really just a “token.” The reason it confuses me is that sticking a few non-Caucasian people in a movie would probably get slammed as well. It almost seems like a damned if you do/damned if you don’t for Disney.
Now Disney makes a movie that does more that just sticks people of color in a movie but puts them in a very important setting and what happens? They get slammed for not having anything but white people. What important setting am I talking about? Queen Elsa’s Coronation & ball. Let me explain what I mean.
Based on what I found on the Frozen Wikia site the best estimates for the time period of the movie Frozen is either the 1780s or the 1840s. Neither of these periods are exactly known for being pleasant ones for non-whites in either North America or Europe. Coronations are not the sort of events that just anyone gets to attend or even invited to. Not even the common people of the land get to see the actual coronation or attend the ball afterwards. Instead they have to wait outside. Like in this scene from the movie.
Yup, a bunch of white people outside the ball celebrating the coronation of a 21 year old white, northern European queen in the late 18th or mid 19th century just waiting to get a glimpse of their new queen.
Now lets look at the coronation itself:
Yup, more white people…except
Ok, so remember, this is a coronation of a white European queen in a relatively small chapel. And yet, among dukes and princes you have this.
Now, on to the ball
Yes, I realize that most of the people circled in these pictures are in more than one picture and yes I realized that they are not shown interacting with any of the main characters. Nor are they main characters themselves but it’s a movie about a royal family in Norway so not a lot of possibilities for that to happen. However, I believe it is important notice that they are not hidden. They are not servants. They are well dressed and treated as equals. They were at both the coronation and the ball so they had to have had some sort of social status to be there. While I am not exactly sure how historically implausible it would be for this to have actually happened I am sure that these scenes would have caused shock and outrage if found in a Disney movie until only the past few decades. Especially since all the white people who actually lived in Arendelle were forced to wait outside like this:
only to be greeted with this:
Not exactly what they were hoping for I’m sure.
Oh, and then there is this:
Not quite as impressive as Kirk and Uhura but given the movie is set at least 120 years before Star Trek aired the first interracial kiss on American television it is still something. I seriously doubt you’d see it at Prince Charming’s ball.