Disney to young girls: You are not a special snowflake

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Lino DiSalvo, Frozen’s head of animation, finds “emotional” women hard to animate. He’s just another Disney employee setting a bad example to young women.

frozen disney

It all sounds a little bit Tyler Durden, but Disney’s latest message to its young female viewers appears to be: You are not special. With its new film Frozen being released in the UK in December, Disney has been in the press a fair amount lately and, sadly, not all press is good press.

“Animating female characters are difficult, ’cause they have to go through these range of emotions” – Frozen’s head of animation

On the surface, Frozen looks promising. It features the main character, Anna (Kristen Bell), going on an epic journey to find her sister Elsa (Idina Menzel). This isn’t the problematic Disney princess who waits for a prince to rescue her; from the synopsis, we can assume that her motivations are entirely built around her sister rather than any love interest. Another Disney woman with agency. After Rapunzel in Tangled and Merida in Brave (ignoring the post-release mistake Disney made of trying to sex her up – please, please, let’s ignore that. Universally condemn it and then, if they insist on persisting with it, ignore it), we’ve been waiting for another. Frozen seems like a decent offering, and who doesn’t adore the idea of a giant, loveable snowman? So far, so good.

Enter Frozen‘s head of animation, Lino DiSalvo:

“Historically speaking, animating female characters are really, really difficult, ’cause they have to go through these range of emotions, but they’re very, very — you have to keep them pretty and they’re very sensitive to — you can get them off a model very quickly. So, having a film with two hero female characters was really tough, and having them both in the scene and look very different if they’re echoing the same expression; that Elsa looking angry looks different from Anna (Kristen Bell) being angry.” (via movieviral)

Ah. So this is the reason that we can have film after film with multiple male leads, but we very rarely get more than one fleshed out woman. Presumably this is why so many of Disney’s heroines of the past have been so one-dimensional, as well – heaven forbid they ever did anything to veer off the pretty path. And varied emotions are so hard. Easier to stick with the manly men who are strong and stoic and never feel feelings. We don’t want those hysterical women making things difficult.

Read next: Five US comedies that aren’t as popular in the UK as they should be

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