MINOR SPOILERS FOR FROZEN AHEAD
I’m going to make what may be a wild proposition about the hit song “Let It Go” as sung by Idina Menzel in Disney’s latest animated film Frozen. One that I haven’t seen anyone else make so far and has kind of surprised me, so maybe that’s what makes me think my proposition may be wild.
I propose that “Let It Go” is an LGBTQ coming out anthem.
No, really. Furthermore, I think it might be an answer to Lea Solanga’s “Relfection” in Mulan.
Really really. Where “Reflection” was a song about hiding one’s true identity out of fear of what others may think, “Let It Go” is about, well, letting go of all those fears and anxieties and just not giving a damn what other people think about you. Let’s break it down.
Frozen is about two royal sisters, Anna and Elsa. Elsa, the older sister, has the power to summon and manipulate snow and ice. Anna loves her sister’s powers, and Elsa loves using them to make her younger sister happy, until she accidentally (and almost fatally) injures her. The girls’ parents decide that Elsa’s powers are too dangerous and tell her she must keep them a secret, while taking Anna to a clan of trolls who erase the memories of her older sister’s powers.
Fast forward several years. The sisters’ parents have died (as you do in a Disney movie…) and it’s the day of Elsa’s coronation. The sisters get into an argument and Elsa accidentally reveals her powers to pretty much the entire kingdom. Accused of being a witch and a monster, Elsa flees the kingdom and decides to live a life of solitude in the mountains. But rather than seeing this as an exile, she sees this as freedom – freedom to express herself as she truly is without judgment or shame.
DO YOU SEE WHERE THIS IS GOING?? Anyone who has struggled with their sexual orientation or gender identity (and the views of others – especially family and even more especially when they are less than accepting) should see a rainbow flag waving in the background. I know I do. The first time I saw the movie (and scene) it was right there when Elsa literally lets her hair down.
Let’s follow along with the lyrics:
Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know
I haven’t heard Disney lyrics so clearly about being in the closet since Lea Solanga sang “Somehow I cannot hide/Who I am, though I’ve tried.”
But then this happens:
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door
I don’t care what they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on
The cold never bothered me anyway
It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all
It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me
That’s when she decides that people are going to say what they’re going to say, so close the door on them, leave them far behind, and let it go, because when you do you’ll be free to live life to the fullest.
And, as my fiancée pointed out, “Here I stand and here I’ll stay” is totally the Disney version of “I’m here, I’m queer, get used to it.”
Maybe I just haven’t been looking in the right places or talking to enough people about it, but I cannot believe there isn’t more talk about this song’s meaning. Frozen turned out to be a pretty unorthodox Disney movie, if not for Elsa’s character, the “big reveal” ending/resolution, and of course “Let It Go.” If you want to feel empowered and validated for who you are, give this song a listen and wave your flag.