by JOANNA ZEGARRA
Anybody with a young daughter, niece, or sister knows how important a little girl’s favorite Disney princess is. With The Little Mermaid t-shirts, Tangled wigs, Cinderella nail polish, and Frozen songs playing on repeat, it is clear that the influence of these animated role models is stronger than we think.
An example of the the precise psychology behind the power of these characters, is Disney’s latest movie, Frozen. This musical adventure is the highest grossing Disney film ever and the most popular so far amongst young girls. This is because it is unique in that it is the first princess movie to show little girls the power of a sisterly bond. The science behind this is that when you’re little, your family is your world. Highlighting that and making it feel important – sisters, brothers, mom and dad – is something small children can really identify with.
There is this loyalty and unrelenting interest to watch this movie over and over again because it was so well done, but there are some themes that younger kids can really identify with. Princess Elsa has these powers to control ice and snow — and this really captures kids’ imaginations.
Small children, do not feel powerful, with parents dictating what they can and cannot do. Having a character they can empathize with that has these powers can make them feel more empowered, as well. Another aspect that kids see themselves in Elsa and Anna is the impulsiveness. Elsa is constantly trying to tame or control herself; a common theme in the life of toddlers. One of the lines from the song is “Be the good girl that you always have to be.” Something they also commonly hear from parents. A little girl was asked what the song “Let it Go” is about and she replied, “Elsa being happy and free, and nobody bothering her.”
That’s a message that everyone wants: to be happy and free.