I feel like we passed a milestone this weekend in our relationship to pop culture. The girls at K’s preschool are, of course, mad about Frozen. My first hint of the depth of this mania came last spring when one of our favorite little girls was late to a playdate because she insisted on sitting through the movie once again, but I still feel taken by surprise. Aren’t they young for this? One little girl comes to school in blue sparkly gloves with a music box on one that plays one of the songs from the movie. At the playground they all run around arguing about who gets to be Anna and who is Elsa. I once witnessed a whole flock of three and four year old girls crawl around on all fours pretending to be Anna’s cat (does she even have one?).
This is relevant because it represents the first instance of a conflict that I expect to run into more and more frequently as K grows. I am very proud that she is one of the 6% of three year olds who watch less than 2 hours of TV a week. In fact, since we don’t have a television and are very careful to limit K’s YouTube time, most weeks she watches none at all. Really, my irritation with Frozen is not about it’s evil qualities so much as how it threatens this lovely little bubble of innocence that we’ve carved out. Disney is just so incredibly good at reaching their target market. The music, the outfits, the animation, the threat is how very very well considered they are and how well attuned they are to how to get inside a little girl’s intimate life.
Because her friends all speak fluent Frozen-speak, K has had to catch up. Early on, one of her little friends snarked at her for not having seen the film (at four years old!), but she has mostly caught up by listening carefully and by studying the images she does see. Once, when I started describing the movie she jumped in to correct me about some plot detail, and as far as I know she’s right ( I’ve only seen about a half an hour of it myself). Still, I imagine she can’t help but feel a bit left out.
Which is where this story comes in. One of the other mothers in K’s class organized a trip to see “Frozen on Ice” next week, and of course most of the girls in the class signed up. Maybe because I over identify with K I really really wanted to say yes to her. But really, from the website it is clear that the production is not simply a retelling of the story, but an introduction to all things Disney, and we’re just not willing to sign over that much of our child’s brain to cooperate marketing.
But the best thing is that when I told K she simply accepted the decision without fuss. I stumbled around trying to explain why to her, but she was much more concise. When I asked her if she understood, she said yes, she wasn’t old enough, which is exactly how I should have put it in the first place. So please forgive me, but for the moment at least I’m walking around in a bubble of relief.