Frozen’s ‘Let It Go’ Wins Best Original Song Because It’s The Feminist Anthem Your Daughter Needs

I-make-snow-Frozen-Let-It-Go-parody-video-hilarious-listen-640x389How can you not love Let It Go, performed by the glorious Idina Menzel in Disney’s animated tale of finding your true self and sisterly love Frozen? The song, which signifies Elsa‘s being able to use her icy magical powers without fear after she has been ostracized from nearly everyone around her, is a gorgeous girl-power anthem about casting away the doubts, fear and shame that have plagued her throughout her childhood. It’s the sort of message that resonates with so many people the world over, proven by the fact Let It Go has been performed in 41 different languages from all over the world.

This Let It Go Academy Awards win is also momentous because it means the song’s co-writer, Robert Lopez (who wrote the song with his wife) is an EGOT, meaning he has won Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. Not too shabby for a 39-year-old.

When you compare Let It Go to the pop culture musical offerings our daughters are exposed to, the Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry and hundreds of other bubblegum, highly sexualized, auto-tuned ditties about mainly boys and meeting boys and dating boys and losing boys and making boys like you – Let It Go is about self-celebration and finding your true power within. It’s about growing up and learning to accept yourself and loving who you are on the inside.

I can understand why there has been criticism about the whole physical transformation Elsa undergoes when performing her anthem, the casting off of her cloak to reveal her slinky, icy blue, slit-up-to-here evening gown, but is that any different from all of the other Disney Princess movies and their heroine’s magical transformations? Cinderella got an evening gown, Ariel in The Little Mermaid got some long legs, and even book-smart Belle ended up in a flouncy yellow petticoat’d cupcake pile of tulle. The difference is, Elsa wasn’t doing this for a prince or because someone told her this is how a queen should look, she was casting off her cloak and everything it concealed while she had to keep her powers hidden, locked away in her room for so many years of her childhood. Her wardrobe choice is her decision, made alone on an icy mountain top where she finally accepts who she is inside.

It’s a gorgeous song, and one that sends a totally empowering message to all of our daughters about loving who they are. I hope Disney keeps up this trend of show-stopping ballads and story lines that have more to do with that message, other than meeting and marrying a handsome prince.

(Image: Crushable)

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  • Elizabeth Mangum

    Saw Frozen in the theater yesterday with The Kid. Watched it today with Grandma, The Kid, and L’enfant. Everyone LOVES it!
    LET IT GO!

    • Eve Vawter


  • elle

    Such a good song, such a good movie and I LOVED their speech. Funny and teary.

  • Natasha B

    This song made my year. It is constantly on repeat in our house, so glad it won <3 <3 <3

  • Alicia Kiner

    My family went to see Frozen on Christmas day. I wasn’t that thrilled with the idea because I had no idea what it was about. Then came along Let It Go, and I had chills and goosebumps. From a song. I freaking love this song, and so do my kids. Every time they hear the phrase now they start singing this song. It’s fantastic! I happened to catch this award right after watching Scandal on my DVR, and was so happy it won. I love how the two of them accepted their Oscar. It was funny and cute and even relatable. Loved it.

    • Natasha B

      I totally cried during the song while watching the movie for the first time. Blamed hormones.

  • arrow2010

    It would be more feminist is she suddenly transformed into 300lbs and made a fat acceptance speech. That’s what I hear these days. FA = feminist.

    • Eve Vawter

      and so? your point? who cares? do you seriously give a fuck about who weighs what? who cares? I do not get it

    • CMJ

      Because I am angry you can’t see downvotes anymore:

    • rrlo

      HEY! Where downvotes go????

    • CMJ

      THEY AREN’T SHOWING UP ANYMORE. I guess Disqus changed it and they are still “tabulating them” (whatever the F that means) but they won’t show up.

      I am really mad about this.

  • EX

    As a feminist and a mom of two girls, I LOVED this movie and song. I don’t even mind that I’ve heard it on repeat since thanksgiving. I thought this criticism about Elsa’s “sexy” transformation was totally ridiculous. Although I think there’s so much more to it, if the only message my daughters take away from that scene is ‘having confidence and being true to yourself is sexy’ I think that would be awesome.

  • personal

    My girl is 4 1/2 and we have to continuously watch the Youtube video of this song. I had kind of thought she’d like ‘Do you want to build a snowman?’ more, but no, this is the one.
    Ha, did you hear about the moron who is blogging that it’s a conspiracy to make kids gay?

    • Lackadaisical

      How on earth does the blogger figure it is making kids gay? Is it because there is a girl who is pretty but not safely married off at the end? Or because the film is fun enough that a boy might be lured into watching a princess movie and then catch gay when they are exposed to sparkly dresses? My own kids are too young to have worked out what their own sexualities are yet but I really hope they don’t catch bigoted moron from reading his blog. I just love the idea of Disney caring about our kids’ sexuality beyond how it impacts on their own revenues from their shows and films. Maybe that’s it, maybe they think if we were all gay we would spend more time watching Disney things. Now I am imagining Mickey Mouse in his evil lair, pulling on a lever labelled “gayifier”.

    • personal

      Well, to be honest, a friend posted the link on FB but I got bored reading through the long rant. It was just some insane person with an agenda. I couldn’t get through it.

    • SarahJesness

      People these days have a habit of finding gay in things where there might not really be gay. These days, any self-acceptance message is seen as a pro-gay message. Yes, Elsa’s struggle and song can represent being gay. It could also represent mental illness, or having unconventional beliefs, or anything else that could cause a person to be isolated or ostracized.

    • EX

      Every time “do you want to build a snowman?” comes on (we own the soundtrack), my 2.5 year old says “Anna is sad because Elsa won’t play with her.” Which gets me all teary eyed again – totally bawled during that scene in the movie.

    • personal

      I felt the same. :(

    • Natasha B

      Yep. Ugly-cried.

    • elle

      Yes, and I’m not gonna meanwhile I think it’s a huge pike of BS I am kind of obsessed with the idea it is. Because that would be amazing!

    • elle

      Not gonna lie while I think…..stupid auto correct :(

  • pixie

    I adore this song and I’m not ashamed to say I watched the movie by myself. I love this song not only because of the lyrics and message (and Idina Menzel’s fabulous powerhouse voice) but also because of the way the music fits with the lyrics and is orchestrated and…yeah it gets my geeky music student side very excited.

    And I also don’t understand the backlash about Elsa’s new attire. Well, ok I see that it is more form-fitting and has a high slit, but like you said, Eve, it has nothing to do with attracting a man (Cinderella’s dress might as well have been to attract a man, Ariel’s legs were for basically the sole purpose of attracting Prince Eric, and that dress Belle wore was for the Beast) and nobody told her she should wear it. Instead, I saw it as her taking control of her body and self, setting her present self apart from her past self, and essentially her transformation from a timid and scared girl (completely covering up, dressing basically the same as she had since she was a child, looking like she is a part of her community and no different from the others) to a strong woman who has come to accept her powers and that she is not like anyone else but is ok with that. It shows that she’s grown up and allowed herself to be set apart, and for a kids movie, the easiest way to do that is through drastic costume change.

    • rrlo

      I hate how inevitably all discussions lead to a woman’s physical appearance. I am totally behind Elsa’s sexy dress. She is a grown woman and a Queen! She can wear whatever she wants.

    • pixie


  • Ddaisy

    My Korean students are OBSESSED with this song. Even the ones who can normally barely string together three words in English know every single English word to Let It Go off by heart.

    And I love it too, so I’m totally cool with them singing it in class all the time, haha.

    • Eve Vawter

      I love this

  • Tea

    Confession: We went to see the movie just because we heard the song and went swoon.

  • Aimee Ogden

    I want to see this movie soooo bad. :( Two and a half weeks and I can rent the video!

  • CrazyFor Kate

    I think it also won because it’s so bloody catchy. I only heard it for the first time while watching the Oscars and have been humming it all day. Presumably the second the Academy members saw the name on the ballot, they couldn’t think of anything else!

    Also, the rhyming speech was adorable to the end.

  • rrlo

    I would like to think my son would get something out of this anthem as well :).

    • Natasha B

      My 4yo son loves this song just as much as my daughters and I do! He begs me to play the ‘freezing’ song constantly and think it’s so cool how she has awesome powers and he wants to have awesome powers like her :)

    • whiteroses

      I love the fact that, while it does mention “be the good girl you always have to be”, it’s very much universal.

  • Evie

    It’s so sad to me that some people are interpreting this song as “unhealthy running away”. Yup, because fitting in and being extroverted and socially acceptable is the true measure of mental health and maturity, you know.

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  • Andrea

    This song is the worst anthem for girls ever written. The lyrics themselves, the character delivering them, the context in the movie in which they are delivered…it’s all crap. How it has managed to dazzle even educated adult women is beyond me. I can only attribute it to the power of the delivery of the song.

    Elsa has literally just created a huge mess, turned her back on everyone, even those trying to help her, deflected her responsibilities, and completely isolated herself, and is basically giving a big middle finger to the rest if the world yet we are all excited because this is someone a good message for girls? Really? What part? Would that be turning inward? not caring about others? Running away from your problem? Oh i know it must be that you don’t have to follow any rules?

    Is this really the kind of behavior we want our girls embracing when the going gets tough? Run away from your problem and isolate yourself?

    No! How can anyone with half a brain find this song empowering?

    Perhaps if Elsa had scenes where we saw some character development and self reflection we could see how she processed and worked through these feelings. But Elsa is pretty hateful the whole movie and only softens in about the last thirty seconds when she watches Elsa turn to ice in front of her. Then honestly it felt more like guilt then love that caused her to weep on her sister.

    And too that point if Elsa weeping on her sister helped melt her, then how come child Elsa weeping on child Anna didn’t help melt Anna then? And if love was the key to controlling her powers then how come she couldn’t control them as a child when she was undoubtedly full of love? And if the trolls are “love experts” how come they wouldn’t have informed everyone of this a long time ago. Clearly love experts would know what years of isolation would do to a young girls heart.

    For a movie that markets itself on sisterly love, and female empowerment and even managed through marketing to convince the world of these two things; it severally lacks in both. A movie about sisterly love for starters would benefit from actually showing more sisterly bounding. Not only does this movie stink at story telling and leave many plot holes and have severally underdeveloped characters, it’s biggest sin is managing to convince people on droves that it’s actually really deep and meaningful.

    Wake up educated women of the world, Disney’s manage to dumb down your intellect. Wake up!!!

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