On Behalf of All Elsas

Yesterday, I took some of my favorite kids to an afternoon movie. I had heard about this movie through an interview on NPR and was particularly interested in two things: first, it’s a musical (and I love a musical) and second the main character’s name is Elsa.

Yes, that’s also my name.

So, lemme just begin with the fact that my name hasn’t been favored well in the media. When I was a little kid, I was taunted on the bus for being a lion. She may have been born free but that was not my experience. Kids would roar at me on the bus. This was terrifying on multiple levels. Older kids roaring is scary but I was also painfully shy. I just wanted to melt into the plastic upholstery of the yellow school bus. It was horrifying.

I got a little older and there was Elsa from Indiana Jones and his last crusade. She was also a nightmare leaving me feel like I was anything but noble (that’s what my name supposedly means).

Let’s not forget Baroness Elsa from The Sound of Music. This is one of my favorite movies of all time (and I’m still sad that I haven’t seen the three-hour television special) which seeks to further insult me with this mean character that wants to ship the Von Trapp children off to boarding school. Honestly, it’s just another nail in the coffin for Elsas everywhere.

And then, there’s this new Elsa in Disney’s Frozen. We gathered up our stuff and headed out the theatre when I asked these two kids, “What was your favorite part?” We all agreed Olaf was the best. The trolls were kinda lame. The reindeer was cuter when he was little (but most things are). This allowed me the opportunity to announce, “Well, I’m sure glad that Elsa wasn’t a bad guy.” To which the oldest of these two kids replied, “But she was!”

This is the same kid who poked me in the arm and giggled wildly when Elsa first appeared on screen. Then whenever this character would do something less than desirable (there were lots of these moments, I admit), my young friend would whisper “Stop doing that Elsa!” or “Can you stop that now?” Obviously, she caught on that I was annoyed. And I am. Why are all of the Elsas that appear on the silver screen scary and horrible? This snow queen didn’t improve things much for us — even though I want to see the redemption in the end of the movie. When do we finally get to be noble? I ask this on behalf of Elsas everywhere.

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