Monday, February 17, 2014
(Author's note: This is not the usual post you might see here on The Mother Load, but it's important enough to me that I wanted to share. This post is a response to a blog post I read today, warning parents away from the movie "Frozen". The post is linked below. Feel free to read and come to your own conclusions.)
I don't know Kathryn Skaggs personally. Perhaps she is as even keeled and kind and normal as the next gal. Unfortunately, I would never know it from her blog, A Well-Behaved Mormon Woman, which is often an exercise in self-righteous, hyper-Conservative, black and white scrupulosity.
Kathryn Skaggs has a large Mormon following and holds court on the internet as a leader for many looking for like-minded responses to the movements in society which may frighten them. She has been interviewed by the press as the voice of more Conservative Mormon women, providing quotes in opposition to Mormon progressives and feminists. She uses the word "we" far too often in discussing how Mormon women think and feel about issues, to the point that people outside the Mormon faith might mistakenly identify her as an official spokesperson on Mormon matters.
Kathryn Skaggs does not speak for me.
Kathryn Skaggs does not speak for Mormon women as a group.
With Skaggs's recent blog post decrying the Disney film "Frozen" as a cleverly constructed liberal indoctrination piece created to advance the gay agenda in the United States, I'm hard pressed to figure out who she could ever be speaking for at all. Certainly not thoughtful, level-headed people who believe teaching kindness and self-actualization to children is a net positive.
In her blog post on "Frozen", Skaggs spends a lot of time talking about the dangers of the media and the movie itself, using fear, shame, and othering as rhetorical methods to "challenge" readers who might have missed the evil gay undertones because they thought they were just enjoying an animated musical with their kids.
While admitting that her conclusions will seem like a pretty far reach to most people (including the vast majority of friends and family members who disagreed with her), she plows forward with her argument, dropping bits of panic and terror in nearly every paragraph. You guys! The gays! They're in your HOUSE! They're COMING FOR YOUR CHILDREN!
Of course, her post includes the requisite disclaimer that she harbors no ill will toward gay people and has no wish to force her personal religious beliefs onto them (while invoking at the same time the force of law to do just that). Surrounded by the vitriol of the rest of her post, these words represent nothing more than the usual paving stones of good intentions followed by harmful action.
Ms. Skaggs waits until she's three quarters of the way through her blog post to actually support the previous fear-mongering and explain why she thinks "Frozen" is "so gay." It's clear only that she thinks the entire story symbolizes a gay person's journey out of the closet and into freedom and that she believes "Let it Go" is an anthem written to underscore that symbolism, and she makes it clear why she thinks those things.
What she fails to clarify is why I should think those things.
Art, done well, is evocative and interactive. No two people staring into the face of the Mona Lisa will walk away having had the same impressions or experiences. True art makes us think, feel, and grow, and true art reveals much more about the participant viewing it than it does about its creator.
I watched "Frozen" and saw myself in Elsa. I saw a very real and current journey played out in her feelings of captivity and repression and subsequent freedom and empowerment. "Let it Go" has become my anthem for the year. Funnily enough, contrary to what Ms. Skaggs might think, I am not a closeted lesbian who has finally decided to come out.
How can that be, when (despite any evidence to back her up) Kathryn Skaggs KNOWS that the people who wrote the story and songs did so with the homosexual agenda and gay marriage in mind? I think the answer to that says much more about Kathryn Skaggs than anyone else. She is afraid of the progress being made in society and that fear has caused her to see in "Frozen" what she fears.
As a lover of art, I have no wish to diminish Skaggs's experience of "Frozen". That is hers. However, she crosses a line when she presumes to tell Christian families why they are raising their kids wrong, why they have erred in allowing their children to watch "Frozen" without also pointing out and refuting the gay themes she sees there.
Her shame and fear-based tactics to convince parents that a great evil has been allowed into their homes, based only on her own, admittedly non-mainstream interpretation of this film represent a new low for her blog. She is scaring good parents into feeling they've done something sinful and that their children's very salvation will be at stake if they don't right their unintended wrong.
A final word about "Let it Go": Skaggs makes a point about the lyrics of the song promoting rebellion and disobedience among children, and many will likely agree with that interpretation, especially considering the words, "No right, no wrong, no rules for me," are included. However, the song itself cannot be judged within a vacuum. Set within the story of "Frozen" in which Elsa has lived under harmful, damaging, soul-killing rules set by her parents (and in opposition to the recommendations that were given them), breaking free of those negative rules does not constitute the type of rebellion Skaggs speaks of.
It's also important to note that this song is sung at the very beginning of Elsa's transformation, not at the conclusion of it. Elsa is only half free in her isolation and must learn hard lessons before becoming truly free of her past. In learning to accept herself AND live in society as the queen (a title that likely comes with many rules she will now willingly embrace), she finds the happiness she has always wanted because she gets to live authentically and have a relationship with her sister again.
Rules are not righteous simply because they are rules, and shrugging off societal restrictions that hinder our progress or the happiness of all is not automatically sinful. Our country has a long tradition of imposing harmful rules on others and then moving past those because courageous people chose to speak up and fight the system. Being well-behaved within an oppressive culture often simply perpetuates further harm on others.
There may come a day when the makers of "Frozen" reveal they wrote the movie and music just as you say they did, in an attempt to foster understanding and kindness toward the gay community and to send a message to gay people that it's okay to be who they are. The difference between you and I is that I see that as a good thing. In case you didn't realize it, Kathryn Skaggs, gay teens are attempting and succeeding at suicide at alarming rates...because they don't know how to make sense of who they are within a culture that demonizes them. If gay teens and adults watch "Frozen" and find a message of hope and love, good on the makers of "Frozen." If the family members of those people watch "Frozen" and learn to relate to their gay relatives and begin to treat them more inclusively, good on the makers of "Frozen."
Because if those people read your blog, they're going to need inoculation from your divisive, shame-based views.
(Check out these other thoughtful and well written responses below.)
Labels: Outrageous News