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Essay

Elsa as Horse Whisperer in Disney’s Frozen 2: Opportunity “Nokk”s to Quash Gender Stereotypes

Department of Sociology, McDaniel College, Westminster, MD 21157, USA
Soc. Sci. 2020, 9(5), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9050086
Received: 31 March 2020 / Revised: 28 April 2020 / Accepted: 18 May 2020 / Published: 20 May 2020
Frozen 2 (2019) provided Disney with the opportunity to move past discomfort about the confluence of women’s sexuality and power in Queen Elsa portrayed in Frozen (2013). Yet in Frozen 2, Elsa remains romantically unattached, despite audience interest in her love life in the six years following the release of Frozen. In Frozen 2, Elsa forms a bond with a mythological male horse, a Nokk, whom she first battles, and then tames, showcasing her horse-whispering talents while building intimacy with the equine. The symbolism of Elsa’s domestication of the willful Nokk relates to the gynocentric horse and pony genre that explores girls’ desire for intimacy within a fictional world. In Frozen 2, however, substituting a male horse for a relationship with a human allows Disney to sidestep two potential controversies: (1) a queer love interest for Elsa, and (2) the portrayal of Elsa as wielding more power than a non-magically endowed male partner. In addition, Elsa’s taming of the horse in Frozen 2 places her in the realm of equestrianism, a woman-dominated sport where femininity is nevertheless devalued. As a result, her skills as a horse whisperer do not threaten men’s ascendancy, reflecting real-life gender dynamics in equestrian sport. These themes show how Disney balked at modernizing Elsa, retreating to outdated conceptions of gender roles rather than depicting progressive gender dynamics and sexuality in Disney royalty. View Full-Text
Keywords: Frozen; Frozen 2; Elsa; Nokk; horse; equestrianism; horse whisperer; equestrian sport; gender stereotypes; gender roles; gender; pony literature; groom; sexuality; queer Frozen; Frozen 2; Elsa; Nokk; horse; equestrianism; horse whisperer; equestrian sport; gender stereotypes; gender roles; gender; pony literature; groom; sexuality; queer
MDPI and ACS Style

Dundes, L. Elsa as Horse Whisperer in Disney’s Frozen 2: Opportunity “Nokk”s to Quash Gender Stereotypes. Soc. Sci. 2020, 9, 86. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9050086

AMA Style

Dundes L. Elsa as Horse Whisperer in Disney’s Frozen 2: Opportunity “Nokk”s to Quash Gender Stereotypes. Social Sciences. 2020; 9(5):86. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9050086

Chicago/Turabian Style

Dundes, Lauren. 2020. "Elsa as Horse Whisperer in Disney’s Frozen 2: Opportunity “Nokk”s to Quash Gender Stereotypes" Social Sciences 9, no. 5: 86. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9050086

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