ileikturtles asked: Hi, I have a school assignment about Disney’s discriminatory adaptation, Frozen, and as my final piece chose to do a redesign of some characters, how many depending on my progress by the deadline. The more I read about how offensively wrong Disney got this, the more I am daunted by this task, as I don’t want to make any stupid or insulting mistakes. I'm running out of letters now but could you tell me a bit about where to start learning about the saami culture as relating to the original story?
Hi there, the original story was written by Hans Christian Andersen, the same Danish author that wrote ‘the Little Mermaid’ and as such it is not a Saami story at all.
In the original story however, the main character Gerda meets a Saami woman who helps her finding her way to the Snow Queen’s palace by writing a message on a piece of dried fish that she tells Gerda to bring to a Finnish woman in the far north of Finland. This part of the story is a mere paragraph long, so the only reason why Disney has chosen to call Kristoff Saami is to add a bit of exotic flair to the film itself.
Disney’s understanding of our many and different cultures is non-existent, they haven’t used any Saami advisors in the process of making the film, Kristoff is a vendor of ice with a pet reindeer and the only inclusion of a Saami voice in the film is through the opening song, which is a yoik written by a South Saami composer. This yoik is not performed by Saami artists, however, so it’s not really a Saami addition to the film as much as it is a tune chosen because of how exotic it sounds. In many ways Eatnemen vuelie is not chosen because Disney wants the film to give Saami a place, it’s been chosen because it sounds like a chant not all too dissimilar from the opening song in Pocahontas.
In other words, changing Kristoff’s outfit from the horrible mismatch of things he’s currently wearing and that Disney presents as being Saami to something authentically Saami would be equally problematic because he is not Saami. Making Kristoff Saami is a way for Disney to claim that they have included minorities in their stories, rather than telling yet another boring, white Western story that has nothing new to add to the wealth of children’s films out there. His Saaminess is a tokenistic way of showing how inclusive Disney is while not being inclusive or diverse at all.
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