Disability, Super Powers, and Idina Menzel

As I was getting ready for the gym this morning, like any normal person, I was listening to show tunes. What, you don’t do that? Well, why not? Quick everyone! Let’s point fingers and laugh at the person who doesn’t have a daily ritual of listening to show tunes! What do you mean “I don’t do that either?” I guess it’s only awesome people who do that. ūüėÖ

Anyway, as I was listening to my show tunes this morning I had a realization, one that probably everyone before me has already come to, but I am not fast:

The wonderful Idina Menzel is the embodiment of the empowered disabled person. Oh, she’s not disabled, but she lends her beautiful voice to give a voice to the broken. I have two basic evidences. Plug in your earbuds and listen along, you won’t regret it. Spoiler warning, but that shouldn’t be necessary.

First, Elsa from Frozen. The symbolism is pretty clear, and I think it was deliberate: Elsa has a hidden disability, so well hidden that even her sister is unaware of its existence, but in an effort to hide the disability, she distances herself from everyone around her. Worse, she’s so terrified that everyone will hate her because of her disability, that she makes sure everyone hates her despite it (a classic self fulfilling prophesy). The secondary plot of the movie is Elsa finally coming to accept herself as she is, and realizing that everyone around her loves her despite he strangeness.

This song changed the intended writing of Elsa as an antagonist to being a protagonist, because no bad guy could rock this much.

Second ¬†is Elphaba from Wicked. While I can’t necessarily recommend the play, and definitely can’t recommend the book (something something, sentient animal orgies, anyone?) Elphaba was born with the blatantly visible, though not particularly restrictive disability of having ¬†green skin. This deformity has caused her to be shunned her whole life, leaving her a bitter, awkward¬†introvert. She is, however, powerfully intelligent and magical. Going away to college she meets the snobbish and popular Glinda. Despite being roommates, share a mutual dislike for each other (the word loathing may come up…)¬†Yada, yada, yada, the become friends and Glinda teaches Elphaba how to become popular. Everything looks like it will work out swimmingly for Elphaba, all she needs to do is surrender her identity and betray her morality… Which she decides that she cannot do. As she comes to accept not only her disabilities but her extraordinary powers, she is demonized by the fraudulent Wizard of Oz: being the malformed person that she is, it isn’t difficult for the people to believe that she is in fact wicked. But she declares her own empowerment, defying the societal rules that keep her from her potential.

This song makes me cry every time… Wait, did I just say that? Strike that from the record please.

So what do we learn today?

  1. Idina Menzel is incredible
  2. The music from Wicked, while not being all good, has some awesome and powerful songs disproportionate to the story
  3. Every parent has, or should watch Frozen
  4. Coming to accept disability is the first step to being free of the societal bondage
  5. Jared’s a sissy
  6. Wait, what?
  7. I mean, not so much a sissy as… Emotionally secure? Do you buy that?

And I’m still waiting on my super powers

Image belongs to If-eazyworld РI stole it.

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