(AP/Jin Lee)

Maureen Dowd compares Hillary Clinton to "Frozen" princess because both are ice queens or something!

Will Hillary "let it go" or keep being an icy control freak obsessed with "caution and calculation"?


Katie McDonough
June 15, 2014 8:07PM (UTC)

Hillary Clinton hasn't even announced whether or not she plans to run for president, but the coverage has already been so exhausting and reliably terrible that it feels as though she has been running for president for 1,000 years. In fact, if Clinton does run, there should be a law that only Rebecca Traister and Rebecca Traister-approved journalists are allowed to write about the campaign. That would be a great law.

But that is not the law because of the free press being the backbone of a democratic society and all of that. So instead we have to read people like Maureen Dowd write about Clinton and who she really is and everything she may or may not symbolize as a woman in power and what about a grandmother in the White House and is she relatable and where do babies come from and why does my finger hurt every time I do this and Thomas J. can't see without his glasses why won't someone put his glasses on?

Advertisement:

In her column for the New York Times this weekend, Dowd compared Clinton to the ice princess from "Frozen" because both are apparently icy women obsessed with control. After concluding that Raymond Chandler's taxonomy of blonde women does not capture the essence of Clinton or Elsa from "Frozen," Dowd moves to conjure her own definition of the two women -- one who is an actual person in the world and the other who is a pretend cartoon princess.

Dowd observes that these women share problems in common, like freezing everything with their ice powers and scaring people. "Those close to them think that the queen of Hillaryland and the Snow Queen from Disney’s “Frozen” have special magical powers, but worry about whether they can control those powers, show their humanity and stir real warmth in the public heart," she writes. (Dowd did not disclose the identities of her Washington or Arendelle sources.)

Both women also want to "let it go": "After feeling stifled at times and misunderstood, after suffering painful setbacks, the powerful and polarizing Elsa and Hillary proclaim from their lofty height that they’re going to 'let it go' and go for it."

Advertisement:

But whereas Elsa the fictional ice princess was genuinely able to "let it go" without being punished by the people of Arendelle (a bloody coup would have been a downer of a finale and probably precluded a sequel in the franchise), Dowd does not believe Clinton will ever really "let it go":

It would make a great Idina Menzel anthem, but it’s not believable that Hillary Rodham Clinton will suddenly throw caution and calculation to the wind. Having market-tested the gender-neutral model in 2008, this time Hillary is presenting herself as a woman who has suffered the slings and arrows of sexism. [...]

Hillary’s new memoir, like her last one, is a testament to caution and calculation. It doesn’t feel written so much as assembled by a “Hillary for President” algorithm. All this excitement is being ginned up, but nothing exciting is happening. There isn’t one surprising or scintillating or provocative word in the whole book. “Hard Choices” is inert, a big yawn.

If Clinton really wants to be president, she should probably take a cue from Elsa. "What Elsa discovers at the end of “Frozen” is that her powers can actually be used for good, once her heart is filled with love," Dowd notes. "She escapes from her prison, leaves behind the negative things that held her back, and leads her kingdom to a happy and prosperous future."

It's definitely not sexism and a regularly moving target of what it means to be tough and likable as a woman in power that have left Clinton -- an establishment Democrat who is largely politically indistinguishable from other establishment Democrats on issues from war to poverty -- defending everything from her stance on equal marriage to her decision to wear scrunchies. And it's definitely not sexism that opens Clinton up to criticism for being somehow inauthentic because of her caution and calculated image when all politicians are actually just as cautious and calculated about their public images and policy positions. The "is Hillary Clinton likable" question is definitely not a self-reinforcing meta-narrative at this point or anything like that. Definitely the whole love in her heart thing matters more here.

Advertisement:

Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

MORE FROM Katie McDonoughFOLLOW kmcdonovgh



Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •