Peroxide is selling out in shops, stylists are running out of extensions, silver hair ties are a super-store anomaly and the kids are going crazy; pencils have turned into assegais, erasers are moonlighting as missiles and climbing frames are jam-packed POW camps. It’s a horror story – a Frozen fan’s (also a mum’s, a hairdresser’s and a store assistant’s) worst nightmare. And it all comes down to that sassy little side-plait – the cause of the madness and the real reason that Elsa is everyone’s boo.
Forget all that stuff about relatability, complexity, sisterly love, girl power and feminism. It’s all true – the ‘princess inversion theory’ (coined as of now) – but let’s keep it real here; Emo-Elsa has some truly badass hair going on (plus a killer-cute dress, some smoky-style, manic-Mac eye shadow and an ice palace to boot – all jury converters) and that’s why she comes out top of the poll every time. Anna, you’re lovely and funny, but Gingerism; it’s a real thing. Blondes, on the other hand, oh to be blonde and pretty. Mass media’s a bitch.
That part in the movie when Elsa is singing “Let It Go” (in case you forgot – ha!)…and she flicks her hand through her hair, undoing her conscripted bun in one magical swoop, replacing it with a brazen braid that radiates an infectious laissez-faire nonchalance. It’s spine-chilling stuff.
Okay, so let’s for a second pretend that superficiality has not been assimilated into our subconscious by perfume ads on bus stops, Disney princess paraphernalia, skinny high street mannequins and glossy mags on stands in corner cafés and that our minds are able to love Elsa for the histrionic personality statement enveloped in her new do. Done. The point? Elsa’s hair tells a story. It’s a symbol: Elsa lets go (as every kid in the world will tell you at every waking minute of the day and probably while they sleep too).
Embracing the yin with the yang, Elsa lets go of the fear and fret that has plagued her young life – the palace, the dress, the makeup, the hair; Elsa’s haute couture revamp is a middle finger, a big F-You, to the world and the pain it has caused her. That braid, that brazen braid, is an assertion of self; it’s a claim on the right to make mistakes as well as an acknowledgment of the ensuing backlash.
Elsa’s plait: an inescapable fashion statement – yes, but as it rocks runways and playgrounds with clout and swagger, freedom (“no right, no wrong, no rules for me”) is the subliminal invocation. It is all about hair – but hair says a lot.