It’s the strangest thing I’ve seen in some time: In a new, unlicensed Frozen app, players deliver Anna and Kristoff’s baby via a magical C-section, with tools including magic ice and a glowing orb.
According to Buzzfeed, the app called “Anna Giving Birth” by developer Oleg Vinogorodov begins with a montage depicting Anna and Kristoff’s courtship, wedding, and pregnancy.
Then, a very pregnant Anna appears before you on an operating table. You inject her with a needle to put her to sleep… because apparently epidurals go in the arm:
Once Anna is asleep, the player is prompted to freeze her belly to numb it. (Maybe as the player, you are acting as Elsa, or she is assisting?)
Then you slice Anna’s abdomen open with a scalpel to reveal her pretty, pink, princessly insides:
…and manipulate a magical glowing orb (not your hands! eww) to remove a really cute baby from her womb.
After cutting the umbilical cord, disembodied hands appear to carry the alert baby away.
Then you use a magic wand to restore her tummy, making it perfectly flat and scar-free—a top priority for every Disney Princess:
The player then joins the baby in another room to weigh and swaddle it, while a modesty patch keeps anyone from noting the sex of the baby.
That’s the game! It’s so bizarre, it’s really kind of funny.
But what does it mean?
Without reading too much into a one-off, unlicensed app, which obviously is not endorsed by Disney, here are a few takeaways and questions to consider:
1. It’s interesting that a game called “Anna Giving Birth” elects not to show her in active labor. Anna does not deliver a child vaginally with, say, assistance from a doctor, midwife, or doula—even though that would have been characteristic of a successful birth in her era. This may betray a broader perspective that views childbirth as a medicalized problem, rather than a natural event: In fact, the U.S. C-section rate has been dramatically increasing without medical need, causing the the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology to urge patients and doctors to avoid unnecessary cesarians.
2. Despite this sound advice, would a self-respecting princess ever push a baby out of her hoo-ha? Maybe in the world of this app Anna had a medical reason to have a C-section—or maybe the physical labor of vaginal childbirth is just an unprincessly form of labor. After all, celebrities are sort of like modern-day princesses, and they have frequently shared their choices to have elective C-sections. In many cases, they cite fear of the changes vaginal childbirth might bring to their bodies and the pain they want to avoid, as well as convenience.
3. Though rather silly, this game confirms that princesses are perfect inside and out (they have pretty pink guts! who knew??), and that after their babies are magically delivered, their pre-baby-bodies return instantly. This part shouldn’t come as a surprise, I suppose: as I explain in The Princess Problem, princess products and unrealistic beauty ideals go hand in hand.
4. Related to this: While it’s odd to see Anna with an instantaneously flat and smooth belly, literally moments after childbirth, this reflects an unhealthy modern attitude—promoted by celebrities and magazines—that moms should make it a priority to regain their pre-pregnancy shape.
Now…. I wonder who could possibly be behind such an odd game, full of pink and princesses and body image issues.
This couldn’t be the work of the infamously incompetent Computer Engineer Barbie, could it?
Oh, Barbie… you shouldn’t have!
Rebecca Hains, Ph.D. is a media studies professor at Salem State University and the author of The Princess Problem: Guiding Our Girls Through the Princess-Obsessed Years, a book meant to help parents raise empowered, media-literate daughters.