When Kristoff asks Anna for Consent in Frozen

Dr. Christy Sim, a domestic violence expert, posted this on Facebook:

“Every single time my toddler watches Frozen & we get to the scene where Kristoff wants to kiss Anna, I say the same thing. “Lilly look! He asked for consent! That’s so awesome!” And we cheer. Every. Time.

I thought it was a concrete way to cultivate in our children a sense of control over their own bodies as well as combat rape culture. I asked Dr. Christy if she would be willing to share more examples, to which she generously supplied the following. We hope it is a useful resource for parents, and help us pay attention to other teaching moments in pop culture and in your family lives.


Image from Disney Wiki: http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/File:Krissanna.jpg

Teaching Moment #1: Hugging a sibling that doesn’t want to be hugged.

“That’s their body. And we don’t touch it if they don’t want to be hugged.”

Teaching Moment #2: Someone at church or a family member wants a hug/kiss from your child.

“You have the power to control what you do with your body. It’s up to you. I won’t be disappointed or upset if you choose not to do it.”

Teaching Moment #3: Taylor Swift’s song, Blank Space:  “Boys only want love if it’s torture. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya.”

“That’s a sad thought. Why would anyone equate love with torture? Love needs to be a safe place–with no fear of being tortured.”

Teaching Moment #4: Beauty and the Beast: “There’s something sweet, and almost kind. But he was mean and he was coarse and unrefined. And now he’s dear, and so unsure, I wonder why I didn’t see it there before.”

“If someone is mean and coarse–rough and harsh…maybe they aren’t someone we want to spend time with. It’s up to you to make those kinds of decisions about who you want to spend time with. It’s not romantic to be mean.”

Teaching Moment #5: iCarley portraying a girl liking a guy by beating him up (Sam and Freddie).

“Hurting someone is never romantic. We don’t want to touch anyone in a good touch or bad touch, if they don’t want to be touched.”

Teaching Moment #6: In Twilight where Edward sits in Bella’s window and watches her while she sleeps.

“Bella didn’t know he was watching her. She didn’t give him consent to do that. It’s important to ask for consent.”

What are some other examples of ways we can teach children consent? We’d love for you to add ideas and suggestions in the comment section.

Dr. Christy Sim has a doctorate in Global Health and Wholeness with her main area of emphasis and research centering around healing after domestic violence.  She currently works at the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence and sits on the Institutional Review Board for Claremont School of Theology, where she assesses care for vulnerable populations being researched by PhD and Masters students.

You can follow her on Twitter @DrChristySim and on FaceBook as Dr. Christy Sim.

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  • Janet Ross

    I’ve had a few conversations about consent with the 5 and 7 year olds in my life. These are things that people (often adults) do to kids that they should be able to say ‘no’ or ‘stop’ or ‘I’ve had enough’ to: tickling, rough housing, putting them on your shoulders, throwing them around in the pool/lake, pushing on a swing, amusement park rides. These are often things that are fun for a while but stop being fun after a while. Quite the parallel to intimate situations later in life. It’s good for them to know that if they have given consent to something they are welcome to remove that consent at any time.

    • so good Janet, thank you for sharing!

  • Brandon Roberts

    look consent is a good thing but rape culture is a myth and we should teach kids not to rape and respect others but that won’t work for everyone rapists understand what they do is wrong they just don’t care

    • Anna

      Rape culture is the term used to describe the climate where rape victims’ stories are ignored and discounted, where people are so confused about consent that men assume they have a right to women’s bodies no matter what they are told, where people who are rapists don’t always understand that what they did was wrong because they don’t understand consent. Rape culture is when a friend from high school was arrested for sexual assault and then told me he didn’t understand why because all he did was try to make what was, up to that moment, a consensual encounter, more exciting. Never mind the fact that he hadn’t asked her whether she was up for something kinky that could have caused physical injury; he just assumed it would be a good idea and then didn’t know why she had a problem with it. It’s less that he didn’t care and more that he didn’t understand why what he had done was wrong.

      • Brandon Roberts

        “rape victims stories are ignored and discounted” if your referring to people doubting rape victims and asking questions that’s innocent until proven guilty and yes to be fair rape can be hard to prove and some rapists may get off scott free (which is terrible) but the alternative is the salem witch trials which i shouldn’t have to explain is a bad thing. “people are so confused about what consent is so men assume they have a right to a womans body” who assumes they have a right to a womans body except rapists?! as a male in america i never assumed i had a right to a womans body and i’m pretty sure no one else (who isn’t a rapist) hasn’t either. “people who are rapists don’t always understand what they did was wrong cause they don’t understand consent” fair enough but these people are probaly already psychopaths or sociopaths and even when they’re not it’s not proof of a rape culture it’s proof that some people in america are troubled. “a friend from high school was arrested for sexual assault then told me he didn’t understand why because all he did was try to make what was, up to that moment, a consentual encounter, more exciting. never mind the fact that hadn’t asked her whether she was up for something kinky that could have caused physical injury; he just assumed it would be a good idea and then didn’t know why she had a problem with it. it’s less that he didn’t care and more that he didn’t understand why what he had done was wrong.” first off i hope the girl is ok and do feel awful she had to go through that second off i am guessing your friend is an adult so he should’ve been old enough to understand why what he did was wrong

  • Thank you for this excellent post on finding teachable moments in pop culture to talk through challenging and nuanced issues like consent. My daughter is a toddler, but I have already started asking her, “Could I have a hug?” Most of the times she opens her arms up to me (which makes me feel good!), but when she doesn’t, I back off. I want her to know she doesn’t owe me–or anyone–affection.

    • I didn’t do that with my kids when they are young, but I am starting to now – never too late to teach/demonstrate consent!

  • SirThinkALot

    The Beauty and the Beast one isnt the greatest imo. The whole point of that film(and iirc, that particular song) is not judging people because they dont fit societies norms. The Beast has a temper and lacks effective social skills(as much because he’s lived isolated in his castle for years as anything else), but he really is a good person, and genuinely cares about people. In fact his temper is the result of his care for others.

    On the other hand, the villain of the story, Gaston is superficially polite and charming, but has a deep-seeded narcissism(literally gets a whole song that is ‘I’m awesome at everything and everybody loves me’), and sense of entitlement. Such that when Belle rejects him, he resorts to trickory and manipulation to try and win her over.

    Actually thats a good way to teach kids about consent ‘Dont be like Gaston.’

  • Also in “Frozen,” one of my favorite moments: just before they arrive at the trolls, Anna is desperately cold. Kristoff starts to reach around her and then stops, and leads her over to a steam vent.

    Putting his arm around her would have been a legitimate warmth-sharing thing in that situation, but he was aware enough of his own intentions and interests that he stopped. Unlike the traditional “smooth move” of stretching and having your arm “just happen” to land on the girl’s shoulders, here he was being aware of what he was doing.