Homophily Won’t Let Us “Let It Go”

If there is one song that I have to say was the hit song of 2014, it would be “Let It Go” from the movie “Frozen.” I myself have yet to see the movie, which premiered in 2013, even though my family and the rest of the world, it seems, already have numerous times. Yet, this song, that one line “let it go, let it go,” is embedded in my head forever; the movie, the characters, the song— they are everywhere! So why can’t we escape the Disney’s phenomenon “Frozen”?

Psychologists Yalda Uhls and Maryam Kia-Keating, who are sisters by the way, explain to CNN why the movie continues to be so popular. I learned that the two main characters are sisters named Anna and Elsa. Uhls states that the family-themed message in the movie resonates with little children. Homophily, the principle that we tend to be similar to our friends, is apparent here with children finding connection to the ties of the two sisters; kids can easily identify with Anna and Elsa’s friendship. Kia-Keating adds that because of this, preschoolers have a “loyalty and unrelenting interest to watch this movie over and over again.” Elsa also has powers, and according to Uhls, children feel empowered when a character they can relate to has powers, since said children are always told what to do. Preschoolers’ behaviors are also much like Anna’s and Elsa’s, impulsive with lack of emotional control. Finally, the message behind the “Frozen” theme song, “Let It Go,” is about being a good girl or boy, a message kids often hear so they copy it.

Next time you see Anna and Elsa anywhere or hear my hit song of 2014, remember it’s only the effect of homophily at its best (especially for Disney with “Frozen” being its highest-grossing animated film).


One thought on “Homophily Won’t Let Us “Let It Go””

  1. This article helps to further explicate the practical applications of the concept of ‘homophily’, particularly in marketing. Its known that the concept of homophily is embodied in the different patterns and clustering of social networks, but to take that concept and use it to attract potential ‘consumers’ (in this case young children) seems like an interesting practice. Marketing is particularly strange as it consists of introducing products that are (believed to be) desired by consumers, as well as sometimes setting the standard for what is to be desired (depending on the scope and influence of the advertisement, agency,etc.). So, when marketing a film towards children by appealing to their perceived association with the characters (homophily), that pattern of association/selection is used to generate profit through the sale of merchandise for the film. This seems to be a fairly manipulative practice as the children are drawn to the movie due to the principle of homophily (associating with those whom one is similar to; childhood/family bonds, etc.), while at the same time the children, who actually like the movie/desire the merchandise, have no money to spend of their own; marketing towards children forces the parents of those children to buy the products their kids want (ultimately making ‘Frozen’ the highest grossing animated film of all time), simply because those children are drawn to characters through the inescapable principle of homophily.

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