The online edition of Smithsonian magazine features an article by Bob Eckstein that discusses a forgotten shame: the pre-Frosty treatment of snowmen in popular culture. Snowmen were assaulted and abused by children and adults alike, possibly leading to their frequent depiction as drunken, out-of-control anthropomorphic wads of snow.
Snowmen were apparently an easy target — unable to run or fight back, they were also weakened by direct sunlight, and not as dapper as later depictions would have you believe. And advertisers exploited their pathetic nature:
To add insult to injury, the snowman somehow became a spokesperson for any product of an embarrassing sort, appearing in ads for every personal hygiene problem imaginable: dandruff, gas, hangovers, constipation, and bad breath. Add this all up and you have a Frosty with a pretty shaken psyche. We literally built him up only so we could, apparently, knock him down and use him as a piñata. It’s no wonder the snowman turned to booze.
Since those dark years, the snowman’s image has been rehabilitated, and we even have songs and TV specials to celebrate them. But when the holidays have come and gone, we have to wonder about the puddles they leave behind: are those icy tears?
Be sure to check out the online gallery for examples of snowmen depictions.