When I lived downtown I used to go to the public library on the weekend, it was big, had free books, and I didn’t have to pay for the electricity, but you ran into some really odd people on occasion and many of them don’t feel the slightest bit inclined to keep their nose out of other people’s business which is why I overheard the following conversation take place one day when I was looking for a DVD to check out.
A little girl (about 5) had been told to choose only two movies, but she picked up two and then saw the Little Mermaid and wanted it as well. As she argued the fact that she wanted all 3 with her mother, a random woman who was also looking at DVDs interrupted them.
Woman: Oh you don’t want to get The Little Mermaid.
Little girl: Yes I do, Ariel is my favorite.
Woman to girl’s mother: That’s really not a good movie for girls.
Mother: I’m not sure why it’s your business. (score one for mom)
Woman: I just don’t think girls should watch movies that tell them they have to throw away their life and get plastic surgery to get a man. (I rolled my eyes)
The mom just glared at the woman and refused to engage any further, which was the right choice I believe. She told her daughter to choose two movies and they ended up with The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast and even though I despise people who butt into other people’s conversations, I said “Belle is my favorite!” The little girl smiled and waved at me and her mother smiled at me as well and hopefully I made that awful experience a little less awful.
Once again, a feminist missed the point and, once again, they did so because they were too busy focusing on the physical body of a woman rather than the character and story as a whole.
First of, Ariel didn’t go to the surface or do anything else in order to “get her man” or at least that wasn’t the entire reason. If you have actually watched the film you would know that Ariel had always wanted to go to the surface, she was naturally curious and the surface world was the one place she could not go. Until the appearance of Eric and her father’s destruction of her collection of surface objects, she did not have the courage to take such a huge step…or wasn’t desperate enough.
Ariel steps out of her comfort zone in order to do something she has always dreamed of doing.
As for this ridiculousness about how her loss of voice not being important, because the prince doesn’t want to hear her speak.
Did these feminists even watch this movie? If they had they would know that her inability to speak is actually a pretty big detriment to her whole endeavor. The only thing the prince really remembers about her is her voice and so making him fall in love with her (a requirement placed on our heroine by the villain, if you care to remember) is a bit difficult when he thinks he’s in love with someone who has a voice.
In fact, the only person who ever espouses the idea that all women need is a pretty face and an empty head to get by… is Ursula…a supremely ugly witch and the villain, who pretty much lies to and manipulates all the other characters in the film. You’re going to believe her? Even when Ariel’s ability to speak is the actual savior of the day in this film?
Oh that’s right, feminists think that because Ariel was “saved by a prince” it invalidates her ability to be a strong female character, but the only reason Eric was able to attack Ursula was because Ariel got her voice back and broke the spell that Ursula/Vanessa put on him earlier.
She saved Eric (twice I might add) and he turned around and saved her, and her father, in return. No character* can save themselves all the time, male or female. Sometimes you need help.
Ariel as a character teaches us to take risks to get what we want and to step outside our comfort zone.
The film in general teaches us to read contracts before we read them and not to act hastily when we are are in an emotional state.
Also don’t make deals with creepy women in dark caves, they are likely not looking out for you best interest.**
Also, for parents, don’t punish your children in anger. It will only push your children (especially teenagers) away from you and you will probably regret it more than they will learn from the punishment.
I think, in the end, we can all agree that this Ariel is a much better role model for girls than the original at least. Not a suicide in sight in this version.
Tune in next time to find out why Snow White is not a story of how women should just stay in the kitchen if they want to live.
*Excepting characters played by Chuck Norris of course…and Jack Bauer.
**Admittedly less likely to be useful advice in your day to day life, but you never know.