Things Feminists Hate: Disney Princesses – Ariel

Image property of Disney.

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 FeministAriel.jpgconversations, 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.

FeministAriel2.jpg

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.

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21 Comments

  1. Those are all of the women who disgust all of us men, not by there appearance but by what they say. They are bitter because they probably once loved Ariel and their envy and greed made them the way they are. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to becoming a liberal. Great article.

    • Yes, we feminists are all bitter because we are corrupted by envy and greed, right?

      Are you even reading the amount of nonsense you have written? I doubt you’d enjoy watching a cartoon about a guy who dreams of leaving his loving family behind for some girl he only knows for a few hours, altering his own body for this girl to accept him and then whines to his parents to leave him alone.

      If anything, you’d probably hate that male character. But since Ariel is female, and therefore isn’t of your gender, you are don’t see just how ridiculous her character is.

  2. I liked The Little Mermaid when i was a kid. I don’t see the controversy here at all. Only the modern feminists would have a problem with it. You’re right, they don’t get the whole point of the movie.

  3. I’ve always hated Ariel, but not because she “changed herself to get a man.” She wanted to become human and live on land before she even met Eric, plus she also consistently blew off her family to pursue human stuff before she even went after Eric (blew off the family concert to search sunken ships), so those claiming she just changed herself or abandoned her family just for a guy need to either watch the movie again or be quiet.

    However, I hate Ariel because I think she’s a selfish, inconsiderate brat that constantly rushes off to do whatever she wants, whenever she wants, without considering the consequences, without caring how her actions affect others (endangers Flounder by dragging him into shark waters, expects Sebastian to risk her father’s wrath by keeping her secret, worries and breaks her family’s heart by running away to Ursula, etc) lets other people risk themselves to bail her out after she does something reckless or dangerous (Daddy bails her out of the deal she signed with the Obviously Evil Ursula, Eric saves her after Ursula starts abusing the power she got from Ariel’s stupidity), and she never learns from her mistakes, or shows any gratitude or concern for the people who basically rescue her and ensure her happy ending.

    THAT’S why I dislike Ariel and consider her a bad role model. I think she teaches kids that it’s okay to be selfish, inconsiderate, disregard people’s advice, to rush off to do reckless or dangerous things, because then the people in your life that you ignore, blow off, or take for granted will still trip over themselves to help you and you’ll have a happy ending anyway.

    • I don’t think she teaches that actually. I think that children see what she does and see that it gets her into trouble and they learn from that.
      I consider it a teaching experience. If you aren’t letting the movie babysit the kid, it can be used as a springboard to discuss Ariel’s actions. Children are impulsive, it doesn’t do any good to pretend they aren’t.

      You have a more reasonable reason for disliking her, I just disagree that it’s bad for kids to see.

  4. I find the recent attacks on Disney princesses by feminists a bit misguided, as usual. Ariel, Jasmine, Mulan, Belle, it was these ladies who taught me to lead an active, imaginative, adventurous, mindful, trusting and independent (if not slightly rebellious depending on the view) life with no regrets and to be kind to the people around me no matter of status. I never learned from these princesses to make my whole life about bagging a prince, but that attracting a good, charming man is a happy side effect of living my life fully. Though emulating those princesses makes me feel beautiful, I never thought I need to look like them to be beautiful. It is the warped real-life people who send those messages to young girls with their words and actions but are too blind or unwilling to take responsibility. I was glad to come across these posts.

  5. I am loving your posts. As a mother of a little girl, I have been bombarded with all of these opinions on why the princesses are going to make my daughter a helpless, dependent, needy waste. I think people just need to relax and accept the characters for what they are, make believe. I like to believe my daughter is surrounded by all types of real life strong independent women and men that will help shape who she becomes. She can dress in her beautiful princess dress and dance all she wants because I know she will be great at whatever she chooses to be and not defined solely by a character in her favorite movie when she was 3. I agree all of these princesses are so much more than they are given credit for by their haters as well. Thanks for the posts! Exactly what I needed to read as it is so easy to lose a little confidence when parenting!

    • I think you misunderstand my title. I wasn’t going to title my piece “Things Some Subsets of Feminists Hate” now was I?
      I get it, not all feminists have the same opinion. That does not invalidate the fact that a LOT of feminists have bad opinions of disney characters. I obviously wasn’t going to link to every single instance of this criticism, that would be a waste of space in an article.

  6. I think it’s interesting about how people keep saying “it teaches young girls _______.” I grew up with these princesses as role models and they never taught me to be dependent or needy. As I am today, at the age of fourteen, they still inspire me to be independent, active, curious, daring, selfless, adventurous, creative, brave, passionate about what I enjoy, and persistent no matter what I’m doing. They taught me to believe in the best of humanity and the idea of love being one of the most powerful things in the world. They taught me to go after whatever dreams I have, even if they’re against the status quo. As for the “needing a man” aspect, the thing is, they’re love stories. The man needs the woman as much as the woman needs the man, and they’re always there for each other. And that’s what love is. That’s not a bad lesson, is it? No.

    The other thing I see moms say a lot is “I don’t want my kid growing up believing in all this happily ever after and dreams come true nonsense, because they’ll never survive in the real world with that.” So yeah, actual PARENTS are out there basically saying “I don’t want my kid to think their dreams can come true.” Dear God. Anyway, what I mean to say is: trust me, your kids KNOW that. If they don’t, it only means they’re too young to. And what’s the problem with that? Let them have their happily ever after. Letting go of the illusion of fairytales, though it can still be enjoyed, is part of maturing and growing older. But kids have all their lives to be told no or where to go or they’re only dreaming. (If you see what I did there.) There’s nothing wrong with having one universe where things can just be right. It gives you hope, and hope is inspiring. There’s no real downside to it.

    That woman had no right to do that. What made her feel it was okay to ruin a little girl’s favorite princess for her? It’s fine to have your own opinion, but you don’t have to shove it down other people’s throats, or make them feel ashamed for having a different view. Because that certainly isn’t empowering. I feel sad for the people who portray Disney Princesses at the Disney parks; they must get crap like that all the time! Thank you so much for this blog. It really restores my hope in humanity.

    Belle’s my favorite, too. 🙂

  7. A very funny thing just happened. I’m in a bit of a “little mermaid” situation myself right now, and I was just laying awake agonizing over it a bit. Awhile back I had recognized some parallels to the Disney’s Little Mermaid story – here I am, totally infatuated with a guy, probably not for who he is but for the foreign world he represents. Is this okay? Will pursuing this only bring me misery, or is it really what I want? Is it worth what I’ll have to give up? Mulling over these thoughts in bed, I got my phone out and googled “Little Mermaid Analysis.” I read a few other articles before coming to this one, and then laughed out loud when I saw an image of my own creation. Believe it or not, I’m the one who wrote that caption about drastically changing your body to get a man. And, well, I’m inclined to try and defend myself here, I wasn’t really being serious, I made that image in response to a Reddit post on “What Disney Movies Teach Men.” It was basically my way of saying, “Oh yeah? That’s not really so bad compared to what you could interpret as lessons to women.” To my amusement the image was reposted quite a bit.

    I suppose that’s all besides the point though, it can be argued that the creator’s intent doesn’t mean much. It’s an idea I put out there, and it’s interesting to see it being discussed. Just, uh, try and keep in mind that it doesn’t necessarily reflect “the feminist who wrote this.” Am I a feminist? Well yeah, going by the definition that I believe in equal rights for women. But I’m not very involved in the social movement aside from just trying to be the best person (who is also a woman) that I can. Do I hate The Little Mermaid? No way! It’s one of my favorite Disney movies, since I’ve always really identified with Ariel. She did what she could to get what she wanted, and for good or bad I share that spirit. And I would never, ever, ever tell a little girl not to watch the movie because of it’s bad messages to girls.

    Misinterpreted creator intent aside, good post. I still don’t know what to do about my lovely dark-haired prince, but you’re right, it really has more to do with me than it does with him. I just need to figure out what I want, and experiencing his world will only inform my position, which I think is a good thing. If it takes a little sacrifice, so be it.

    • Interesting.
      Well I hope your situation works out.

      I feel sort of bad that your work has been taken out of context. As you say it’s less about creator intent and more about how it’s interpreted and my experience with it has been widely from the “social justice” feminists on the internet who have really turned it into what I was complaining about.

  8. As a mom, I have a new respect for Ariel’s father. I would do the same thing if my girls became hoarders. And, obviously, I will have to blame this movie if they do. Because Disney is totally a mind controller. Now where to get a cool trident by then…
    Kidding aside, I love these posts! My toddler is going through a princess phase and loves the “evil-teaching-girls-to-be-housewives-and-baby-machines” toys (as I’ve seen feminists call them), much to her daddy’s dismay. Of course, he is getting over it since Merida is her favourite, and she’s such a little athletic spit fire. I’ll just have to take a cue from what my grandma did with me, and keep shorts under her dresses.

  9. I consider myself a feminist and hardcore love ariel! She is my favorite Disney Princess and always has been. Are you assuming that the “random woman” you saw at the store was a feminist? Why? That kind of horrible attitude she had about women’s choices doesn’t seem even remotely close to being feminist at all….(at least, not from my point of view?) I think other feminists NEED to encourage ALL of a woman’s choices, from wanting to be a housewife(it’s her choice, after all?) to being president of the US or even a mechanic(GO YOU!)– it’s their choice, I don’t see the issue.

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