The Little Mermaid Is My Inspiration

The Little Mermaid Is My Inspiration

A Story by galushka

My childhood is a blurred array of fantasies. An undeniable majority of them was directly or indirectly inspired by my wide collection of VCR Disney princess films. I know, I know, this makes me one of the many easy victims of big corporations and brilliant marketing. But a girl has to use what she can get.

 The Disney renaissance spanned from 1989 to 1999, and it was then when Disney came up with their infallible Broadway-like formula that became a Western cultural phenomenon, thereby swaying most of the 90’s or early 2000s children. Like every girl, I had my favourite princess. Personally, I’ve always loved the Little Mermaid. Maybe because the plot happened underwater, or because of wonderfully upbeat soundtrack. But largely because she was the first martyr I was ever introduced to.

Ariel goes after what she wants at all costs. She defies her father’s orders and sacrifices essentially her whole being for the one she loves. Females are traditionally depicted as the passive counterpart for men, willing to endure suffering or a cursed fate for the purpose of the plot. However, Ariel is anything but passive. From the beginning of the film, she is characterized (surprise, surprise, through a song) as someone who seeks liberation from the life she was born into. When she saves the prince, she finds in him the freedom that she has been looking for, and then she makes a deal with the sea witch to win him over. Through classically feminine attributes like singing, playing with her hair and batting her big, blue eyes, Arielle fights for what she thinks she deserves. 

While not a lethargic persona, it’s hard to compare Ariel to more historically known women in today’s feminism like Rosa Parks. They fight for an ideal, for equal rights and she fights for a man. This gets us to a major cross roads in today’s feminism; women should fight for independence, but necessarily will be dependant if they have a partner? I want to have the right to be emotionally vulnerable without being scared of being taken advantage of. To actively go after my desire and goals, but not let my ambition isolate me. We hear about women who dedicate themselves to their relationships all the time, but only as a faceless collective. We admire the few strong women who have sacrificed everything to make a change in this world, but more often than not, it came at a personal cost.

 There’s the famous quote “Well behaved women seldom make history” by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. Granted, this is still a movie made by rich successful business men who wouldn’t know a glass ceiling if it hit them in the face. The childish nymphet might be the female archetype we’ve been missing out on; the woman who makes mistakes, wrong decisions, is imperfect and yet, relatable. And just like the viewer learns to admire Ariel through Prince Eric’s eyes as both a romantic goddess and a hero, I would expect modern men to compliment my outfit and still give me a choice.

I love the little Mermaid because she is a female with all the girly attributes that don’t hinder, but rather, help her to achieve the seemingly unattainable. Femininity encompasses many different archetypes. The exaggerated waistline and the sea shell bra epitomise an aspect of femininity that should be cherished. To me, it is a promise that I can be my idea of feminine and triumphant. 

© 2017 galushka


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I love this. You make good solid points throughout and it gets you really thinking. I love female heroes and seeing them in leading roles in movies and cartoon series. Even in reality, it is good to see a female CEO, general, or them being a leading figure in some form of industry. Many men would disagree with me but none have a solid, logical reason for why it should be the opposite. I think that most opinions on the matter are based on personal self reflections. The feeling of "inferiority" to a female being in charge. For me, it is quite different. Equality is my biggest belief. There are roles that must be fulfilled, yes, but they should not be walls limiting someones reach. I believe you are correct when you say that women who do stand up and fight for freedom always end up sacrificing something in the end. Many historical figures can account for that. Overall, I enjoyed this. It was a great read.

Posted 4 Years Ago



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Added on December 8, 2017
Last Updated on December 9, 2017
Tags: Disney, Love, Princess, Feminism, personal essay, woman, independance

Author

galushka
galushka

Tel Aviv, Israel



Writing
Diaspora Diaspora

A Poem by galushka