The Little Mermaid Controversy: Wrecking Your Childhood- The Little Mermaid Was Much More Seditious

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In 1989, Walt Disney Pictures and Walt Disney Feature Animation released the American musical fantasy picture The Little Mermaid. It’s the 28th Disney animated feature picture, and it’s based on Hans Christian Andersen’s 1837 Danish fairy tale of the same name.

The film follows the adventures of a young mermaid named Ariel, who falls in love with a human prince named Eric and makes a pact with the sea witch Ursula to turn into a human so that she can be with him.

John Musker and Ron Clements co-wrote and directed The Little Mermaid, and Musker and Howard Ashman (who also co-wrote the film’s songs with Alan Menken) produced and oversaw the film’s creation.

Music for the film was also written by Menken. There are many voice actors in the movie, including Jodi Benson, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Pat Carroll, Samuel E. Wright, Jason Marin, Kenneth Mars, and Buddy Hackett.


An instantaneous and vicious outcry arose against a black Little Mermaid. However, our conceptions of aquatic goddesses have always included figures of color other than Ariel. Halle Bailey, an R&B singer, and actor was cast as Ariel in the upcoming live-action adaptation of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, which was a great box office success in 1989.

Predictably, there was pushback against this casting decision, which is sad. For many people, the image of a mermaid is one with fair skin and bright red hair because of the 1959 Disney picture.

the little mermaid controversy

An online petition saying that a black mermaid was “a violation of Ariel’s original creator” and the hashtag “#notmymermaid” were only two examples of the hatred that followed.

Bailey was silent at first, but then she issued a statement in which she said, “I am coming to comprehend this picture is something so much bigger than myself.”

Indeed. For thousands of years, humans have imagined and recorded stories about mermaids, or pre-Christian sea goddesses. However, it is interesting to note that one of the earliest mermaids to be recorded in literature was a black mermaid.

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The Assyrian Goddess Atargatis Had a Human Lover Named Hadad

A shepherd, whom she accidentally killed. There are a few different versions of the legend, but my favorite one has her dazzling him with her passionate sex skills.

Atargatis was so devastated by the loss of her partner, with whom she had a kid, that she attempted suicide by jumping into a lake. The gods transformed her into a mermaid to save her.

“I’m starting to get it that this movie is about more than just myself”… Greetings, Ms. Bailey (Halle).
There have been countless hoaxes and supposed sightings of mermaids despite the fact that they are purely fantastical beings that exist only in our collective imagination.

Legend has it that on one of his trips, Columbus saw a mermaid and remarked how hideous she was. Yet, we can’t help but be attracted to them since they represent a form of the impossible lover: a symbol of our unfulfilled desires.

From Homer to Hans Christian Andersen (The Little Mermaid), and on to Freidrich de la Motte Fouque, these characters have all been popularised by male authors and artists (Undine).

Our mermaids, like the sirens in the Odysseus story, are dangerously alluring seductresses that lure unsuspecting sailors to their deaths.

Many people look down on and even shun mermaids because they are often held responsible for bad things that happen or are the targets of curses. So while the mermaid may be supernatural and possess great power, she is also a woman who is imprisoned and stripped of her sexuality.

Ursula Personifies Internalized Misogyny

Disney has been accused of promoting bigotry and other negative values throughout its history.

Ursula‘s persona exemplifies the result of systematic sexism, and the only thing more terrible than misogynistic men is misogynistic women.

As a matter of fact, the very idea of Ursula’s character is sexist. It becomes clear as the film progresses that Ursula is obsessed with Ariel because she is envious of Ariel’s beauty and “princess” title.

Ursula is a woman set against another girl, but this only serves to reinforce the idea that women must compete with each other to achieve their goals and secure the men they desire.

the little mermaid controversy

Also, like the stereotypical male aggressor, Ursula utilizes her superiority to take advantage of Ariel. Ursula informs Ariel that having a voice is not only unnecessary in order to win over Eric, but also turns men off.

The answer is, “You’ll never even miss it… It looks like you’ll get your way! Your lovely features,” Ursula said. The men on land are bored by women who constantly chatter, hence “a female who gossips is a bore” is a common saying among mariners.

This isn’t just about Ariel being silenced by a man or objectified because of her appearance; it’s about women advocating for the systemic silencing of women, discouraging young women by playing on their fears, and confirming that they are helpless against men Ugh.

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Some have called The Little Mermaid “the movie that put Broadway in cartoons.” The Oscar-winning score was composed by Alan Menken, with additional songwriting by Howard Ashman.

Part of Your World,” one of the film’s most memorable songs, was nearly omitted after a negative test screening with kids who reportedly got disruptive.

As a result, Jeffrey Katzenberg decided the song had to go, despite the objections of composers Michael Musker, Scott Clements, and Brian Keane.

When pitching the idea to Katzenberg, Musker and Clements drew parallels to the time that “Over the Rainbow” was almost omitted from the 1939 film adaptation of The Wizard of Oz.

Before the film was in its final form, Keane insisted that the song stay. The second time around with a kid-specific audience, the updated and colored version of the scene did well enough to keep the accompanying musical number in the final cut.

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