As an ‘80s kid who grew up in the ‘90s, you know that I lived an era that was significantly different to the woke times we live right now, fueled and powered by the magic things we call 4G and Instagram.
I wasn’t blessed enough to have grown up in a time where information was at our fingertips and knowledge was democratised. Entertainment was top-down – you could only get what “they” produce for “us”.
So as such, we grew up in a non-woke bubble where white men made the rules, racial representation just wasn’t a thing, cultural appropriation was cute, and the Middle East were still the enemies. All that aside, the MTV-saturated ‘90s wasn’t without its best bits – the Disney movies that came out hard and fast for pre-pubescent girls like me who were just waiting to eat it all up.
The Little Mermaid played a huge role in my life. It did for every little girl, my best friend and I assumed, but we were next-level obsessed. As obsessed as a little girl could be with a clam-boobed red-headed half-fish, who takes us down this tricky storyline of defying her dad at 16 (defuq Ariel?), risking everything and giving up her all for a guy she met ONCE (and he didn’t even know her name?? She saves him, then, SHE’s obsessed?). She relies on her good looks and wily feminine charms to make the Prince fall in love with her, even though she couldn’t speak (girl, how else would he love you if not for your mind??).
Anyway, we were nary the wiser as afternoon after afternoon I would pop on the VHS and play the movie and consume it with every inch of my being. Every time we met up to play, my best friend and I would sing renditions of Part Of Your World around 20 times. Every time we had access to a swimming pool, best you believe we acted out scenes of The Little Mermaid.
Now that I’m much, much older, a part of me was so excited that a Little Mermaid remake was happening, and what more, to reflect racial representation in this day and age, Halle Bailey was announced as the title lead, Ariel. Yeah!
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She’s part of their world, oh yes! 🐚 Halle Bailey, from the sister duo @chloexhalle, has been casted as Ariel in the new live action remake and we are sooo here for it 😍 She’s got the voice, the look and demeanour; an absolute dream come true! 🧜🏽♀️ . . . #cleomsia #hallebailey #chloexhalle #littlemermaid #littlemermaidliveaction #ariel #disney #disneyprincess [Image credits: @dylanbonner90 ]
Now that the remake is in the works, it’s important, nay, imperative that the storyline be updated to reflect the times we live in. Where we don’t take too lightly to gender constructs of the past, where women live in the #metoo era, where we don’t ever need a man to give our life meaning, and when so-called outwardly beauty does not define one’s worth or how people should treat a person.
So with that, we have rounded up 5 things that need to be addressed in the original Disney storyline in order for this remake to not reach cringe levels — or at the very least serve an important lesson for young, impressionable girls and be reflective of our current day and age.
1. Ariel Shouldn’t Give Up Her Life For A Dude
Okay, so this should just be plain obvious. But I guess, staying true to the original story (which you can read up on here), the Disney version had Ariel literally give up everything (family, friends, a life. She sold her soul, guys.) for a fantasy that she hoped would come true, for a dude who didn’t even know she existed.
We’re sure Hans Christian Andersen (the author of the very original Little Mermaid story) may turn in his grave, or not. TL;DR, his version was going have the Mermaid evaporate into seafoam because the Prince married someone else, but instead she turned into a divine immortal soul because of her sacrifices. Hans was quoted as, “I have not … allowed the mermaid’s acquiring of an immortal soul to depend upon an alien creature, upon the love of a human being. I’m sure that’s wrong! It would depend rather much on chance, wouldn’t it? I won’t accept that sort of thing in this world. I have permitted my mermaid to follow a more natural, more divine path.”
Anyway, the fact is that Ariel still pursued this fantasy just because she saw a handsome $Prince$ sashaying on a boat and she felt a tingle in her mermaid bits. Nuh-uh.
Love, relationships, marriage, all require some sort of work on all parts of the people involved, and it takes way more than falling in love at first sight or the people’s physical looks. Even in the original story, the Prince doesn’t accept the Ariel character and marries someone else he thinks saved his life.
Let that sink in.