On to today’s topic: Favorite Fairytales. This means it’s confession time. I’m a complete and total “Little Mermaid” junky. It’s true. (sigh) I stalked kids at the theater so people wouldn’t realize I was there to see it by myself. I bought an extra DVD when it was available so that I’d have an emergency copy in case of “mishap.” And, uh, Iknowallthewordstothesongs. There are several things about the Little Mermaid that make it a favorite story of mine, despite the fact I didn’t know the story until later in life.
First, I can totally relate to Ariel’s overwhelming desire to live somewhere else. I have a perpetual, incurable case of wanderlust, so I’m forever eyeing the next stop of life’s journey and yearning for it. “I want to be where the people are” is a battle cry for me. I want to surround myself with the “new,” and tend to become obsessed with “thingamabobs” and “whatsits” of faraway, seemingly impossible places (*cough*Ireland*cough*). I can, and have, become so focused on what’s coming that I forget to celebrate what is. Fortunately, I’ve had good friends around me to keep me grounded.
This brings me to my second talking point. Ariel has friends who have her back. Always. And even though they’re a lobster, a fish and a trippy seagull, they have her best interests at heart. They hold the hard lines with her when they need to, even though they don’t always win. And they are always there to commiserate and celebrate. The one thing I would have changed would have been the fact that all her friends are male. I would have loved to see her given a female friend and for that friendship to be valued by the prince. Seems women are forever denied strong female friendships in fairytales while the “evil” sisters or step-mothers or witches are elevated and thrust forward so we’re sure to know who the bad “guy” is.
My final talking point is, not surprisingly, the prince. Prince Eric falls in love with Ariel without the benefit of words and, for someone who talks a LOT (me), this is impressive. The two find a way to overcome their differences and he loves her in spite of a perceived “disability.” This is HUGE. Even though she’s this undeniable beauty, she’s not perfect, and that made the whole story so much more appealing to me. He loves her, not the evil Ursula in disguise (again, a beautiful woman disguise — and why do all the evil women have dark hair???) who’s ironically sporting Ariel’s amazing voice. That Eric loved her when he could have had a woman who wasn’t mute made me mad-crazy in love with him.
What are your thoughts on the Little Mermaid? Do you have a different take on it that you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you. One final thought: if you’ve never read the original fairytale? DON’T. Just…spare yourself. I read it as research for this blog and I’m clinging to my lyrics and HEA harder than ever. Sea foam? Three hundred years for a soul? Prince Charms-a-Little? EEK! Disney, I’m all about your version.