Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Little Mermaid

The well-known children’s movie, The Little Mermaid, is a household favorite for many families. With a plot line that, on the surface, seems innocent and sweet have some people worried about the underlying issues it could cause in its young viewers. Like in so many other situations there are two sides to the story. In this fairy tale of love, good conquering evil, and eternal happiness there are dark aspects that, when analyzed, could cause the viewer to question the morals that are being taught. Ariel is a beautiful young mermaid who sees the world outside of the ocean as a wonderful place that she would like to explore with a man that she finds very enticing, unfortunately, her father is the king of the ocean kingdom and doesn’t view the humans the way Ariel does. The strong-minded young girl makes the decision to disobey her father and do all she can to explore the outside world. This decision is something that a lot of people see as a positive part of the movie, it’s a “coming of age” scene where Ariel takes the initiative to be her own woman and claim her independence. This is a day that comes in every young woman’s life and not letting the opinions of others influence her is an example to young girls that can be very important, but the way she goes about it is what raises a question in many critics minds. Ariel goes on a quest to find a way to trade her tail in for legs and go find the prince she in convinced she is in love with. Seeking the help of an evil sea witch named Ursula whom her father had banished, Ariel finds her ticket to the human world. The young princess signs a contract stating that in order to get her legs she must make the prince fall in love with her in three days on land. This contract would be much less disturbing if it weren’t for the fact that she had to do this without a voice and the way Ursula would know the prince was “in love” with Ariel was that the prince would kiss her. The moral dilemma behind this contract is very hard to overlook. First, the premise that the 16 year old girl could find “true love” without speaking a single word to a man she had never met before is just plain disturbing. This instills in young girls that all you need is to be physically attractive to make men love you and I think all parents could come to a consensus that their little girls have much more important qualities than that. On top of the shallow values depicted by the first part of the contract the second part is what seems the worst to me. It states that after seducing a man with your looks, the way you know that he really loves you with his whole heart is through is sexual desire for you. In my opinion the negative aspects of this movie prevail as the pros of what your children may learn from it are much less powerful than the cons.