Of all the Disney princesses, I never really got Ariel. Sure, being a guy in a home with three boys and just one girl in the family, most of the toys revolved around the like of Buzz Lightyear and Stitch more than those of Disney’s royal-pink moneymakers. But even beyond that fact, I could never sympathize with her. I understood Belle wanting to avoid the ridicule and humiliation she faced in her town in favor for adventure. I got why Cinderella dreamed of a fantasy to escape her monstrous stepfamily. But Ariel? Meh. Don’t see what the big deal is. [Dodges seashell thrown by readers.] Not to worry, I love Ariel and The Little Mermaid
now. But, if I’m being honest, that wasn’t always the case. Let’s back up for a moment, and examine what could have warranted that initial judgment of Ariel. The Rotoscopers now present, “Hating on Ariel, Using Irrelevant Slang, Without Understanding Her Impact on The Disney Legacy,” or “HOAUISWUHIOTDL” for short. Here is, basically, how I viewed The Little Mermaid
for a long time: Well, I should probably
go to that important concert that everyone prepared so hard for and is taking place in my honor…
…but, you know what? YOLO! I’d rather go risk my life in an abandoned ship in an area prone to shark attacks! I live on the wild side. COME AT ME.
I’m a hoarder!
Woah… come on, Pops. I know I deliberately disobeyed you and totally put the entire sea kingdom in danger, threatening everything that is important to our existence, but that is no reason for you to destroy all my swag. Not cool.
What do I do now? I know! I’ll go see the sea witch! I heard she’s a little cray-cray, but… I’ll wait and hold off judgment until I actually meet her. GIVE ME YOUR VOICE.
Oh, she’s fine, IDK what errybody fussed about. Here, lady, give me a species change just because I have a hormonal crush on a rich prince!
You can disobey your parents and still get everything you want, including marriage at 16! So… yeah. I wasn’t too kind to Ariel growing up because I just saw her as a headstrong heroine who needed a reality check. It’s only now that I really understand the sophistication of her character and the weight of what her story means to Disney and to animation as a whole. It’s safe to say that without The Little Mermaid
, animation would be a very different medium than what it is today, if it even still existed at all.
I never wrapped my head around this possibility because Ariel was simply always a small part of the big Disney family I’ve always known. I wasn’t even alive when her film released in 1989, so I had no way of knowing that, to many people, Ariel was the first runaway hit of a Disney character that generation had, after years and years of mediocre attempts to revive the Disney classic genre. She was the one to pave the way for those who followed, for those who I was so enthralled with while I ignored that mermaid I thought was whiny. Yes, she was confident and headstrong like I thought she was, but those were reasons to admire her, not put her down, and in any case she was the first
, not just one of many like I always saw her to be. So you could say Ariel and I have always had a love-hate relationship. Now, though, I think things are going swimmingly. [Insert drum rimshot.]
Read more Princess Profiles: