The Little Mermaid

Seed & Spark: Finding Ourselves In Our Work

the youtube diaries that became the installation, yr a slut (2010)

We are so quick to label adolescent girls as these terrible, unruly, hormone-driven monsters, but underneath the name-calling and back-stabbing, where do the behaviors originate? It’s easy to say that we, as women, should be holding one another up rather tearing each other down, so why do we lash out so quickly at one another?

Call for Writers: Fatphobia/Fat Positivity

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Negative depictions of fat people are the norm throughout all of pop culture. Though fatphobia crosses racial, gender, and class lines, audiences judge women the most harshly. Fat characters are frequently shown as disgusting, sad, or unlovable. In the horror genre, fatness is frequently represented as terrifying and unnatural. In comedies, fat bodies are often the source of humor. Though few and far between, there are a growing number of fat positive representations popping up throughout TV and film.

Unlikable Women: The Roundup

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Check out all of the posts for our Unlikable Women Theme Week here.

Top 10 Villainesses Who Deserve Their Own Movies

Bad Girls

While villainesses often work at cross-purposes with our heroes and heroines, we love to hate these women. They’re always morally complicated with dark pasts and often powerful and assertive women with an indomitable streak of independence.

Reclaiming Conch: In Defense of Ursula, Fairy Octomother

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Ursula’s show-stopper, “Poor, Unfortunate Souls,” presents case studies of mermen and mermaids made miserable by culture. What this song really teaches is that internalizing cultural messages is a fatal weakness, and rejecting cultural conditioning is a source of great power. Small wonder that Ursula had to die the most gruesome onscreen death in all of Disney.

Tropes vs. Princes: Sexism-in-Drag in Modern Disney Princess Films

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While #Gamergate has not yet officially rebranded itself as #EpicStreisandEffect, the one heartwarming thing about a mob trying to silence their critics is how bad they are at it. The inflammatory atmosphere created by #Gamergate makes it difficult for balanced discussion of Sarkeesian’s critiques, but one interesting aspect that recently occurred to me is how neatly six of her tropes fit the portrayal of men in recent Disney Princess films (from 1989’s ‘The Little Mermaid’ onwards).

Top 10 Villainesses Who Deserve Their Own Movies

Bad Girls

While villainesses often work at cross-purposes with our heroes and heroines, we love to hate these women. They’re always morally complicated with dark pasts and often powerful and assertive women with an indomitable streak of independence.

Child and Teenage Girl Protagonists: The Roundup

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Check out all of the posts for Child and Teenage Girl Protagonists Theme Week here.

What a Witch: Girlhood, Agency, and Community in ‘Kiki’s Delivery Service’ and ‘The Little Mermaid’

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Kiki’s Delivery Service carefully constructs a world where a girl’s agency is expected, accepted and supported, while Disney movies typically present a girl’s agency as unusual, forbidden, and denied. The difference between these two messages is that Kiki’s world anticipates and encourages her independence, while the women of Disney are typically punished for this.

For example, in The Little Mermaid Ariel wants to “live out of these waters,” but her father forbids her exploration of the human world and punishes this dream. Sea witch Ursula exploits Ariel’s desire to discover another world beyond her own as well. This is hardly an isolated incident.

You Say Evil Like It’s A Bad Thing

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Written by Myrna Waldron. Maleficent appears at King Stefan’s castle Last year I wrote a fairly well-received piece defending the Disney Princesses from a feminist perspective, “You Say Princess Like It’s A Bad Thing.” It was always my plan to write a sequel/companion piece to it. I like Belle and Ariel, but I admit that […]

Classic Literature Film Adaptations Week: The Depiction of Women in Three Films Based on the Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen

This is a guest review by Alisande Fitzsimons. Danish author Hans Christian Andersen is one of those writers whose stories—like those by the Brothers Grimm and Scheherazade (the Persian Queen who spun the stories that make up A Thousand and One Arabian Nights)—are so much a part of our culture that you undoubtedly heard them, […]

Women and Gender in Musicals Week: The Little Mermaid

This review by Ana Mardoll previously appeared at Bitch Flicks on May 9, 2012.    Disney. The word is so synonymous in my mind with “animated feature films” that it’s like using “Kleenex” for “tissue.” When children come to my house, as they sometimes do, they’re invariably drawn to my huge selection of “Disney movies,” […]