Life is about finding yourself and learning more about who you are. Unfortunately, like most media outlets, most children movies do not point out the importance of being who you are. Little girls are not taught by the media to love themselves before they love someone else. This is why little girls grow up trying to find “Mr. Right” or their “Prince Charming” before they know who they are. They are taught to be what the other people in the world want them to be. This is no different in Walt Disney’s The Little Mermaid, where Ariel gives up her voice, a key aspect of who she is, to gain legs in hope of finding true love.
Throughout The Little Mermaid Ariel becomes obsessed with life above the surface instead of focusing on what she has at her fingertips. Her father, King Triton, spends the majority of the movie telling his daughter Princess Ariel to stay away from the surface because it is dangerous. Ariel becomes fixated on everything that has anything to do with life on land. Her main obsession revolves around a man she saved after a shipwreck – a man she barely knows. The fact of the matter is everyone, whether they are animated or not, wants what they cannot have. I have straight hair so I long for curly hair. Ariel lacks legs and a chance to fulfill her fantasy of finding “Mr. Right,” so she wants legs.
The particular scene I want to focus on is shown below in the YouTube clip. I’m showing this particular clip because it captures the point in the story where Ariel gives up an important aspect of herself so that she can obtain a chance to fulfill the ultimate fantasy of having her Prince Charming. The clip shows Ariel going to meet the sea witch Ursula to make a deal with her. In exchange for Ariel’s voice Ursula promises her legs and a chance at love. The catch is, Ariel does not just lose her singing voice – she loses her voice all together.
The clip ends once Ariel has reached the surface thanks to her faithful friends Flounder and Sebastian. After she has reached the surface she finds it almost impossible to get her kiss because Eric is caught up trying to find the woman who saved him – the one with the very beautiful voice. Ariel is obviously frustrated by this but cannot voice her thoughts because she wagered her voice when she made her deal with the sea witch. Ursula was sabotaging Ariel and Eric’s relationship by using Ariel’s voice as a weapon. According to the Disney Archives, “Ariel and Eric together foil Ursula’s evil plans, save the undersea kingdom, and receive Triton’s blessing.” But, what worries me is -what if the truth never came out?
Ariel would have lost an important part of herself – her voice. Her voice allows her to express her thoughts and feelings and she gave that up for a man she didn’t even know. Why can’t we just accept ourselves for who we are in today’s society? This movie came out about 20 years ago and the media, to this day, still paints the picture of Prince Charming coming in to save the day. Why? Learn about yourself, find what is special about you and use it to your advantage. Nobody should feel the need to change who they are to find their significant other because when you do find them they will love you for who you are.