The debate about Disney sexism has been raging for a while now: are Disney princess movies anti-feminist? Should we care? Do we care? Arguably, sexist Disney movies feature a special kind of anti-feminism: the kind that's buried underneath layers of feel-good music and happy endings.
The sexism in The Little Mermaid could be considered one of the worst offenders because sexist ideals hide behind a heroine who is traditionally thought of as spunky, independent, and fiercely feminist: Ariel. We're sad to say, once you look a little closer, that's just not the case. According to its critics, The Little Mermaid is sexist and there's no way around it. Here are the seven biggest arguments that the 1989 animated blockbuster isn't quite so wholesome.
Let's take a look a look at the characteristics of a "good" woman through the lens of The Little Mermaid: young, slim, beautiful, scantily clad, silent, and yearning for a man (Ariel).
Now let's look at the characteristics of the "evil" woman in the film: old, voluptuous, loud, living outside of societal norms, and independent (Ursula).Is it just us, or is that f*cked up?
Before Ariel trades in her voice for a pair of legs, Ursula sings a song to convince her to give up the goods. This gem of a verse seals the deal:
"You'll have your looks, your pretty face
And don't underestimate the importance of body language, ha!
The men up there don't like a lot of blabber
They think a girl who gossips is a bore!
Yes, on land it's much preferred for ladies not to say a word
And after all dear, what is idle prattle for?
Come on, they're not all that impressed with conversation
True gentlemen avoid it when they can
But they dote and swoon and fawn
On a lady who's withdrawn
It's she who holds her tongue who get's a man."