Ariel – The Little Mute

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My daughter, like every five-year-old girl loves the Disney Princesses. I mean, we can’t really walk through any store without seeing clothing, dolls, books, backpacks, flash cards, puzzles, games, dress up clothes, videos, bed spreads or shoes that aren’t logoed with these girls.

Since banning the princess paraphernalia we like to play a little game. She tries to think up a princess who was an empowered girl and I explain to her why that princess is not an acceptable role model.

What’s wrong with Ariel, The Little Mermaid? Ainsley asks.

First, Ariel made a deal with the devil, Ursula is pretty much the evil devil character in the story. You must never assume the devil will look a certain way. You should never believe anyone who tells you they can give you something you desire if you give up your talents. Because most likely they are lying.

Second, Ariel had the gift of a beautiful voice. That’s a talent given to her by God. When God gives you a gift or a talent you don’t ever trade that for some guy. I don’t care who the guy is, if he loves you, there will be room for your gifts and talents to flourish.

Third, Ariel fell for the first man she saw. Smart girls date and have a few boyfriends before they settle down and get married. See, it takes practice and trying different boyfriends out before you really know what kind of man will be best for you. Never marry the first man you see.

Fourth, Ariel gave up her family for the prince. True love will never require that you abandon your parents or siblings or friends or life. If a man wants you to give up family or friends to be with him, then he doesn’t really love you.

Fifth, Ariel gave up her voice. No man worthy of your love will want you to give up your voice. You have important things to say, valid and worthy things. Any man you marry should encourage you to say what you think and voice your opinions. Don’t ever, ever let a man silence you.

Give a girl you know an alternative to Disney’s version of girl. Try something likeThe practical princess, and other liberating fairy tales or missing piece meets big o where the messages are you can save yourself and you’re already whole and complete.

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5 comments ↓

#1 Solomother on 08.13.09 at 8:35 pm

A friend of mine went through the same princess battle with her oldest daughter. My favorite book in their arsenal was something about Do Princesses Wear Combat Boots? about a tomboy princess who did things her way. Perfect!

#2 The Princess and The Frog Review — The Girl Revolution on 12.15.09 at 8:36 am

[...] to write a full critique of The Princess and The Frog, the way I have for the other films in the Disney Princess Culture. You know, deconstruct the whole thing and look for meaning, obvious and subtle, relate it to the [...]

#3 Talking to Kids about Love — The Girl Revolution on 02.10.10 at 7:03 am

[...] Ariel who silences herself and gives up her family – she’s the perfect statutory rape victim [...]

#4 The Girl Revolution 40 Days of Love — The Girl Revolution on 02.22.10 at 1:53 pm

[...] to your daughter that you don’t think it’s romantic to give up her voice like Ariel or fall in love with a kidnapper or abusive boyfriend like [...]

#5 Mandy on 04.16.12 at 9:54 pm

Of the things you mentioned I wonder what taught you those things… the movie. So I think that another way to look at it is that movies (even terrifying ones) are trying to teach us what not to do instead. I was raised on Disney Princesses and I honestly can tell you that my husband will tell you that I am very opinionated and that I also accept other’s opinions on things. Also, I’m not sure that I’ll ever try to tell my daughter that something is just good or just evil; everything (yes even Disney) is both because it’s made by humans and humans are falible. Thx for your opinion though.

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