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Monday, November 16, 2015

Disney Princess Analysis: "Ariel just left her family for some guy she barely knew."

Okay so I have read multiple places that "Ariel just left her family for some guy she barely knew" and variations thereof. I, coincidentally enough, just watched The Little Mermaid within the last month and remember it very freshly so I would like to contribute my opinion on this matter and correct what the feminazis claim based on a distant memory of the film or ignorance of the details in the story. First though, I would like to remind people: These Disney Princess films do not take place in a modern time and setting. Most of them take place over a 100 years ago and are during a time when most people were dead by 40 and half weren't even making it that long. To put it in perspective, the equivalent of a woman 100 years ago at the age of 13-18 is the equivalent of a woman today more at the age of 18-30. This means women matured quicker, got married younger and dated/courted for a much shorter time, if at all, then now.

A. "She left her family for some guy..."
First of all, it wasn't only for a guy as Ariel had long been wanting to join the surface but Eric was just the tipping point. Secondly, so what if it was just for a man? That is her future family. At some point most women will leave their childhood family to start a new family and that is a normal part of life for most people. But ultimately, she was willing to risk her life for love and happiness because she knew exactly what she wanted. She recognized the importance of the future over the past and refused to be stuck in her present. (Though it should be noted that Ursula truly did manipulate and take advantage of Ariel's youth and naivety.)

1. Ariel had wanted to join the surface long before she saw Eric. She was constantly skipping events to go explore. As Sebastian says under his breath just before the concert near the beginning of the film "If only she'd show up for rehearsals once in a while."
Missing Ariel in Beginning of Film
2. The first we see of Ariel, she is exploring and looking for human items which she collects.
BEFORE ERIC: "Wish I could be Part of that world. What would I give, if I could live outta these waters? What would I pay to spend a day warm on the sand?"
3. When Ariel finds a fork in the sunken ship, neither her nor Flounder have any idea what it is. When Flounder asks her if she does know, she responds "I don't know, but I bet Scuttle will." This implies that she has A) gone to the surface before since Scuttle cant swim & B) she has brought him artifacts to identify before. Both of these things confirm her long-time desire for the human world.
"It's a dinglehopper. Humans use these little babies to straighten their hair out."
4. It takes a lot of dedication to understanding (or joining) the human world to save a fork & pipe from a shark. She literally gets right in front of it's face to save this bag despite her large collection of other artifacts.

Even Sebastian realizes that Ariel would be miserable without pursuing her chance on land which is why he agrees to help her try to get Eric to fall in love with her instead of telling on her to Triton immediately. 
"If we could get that witch to give you back your voice, you could go home with all the normal fish and just be... Just be... Just be miserable for the rest of your life. All right, all right. I'll try to help you find that prince."

B. "Some guy she barely knew..."
I don't know where people get this from at all. Ariel sneaked up to the surface when she saw the fireworks and watched Eric for a LONG time (relative for a film) before she rescues him and is separated by him.

During this entire time of watching Eric, she learned many things about him: 
Grimsby tells Eric that he got him a birthday present and Eric gives him a friendly slap and says "Ah, Grimsby, ya old beanpole, you shouldn't have." To which Grimsby replies with, "I know." but then gives a sly smile clearly showing the positive and somewhat close relationship between the two characters. 

1. He plays an instrument and Ariel loves music.
2. He has a good sense of humor as he was joking with Grimsby, his butler.
3. He is not spoiled or selfish as he has a good relationship with his butler and does not talk down to him at all. He treats him almost like an equal. He even has a little nickname "Grim" for him showing Eric is not an uptight guy. 

Grimsby reveals the statue to which Eric responds, "Uh, gee, Grim... Ha! (clears throat) It's, uh... It's really somethin'." not wanting to offend Grimsby.

4. He is not vain as he was not impressed by the statue of himself.

Grimsby tells Eric that he had hoped the statue would be a wedding present. Eric laughs it off and responds, "Come on, Grim. Don't start. Look, you're not still sore because I didn't fall for the Princess of Glowerhaven, are you?"
5. He is picky with women which means he must value and respect women. He doesn't want to just settle for the "princess of Glowerhaven" or any other woman who is attractive. He wants to fall in love with a woman that he can respect and cherish. ("Oh, she's out there somewhere. I just... I just haven't found her yet.")
6. He is hopeful. He believes that he will find the right girl and that he just hasn't found her "yet".

The storm hits... 
7. Eric is not lazy or just some "pretty boy" as he immediately gets hands-on in trying to help secure the ship.
8. Eric is athletic & loyal & brave as he jumps off the row boat and swims back to the burning ship just to save his dog.

At this point, Ariel knows that Eric is handsome, has a sense of humor, is humble and easygoing, respects women, is hopeful and optimistic, is brave and courageous, is loyal and athletic. At this point Ariel knows enough about Eric to know he is a great catch and lots of women would be intrigued by a man who can be described the way Ariel can describe Eric here. 
Ariel's Reprise Wakes Eric Up: "What would I give to live where you are? What would I pay to stay here beside you? What would I do to see you, smiling at me?"
Now they separate, her father destroys everything she had of the human world and there is nothing for her to remember it by. Whether or not Triton was right or wrong is a separate issue. On point here, is the fact that she already had a innate tendency towards the human world, she met a human male who was a great catch (and she clearly hadn't fallen in love with any mermen) and now she was encountered by those predators out there in the world who wait for moments of weaknesses like this. Unbeknownst to Ariel, Ursula had been watching her and took this opportunity to manipulate her.
Quite A Manipulation Tactic: Eels Kicking Eric's Face Over To Ariel Was Completely On Purpose

Ariel goes to Ursula and gets her legs and a chance to see if Eric would fall in love with her and she gets to learn even more about him than before! 

"That voice. I can't get it out of my head. I've looked everywhere, Max. Where could she be?"
9. Eric is not shallow and super loyal. He clearly thinks Ariel is beautiful as he remembers that the woman who saved him was beautiful. When he sees Ariel, he was playing her song on the flute hoping to see her again. When Ariel cannot speak, he assumes it must not have been her and wants to keep searching for his "mystery girl". (He assumes this since normally the voice would be a good way to match the girl.) Ariel's equal beauty wasn't enough to deter him from his loyalty.

Even after Ariel got legs and spent some time with Eric, he didn't want to let go of his "mystery girl". Poor Ariel had to compete with herself. It took 2 day and nights together plus Grimsby's urging for Eric to even consider letting go of his dream and dating Ariel. 
"Eric? If I may say, far better than any dream girl is one of flesh and blood, one warm and caring and right before your eyes."

10. Eric is very kind and generous. He sees that Ariel must have been through quite an ordeal so he takes her to his palace for food and shelter. He is incredibly respectful and polite to her the entire time.

11. Eric is light-hearted. As they are rowing out for a romantic boat ride, Scuttle is killing the mood with his obnoxious yelling. Eric hears this and says jokingly to Ariel, "Wow. Somebody should find that poor animal and put it out of it's misery."

12. Eric is a perfect gentleman. He spends the entire day catering to her and her desires. He takes her to see the puppets, takes her dancing and even lets her "drive" a carriage for the first time. Throughout the entire day he doesn't even try to make a move on her, he just spends time with her. Then when things do get more romantic, he is still a perfect gentleman. He doesn't even want to try to kiss Ariel without knowing her name first. Since she cannot speak, he actually tries to guess what her name is. He is really trying to be as accommodating to her and respectful as possible. Sure, part of it is shyness but that shyness stems from a place of morals.
"You know, I feel really bad not knowing your name. Maybe I could guess."
13. Eric is just as passionate about his love as Ariel is. As a human, he rows out into the ocean and swims down to try and take on the sea witch so as not to lose his dream girl. As he says to Grimsby while he is rowing out, "I already lost her once. I'm not going to lose it again." He is also smart enough to use the ship in Ursula's self-created tornado/tsunami to kill her and save Ariel's life (as well as every other merperson who was captured by Ursula as her spell was undone once she was dead).

14. Ariel's family didn't mind that she was in love and wanted to leave them and move on, they were concerned with her safety over him being a human. This is why her sisters and father were all happy for her when they realized she was in love and why they were so quick to accept her marriage to Eric once he proved himself by killing Ursula and Triton gave Ariel her legs so she could be with him.
Attina: "Oh, she's got it bad." King Triton: "What? What has she got?" Andrina: "Isn't it obvious, Daddy? Ariel's in love." King Triton: "Ariel? In love?...Oh, who could the lucky merman be?"

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