In St. George and Z found (one of) my least favorite Disney Princess Stories: The Little Mermaid.
Yes, the music’s catchy. Yes, she was seen as a spirited and a "doesn't-play-by-the-rules" type of girl…but where I take serious umbrage is how our heroine gives up her voice (HER VOICE!?!) for the chance to persuade a man she’s never even had conversation with to kiss her based on “her looks, her pretty face.”
While I made Z a promise last year she could watch "The Little Mermaid" movie once she had read (or listened to) “The Feminine Mystique,” I did’t say anything about steering clear of the book adaptation. So there I found myself, curled up with my favorite four year old reading the Golden Book/Disney version of “The Little Mermaid” while Holden listened from afar chiming in with comments like “You should fall in love with someone’s personality” and “She should’ve listed to her father.”
We all recognized that King Tritan destroying all of Ariel's precious dinglehoppers and human treasures did nothing to curb her enthusiasm for the world above. It just made her more upset and less likely to respect her father. (Lesson noted!) But the real gem of the conversation came at the end of the story where Eric and Ariel are pictured post nuptials just three days after meeting with the text “and they were married that day.”
Even before I could sub out “And they lived happily ever after” with “And they began their life together of shared responsibility and mutual respect,” Holden noted that “you should date someone for three years instead of three days before you marry them;" and Zoë tried to assure me that Ariel hadn’t made a foolish decision saying “Mom, I bet she’s gone to college.”
Holden fired back smugly: “I don’t think she’s gone to college Zoë. I don’t think she really knows anything.”
Zoë, indignant at such a harsh critique of the the stubborn and headstrong redhead rebuked her brother firmly: “Yes she has Hoe-den! She went to school. She went to Mermaid College and Mermaid school!”
So that went well.