I am a natural redhead. When I was growing up in the 1980’s and 1990’s, it was hard to find on screen characters who looked like me. Among the handful who I could look to as inspiration was Ariel (Jodi Benson) in the 1989 film, The Little Mermaid.
Over the last few years, Disney has rebooted their beloved animated films into live action films. The newest addition to this trend is the live reboot of The Little Mermaid with Halle Bailey stepping into the fins of Disney’s first modern Princess.
I have to admit that I have mixed feelings about this casting. While I applaud Disney for choosing an actress of color to play the role, my heart is still wedded to the idea that Ariel is a redhead. When your growing up and you look different from your peers, you look to film and television characters who look like you. When I was a kid, that was Ariel. As an adult, I don’t agree with her narrative, but her image and the impression she made back then are still with me to this day.
Readers, what do you think? Do you agree or disagree with the casting?
Loosely (and I mean very loosely) based on the story of the same name by Hans Christian Anderson, The Little Mermaid the story of Ariel. Ariel (voiced by Jodi Benson) is 16 and the youngest daughter of the King Triton (voiced by Kenneth Mars). Rebellious and headstrong (as many teenage girls are), Ariel falls in love with a human prince, Eric (voiced by Christopher Daniel Barnes). Making a deal with the sea witch, Ursula (voiced by Pat Carroll), Ariel trades her voice and her tail for legs to hopefully be with Eric. But is it worth the trade-off and will she have her happy ending?
I have mixed feelings about this movie. On one hand, Ariel is is Disney’s OG Ginger. As a redhead, especially as a redhead of a certain generation, Ariel will always have a place in my heart. But that does not mean that I have issues with the character and the narrative.
Ariel is a size 2. Most of us are not a size 2.
How does she not have third degree sunburns? One of the cardinal rules of being a redhead is that sunscreen is a mandatory part of our morning routine.
She willingly gives up her voice and her legs (i.e. her identity) for a man who she barely knows. Not exactly the message that we should be imparting to our daughters.
When push comes to shove (i.e. Ursula tries to get in the way of Ariel and Eric’s happy ending), it is Eric that saves the day.
Ariel wears a pink dress. I don’t know about other redheads, but it’s not a color that exists in my wardrobe.
Ursula is old and fat. Ariel is young and skinny. Therefore, young and thin is good. Old and fat is bad.
Despite my concerns with this movie, The Little Mermaid will always have a place in my heart. I can’t believe it’s been 28 years.
The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.
In the midst of conformity, it’s easy to stay silent. It’s harder to speak out, not knowing what the retribution will be.
It seems that most Republications are content to remain silent since the 2016 election and endorse the lack of constructive leadership that has become the norm since Donald Trump took office back in January.
Thankfully, there have been some within the Republican Party who are daring to speak up and put country over party. Senators Jeff Flake and Bob Corker have publicly reprimanded Trump for his lack of leadership and his inability to do what is best for the country.
While both men have chosen to retire and not run again for their respective seats, I thank them for their courage and their honesty. Though I wouldn’t mind seeing them in the Senate for another few years. This country needs more like them.
One of the phrases I’ve been hearing frequently over the past few weeks is a reference to the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes“. I’m not a huge fan of fairy tales, but this story is proving to be eerily relevant.
Gentlemen, I thank you for your service and speaking up. It’s time we had more like you in the houses of government.