4 comments on “Enough Already: A Feminist’s Defence of Belle and Ariel

  1. I’ve always had a bit of a problem with Ariel. Not from some sort of feminist perspective but as a parent. Ariel disobeys her father (who yes is a touch misguided but he’s trying to protect her), makes a deal with a witch, gets her dad killed (essentially) and then gets everything she wants. That’s always grated on me but I let my daughter watch it anyways because like you suggest, I talk to my kid.
    Belle on the other hand is my favorite Disney princess. I love her spirit, I love the way she stands up to people treating her as though she should be some dumb housewife. And I love that she is willing to give the Beast a chance, to teach him how to treat her.
    Awesome post as always :D

  2. The father-daughter relationship in The Little Mermaid has always interested me, because I think Ariel is seriously out in left field on this one. Other than Triton’s massive parenting fails of destroying her stuff (no) and forbidding her relationship (because, uh, basic psychology there, dude), I’m pretty much on board with him. To me, it looks like he set no boundaries for her while she was a child, only to backtrack and attempt to slam them down when she was 16. She’d never heard “no” before, and wasn’t going to start now.
    But like you said — it’s an excellent point of discussion for parents and kids, to talk about who was right and wrong and why. I know I’m not a parent so my opinion is entirely theoretical, but it does seem like a much more effective approach than BANHAMMER!!!!!

  3. Love it!
    I always hated when the Beast changed back. I thought it was gross to see, and I thought he was ugly and weird sounding as a human. Do not like!
    As a kid King Triton bugged the shit out of me, I felt like he was sheltering her too much and pushing her to a future she wasn’t interested in, and destroying her things was sooooooo not ok. But a lot of that was probably responding to how I felt about my parents in some ways. In retrospect, I see many ways in which they were awesome parents, allowing me a lot of freedoms, and in other ways they really stifled me.
    Hoooorraaaaayyyy discussions with kids.

  4. Ha, yeah, Robby Benson’s normal voice sounding incredibly sissy did not help the whole endeavour. :P The musical handles it a little better, actually — she doesn’t recognize him, so he begs her to look into his eyes and see “the Beast inside”. Then she gets it.
    King Triton … it’s interesting. I am NOT on board with him destroying her stuff — like, 100%, no, no, no, no, never. Once or twice my parents threw away my things, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. That part of the movie will always, always make me cringe. But on the other hand … she’s 16, and giggling around like a girl with a crush. Which is cool! And totally appropriate for someone her age! But marrying the dude? Heck no. I think he had every right to panic — the quintessential, “my daughter is with an older man and it’s way too serious too fast and I don’t know anything about him!!” thing. Unnnnfortunately he reacted in pretty much the worst way possible. :P

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