Friday, November 15, 2019

Poor, Unfortunate Souls

It's always hilarious when people try to rationalize their aesthetic likes as moral excellences on the basis of purely arbitrary associations. "The Little Mermaid Was Way More Subversive than You Realized", in the Smithsonian:

While teaching young Ariel how to “get your man,” Ursula applies makeup, exaggerates her hips and shoulders, and accessorizes (her eel companions, Flotsam and Jetsam, are gender neutral)—all standard tropes of drag. “And don’t underestimate the importance of body language!,” sings Ursula with delicious sarcasm. The overall lesson: Being a woman in a man’s world is all about putting on a show. You are in control; you control the show. Sells added, “Ariel learns gender, not as a natural category, but as a performed construct.” It’s a powerful message for young girls, one deeply threatening to the King Tritons (and Ronald Reagans) of the world.

In short, Ursula represents feminism, the fluidity of gender, and young Ariel’s empowerment....

The only response to this is: LOL. I suppose, if anybody had actually been thinking about this at the time, that making feminism the villain of the story, feeding a young girl lies in an attempt to steal her voice and destroy her family, from whom the girl needs to be saved by her father and her potential husband, would indeed have been a subversive story; I somehow doubt that this is exactly what Sells has in mind, though.

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