“The little mermaid lifted her glorified eyes towards the sun, and felt them, for the first time, filling with tears.”
–The Little Mermaid
I know of few stories that fill reviewers and audiences with as much passion as does The Little Mermaid, originally by Hans Christian Andersen, and later retold by an obscure filmmaker by the name of Walter Disney. If you do a quick internet search for “feminist critique of”, pages of articles will appear that will explain with equal passion why the story is really quite enlightened or terribly retrograde, and why Ariel in the Disney version is either a feminist hero or an anti-feminist villain. You will also find lists comparing the two stories: “eight most significant changes” or “nine terrible truths behind” or “ten most disturbing facts about.”
While reviewers and commentators agree on very little, the one thing most do agree on is that Disney took a fairly sad and depressing fairytale and a relatively reserved main character and “Disney-fied” them both, modernizing the story to give the world a spunky, outgoing little mermaid, and of course a happily-ever-after ending.