Mermaids seem to be oppressed in society; a representation of mermaid oppression is in The Little Mermaid. In the original version by Hands Christian Andersen, the Little Mermaid gives up her voice in exchange for legs by getting her tongue cut off, so she can be able to walk on land and attract the man she loves because if she can win him in marriage she will gain an immortal soul, but if she does not win him over, then she will die (Bendix). She is in pain with every step she takes; she suffers from being rejected, yet she does this for a man. Walt Disney’s rendition is a little different, yet has the same idea: changing one’s appearance for a man. Although the main character of this story is Ariel, the mermaid, it is apparent that Prince Eric is the whole motif behind her rebelling against her father and wanting to give up her life as a mermaid. Ariel gives up her life and voice in order to become human to change for a man she barely knows. As opposed to mermaids’ origin of sirens luring men to their death, Ariel is lured to change herself for a man, or else she dies. Why must she change herself to fit to male standards? She must conform to the norm of living on land and pleasing a man in order to be able to stay on land.
Ariel goes against every norm imaginable to be with this man on land; nonetheless, she is a sexualized Disney princess, even though...
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...e viewer that no story is complete without a man by a woman’s side.
Female oppression in a society is seen with both female roles in the movie, yet the most impactful one is Ursula’s character. The image of the evil female antagonist is seen all throughout fairytales; in this film’s case, Ursula, the only female with a voice in that society, is the evil character. Female oppression is seen at the end of the movie when she gets killed. She is the only female character that has any power in that world, yet she dies in the end, and Ariel lives the fairy tale “happily ever after” being something she is not. Ursula, being the only one to actually speak for herself in that patriarchal society does not even get a voice in the end of the movie, yet the character that completely changes herself and her values gets to move on with her life being a human rather than a mermaid.
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