My first alphabetical fictional character is one who was a huge favorite of mine growing up: Ariel, better known as “The Little Mermaid”.
I’ve defended Ariel (and the other Disney Princesses) before, but for today we’re going to ignore the people who like to complain about what a bad influence the Disney Princesses are on young girls and just pretend for a moment that The Little Mermaid is just a nice movie with nothing to complain about, because this is my childhood, dammit.
Back as far as I can remember, I’ve been watching Disney movies, but The Little Mermaid was the crowning jewel of my childhood and I loved Ariel absolutely beyond words. She was my favorite Disney character when I was little because she embodied what every little girl imagines their life to be like. Admit it, ladies: even if you had a charmed childhood, you grew up imagining that there was something better out there, that no one truly understood you, that every time your parents scolded you or reprimanded you they were just stifling who you really were! Don’t even try to deny it. That self-important, adventurous attitude is part of growing up, and that’s what made Ariel so easy to relate to. She gave up everything she had in order to follow her dreams, and in the end she proved to everyone that they’d just been blind to the truth that she saw so easily.
Plus, come on. Mermaids!
My cousins and I must have watched this movie more than a hundred times, easy, and it became a regular game for us to play “mermaids” when we were out swimming at the beach. We would hold our legs together and swim by kicking like we had one big fin, and we’d pretend that Ursula was trying to drag us down to the depths of the ocean. How cute is that?
These days I’ve been passing my love of Ariel and her adventure down to my daughter. The Disney movies aren’t her favorite thing in the world (she is much more interested in superheroes of both the Marvel and DC varieties), but she did watch The Little Mermaid in its entirety with me one night, and was very concerned when Ariel’s fin became legs. If I recall, the conversation went something like this:
Her: “Oh no! Ariel can’t swim”Me: “Why can’t she swim?”
Her: “She lost her tail!”
Me: “Yeah, but she has feet now.”
Her: “She’s got to find her tail!”
Me: “But it’s okay, she has feet now!”
Her: “Then she needs shoes! And she has to put on a shirt and be a princess!”
(I was extremely amused by the fact that she didn’t need a shirt until she had legs. Logic, by the littlest Tobin.)
So, in conclusion. Ariel rocks, and I’ll not let anyone tell me otherwise. 😉