The Little Mermaid Feminist Criticism

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The story of the Little Mermaid is one of the most popular fairy tales, it's Disney adaptation is also very popular. To children, it is just a story about a mermaid who turns into a human to be with her true love but when analyzed from different perspectives, it can reveal a lot about the story itself and what children are learning from it.

The first way you can look at the Little Mermaid is through the feminist lens since this story has various things that relate to women. First off, in “Someday my Prince Will Come” Marcia K. Leiberman says that the beauty contest is a big part of many fairy tales and the Little Mermaid is no exception. Right in the second paragraph, the author writes “they were six beautiful children; but the youngest was the prettiest of them all; her skin was as clear and delicate as a rose-leaf, and her eyes as blue as the deepest sea” (Hans Christen Andersen's "The Little Mermaid."). It’s no surprise that the youngest mermaid turns out to be the main character. Another aspect of the story that emphasises beauty is when the Little Mermaid goes to the Sea Witch to ask for legs. The Sea witch tells her that she will grant her legs in exchange for her voice. The Little Mermaid is hesitant, she asks the witch what she will have left without her voice and the witch responds “Your beautiful form, your graceful walk, and your expressive eyes; surely with these you can enchain a man’s heart”(Hans Christen Andersen's "The Little Mermaid."). The hidden meaning behind this is basically that the most valuable asset that a woman has her her beauty, it is so valuable that it is basically all she needs. By taking away her voice, it is being implied that there is nothing that she can say that would make the prince fall in love with her, it is only her looks that can gain the prince’s affection. The Little Mermaid also has similar characteristics to the ones Leiberman talks about, on multiple occasions, she is desribed as “a strange child, quiet and thoughtful” (Hans Christen Andersen's "The Little Mermaid."). Something else that Leiberman talks about is marriage as a reward for being beautiful. However, while marriage is still the goal in this story, it isn’t what happens. Instead of marrying the
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