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Why Disney’s The Little Mermaid Is One Of The Most Unintentionally Regressive Movies Ever Made

Why Disney’s The Little Mermaid Is One Of The Most Unintentionally Regressive Movies

Everyone grew up watching Disney movies, or at least, familiar with the popular ones. Live-action adaptations, such as the upcoming The Little Mermaid film, have been a trend for the past decade. Speaking of The Little Mermaid, don’t you think it’s the worst fairytale story of all?

Ariel The Little Mermaid
Disney’s The Little Mermaid

We are talking about the plot and some of the characters’ traits per se because all the other elements in it – music, animation, etc. – are all majestic in their own ways. Jodi Benson’s rendition of “Part of Your World” is still a musical bop.

RELATED: Disney: 6 Motivational Songs For Your Morning Playlist

Watching The Little Mermaid as a kid is probably just looking at it as how children go wide-eyed at the concept of mermaids and talking fishes. But, revisiting the movie as an adult makes you want to list down all the red flags and give Ariel a lecture on ‘How To Find Your Worth.’ Because, in all honesty, there are so many reasons why The Little Mermaid is the most problematic of all Disney films.

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Toxic Parenting

The Little Mermaid King Triton

As parents, we’re always worried about our children’s safety, and King Triton might as well feel the same for his 16-year-old daughter. Ariel is in her teens, a crucial stage where exploration and discovery usually happen. Yet, King Triton’s bigotry towards humans always causes conflicts between him and Ariel. He won’t even give her a little autonomy over her own self. And, what kind of pathetic father gets mad, throws a tantrum, and destroys his daughter’s collection?

Absent Moms

The Little Mermaid King Triton


Disney has been criticized for always portraying absent or deceased mothers. With the exception of Disney Pixar’s Brave, most of their stories do not exhibit the fascinating wonders of mother-daughter bonding. It’s high time for the studio to change its story format because we want to show the world that mothers play a huge role in a child’s life.

RELATED: Disney Pixar Brave 10th Anniversary: 5 Things You Didn’t Know About The Movie


Ariel The Little Mermaid 3


We get it, Ariel’s a mermaid, and they all aren’t supposed to have clothes underwater, but it goes beyond whatever swimwear they have. The movie repeatedly reinforces that Ariel’s values lie in her looks and not her mind. Ursula, the sea witch, tells the young girl to always pay attention to her body language. Even Prince Eric’s right hand said that she’s “quite the vision”.

Internalized Misogyny

Ursula The Little Mermaid disney villains

Why are older women always the villain? Ursula’s story is rooted in her jealousy of Ariel’s youth and beauty. Women are always pitted against each other, always about who looks better. The misogyny in this film is reeking.


Bad Example For Young Girls

The Little Mermaid Ariel Eric

Ariel gave up her mermaid tail and angelic voice to be with the man of her dreams. Hold up – isn’t that a bit too much? She literally sold her whole identity to fit the mold of some guy’s ideal girl. It’s not just changing the color of her hair or getting a wardrobe makeover – Ariel totally transmuted the very essence of her being. We absolutely do not support this mission.

RELATED: ‘Cried The Other Day’: Halle Bailey Says Playing Ariel in Little Mermaid Was ‘Overwhelming’, Praises Fans Supporting Her Amidst Racist Backlash


What do you think of Disney’s The Little Mermaid? Is the story appropriate for young audiences? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

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Written by Ariane

Senior Content Writer for FandomWire. I have been writing news articles for the outlet since 2021, mostly covering stories about Marvel, DC, Star Wars, Netflix, HBO, and Hollywood stars.