Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Exchanging Ariel for Nim

Image credit koiart71 on Flickr
The day Ariana became acquainted with Ariel was a bit traumatic. She was two, and during a moment when I was occupied with her new little brother managed to get a hold of a jar of Vick's and smear it in her eye. Following the Poison Control advice, I wrapped her in a towel and flushed her eye for several minutes with water. Even now, she remembers how horrible that was. Being pinned and having water in her eyes was pure torture. Just as it ended, Carlos arrived home with Disney's The Little Mermaid DVD. Relief and distraction!

Frankly, I despise The Little Mermaid. The songs are catchy, the animation is good, I love Sebastian the crab, but I think Ariel is an aggravating, self-centered nitwit. I really can't think of many qualities that she displays that I want my daughters to emulate. Her curiosity, perhaps. Her lack of prejudice. But I certainly don't want them to give up their voice just to get a guy. (And I would definitely hope that they would display more sense when entering into any contracts!) When things don't work out, and the evil Ursula actually expects Ariel to keep her word (oh, how horrible!), she whines for her daddy to keep her from being held accountable (even though it means sacrificing the entire kingdom. That is supposed to make things better?! It would seem that Ariel's impulsiveness and lack of forethought were a family failing). Then she waits for her prince to kill the witch.

Last week, we watched Nim's Island, and Ariana's imagination was ignited. This is truly an adventure story about girls. Nim is strong, brave, and capable. She is smart and able to do whatever needs to be done. And while I could probably pick the movie apart and dissect things that I disapprove of with this character as well, I like that at the end of the movie my daughter felt powerful and energized.

Of course, as princesses go, Ariel isn't really worse than many others. My dislike is probably somewhat exaggerated. Yet even now, girls are often portrayed as wringing their hands and waiting while the guys have the adventures. I don't want my girls to become passive princesses who must wait to be rescued, or my son to see women that way. One of my favorite verses in Daniel, that I want all of my children to internalize, is from chapter 11, verse 32. Depending on the translation you use, it says that "the people who know their God will be strong and do exploits". Another version says that they will "display strength and take action". This is what I want for my princesses--to be strong and courageous, to have the wisdom, power and capabilities to take the action that is needed, and to never give up their voice.


Blessed Mama said...

Wow. I must have a personal attachment to Ariel, because I felt sad that you don't like her. Maybe she's just suffering the effects of growing up without a mom. Maybe when she's truly loved she can truly learn how to love. In the meantime, let's just live in harmony. :)

Busy Momma said...

Oh, I love Nim! I took Sis to see Nim's Island at the theater, and I was so thrilled to see an adventure movie with a GIRL in it! Although, I must admit, I kind of like Ariel, too. I think it's her beautiful voice and red hair I like!

dulce de leche said...

OK, I was probably a little harsh on Ariel. Ariana still loves her, too. You probably don't want to hear my comments on Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. My mom and sister love it. I...do not. ;)

Blessed Mama said...

Oh, no! I can't take it! Maybe after I've had time to recover from this one... LOL.