Welcome back to the My Childhood Heroes feature, where I talk about the heroes and idols of my childhood. Some of you might remember the previous, first post in this series, highlighting Hermione Granger. This month's hero is a very different one.
First of all, she's an animation. Secondly, she's a mermaid. And thirdly, she's a princess.
So what we have here is our typical Disney princess heroine who goes on a journey and gets the prince in the end. Or do we? Is Ariel really that shallow a character?
Not from my point-of-view. I wouldn't highlight her in this feature if this was the case anyhow - to me, Ariel is one of the most unique and inspiring characters that Disney has ever designed.
Her being a mermaid may be one of the reasons why I love her, but in the end, she doesn't even want to be one. What she longs for is to be a human, with two legs and two feet on the ground. Which is interesting, because she wants to leave the fairy tale world she lives in and become a human like us, the audience - and why does she want this? Because she is in love with a prince. So basically she steps out of one fairy tale world into another. But it's because she doesn't see the fairy-tale-ness about her old life - it's what she knows, so she doesn't see it as something special.
Anyhow, this probably has nothing do with why Ariel is one of my childhood heroes, it's more of an attempt at explaining of the story and the amazingness of the film.
Ariel is just such a typical teenager; rebelling against her surroundings and parents (father), longing for another life in another world, where everything is so much better. Although I don't think I understood this when I watched the film as a child, I was able to relate to Ariel by means of her dreaminess - and, funnily, her habit of collecting stuff. Just like Ariel, I used to day-dream a lot, make up stories in my head (or listen to/ read stories), and I loved collecting books, jewellery and other things. She truly stimulated my fantasy - every time I was in the water or swimming pool, I pretended to be a mermaid like her. I sung the songs she sings in the movie, and I tried to let my hair flow as beautifully in the water, as hers does.
Oh yes, Ariel was like a dream to me, a dream of what I wanted to be when I was older. Beautiful, innocent and talented. Perhaps there are people who think this is stupid, or they think that it's a shame Disney and other companies like Barbie etc. brainwash little girls and make them want to chase after unrealistic and exaggerated ideals. Personally, I disagree with these people. Having so-called "unattainable" ideals as a girl hasn't harmed me in any way - it has inspired me and made me work to achieve goals. Children simply need idols, heroes, and they've found them in the times before Disney and Barbie, believe me.
Today I have accepted the fact that my hair will never turn red and grow beneath my elbows while still looking voluminous. But I'm still getting better at singing, and nobody is going to talk me out of wearing bows in my hair. Or swimming mermaid-style, whenever I get the chance.
All thanks to Ariel.