8 Horrible Lessons We Learned from The Little Mermaid

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If you thought Cinderella taught us some bad lessons, wait until you look further into what The Little Mermaid was really teaching its viewers. Don’t get us wrong– there’s special places in our hearts for Ariel, Sebastian and Flounder, but that doesn’t mean the movie did no wrong.

From giving up everything for a boy to falling into an evil trap, here are some horrible life lessons you didn’t even realize TLM taught us:

1. Go to extreme measures to be someone that you’re not. Despite Ariel’s good looks and wonderful family, she still wasn’t happy with her life. As a result, she did everything in her power to become someone who was completely opposite of the real her — a human.

2. Put all your focus on your physical being. Ariel was seemingly obsessed with the fact that she didn’t have legs like a human. Although she never flat-out condemned her fins, she definitely sent the message that physical appearance is more important than personality.

3. Fall in love with a guy after knowing him for all of two minutes. We’ll never understand why Ariel was SO obsessed with Prince Eric, especially after only knowing him for a few minutes! If you try to tell us her infatuation wasn’t based solely on looks, we’d have a hard time believing you.

4. And also, you should give up your voice for that guy. There are SO many things wrong with the fact that Ariel scarified her voice so she could have a chance with Eric. Metaphorically speaking, a guy silences a girl and they live happily ever after. WHAT THA–

5. Make deals with someone who’s clearly evil. Looking past the whole giving up her voice thing, the fact that Ariel is willing to go to Ursula for ‘help’ is a serious issue. There are tons of bad people in this world and children definitely shouldn’t be under the impression that it’s okay to give in when they offer you tempting things.

6. Mean people are overweight. We’re by no means Ursula’s biggest fans, however the way they portray her says a lot. She’s clearly an evil character and her physical persona — overweight, masculine, etc. — seems to represent the characteristics children should associate with that.

7. The more material goods you have, the happier you’ll be. Ariel was a straight up hoarder, but never stopped wanting more. Even though she had a cave full of trinkets, she was constantly looking for more things to add to her collection.

8. Turning 16 means you’re an adult. LOL — try telling that one to your parents!

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  • Merrick D’Amato

    Also, Ariel’s deal sets a chain of events in motion that put the trident in Ursula’s hands, which almost lead to the eradication of life on Earth (clearly evil+ complete control of the sea).

  • Derick Godin

    #1 Ariel wasn’t herself in the first place. Her dad restrained her from being herself. When she was herself. She was curious, and sweet. Which she acted like when she was with Eric as a human. Only when she was human could she be herself.
    #2: Ariel would not have changed if Eric was a mermaid. It was never meant to have been all about physical attributes. It was her choosing to follow her love. She liked being a mermaid. But She also liked humans not until later did she want to become one (after she met Prince Eric ).
    #3: She actually had seen Eric before. On multiple occasions. She would watch him when he was sailing. So she knew what he acted like, and what he looked like before she became human or even feel in love with him.
    #4: Ariel didn’t know what the punishment was going to be. In fact she was shocked and scared of losing her voice. In the end she made a risky decision to follow love over keeping her voice. We can also look at mutes. They get through life without talking. It would have been exactly the same. Big rewards requires big risks.
    #5 Ariel had no one else to go to. Triton wouldn’t help her. She knew no other that could have done that. She wanted to follow love. She knew Ursula was evil, and still went to her.
    #6: That Is like saying all white people are rich people are evil (the villain of Pocahontas), or all buff guys are evil (gaston), people who are beautiful are evil (the witch from snow white). Disney has hosted a variety of villains. Yet it never means that those people are always evil.
    #7: Ariel hoarded because it was her fascination. For example, I absolutely adore Greek mythology. I would collect and hoard anything related to it. And besides Part of that world literally says that she has enough material goods and would much rather experience life on land.
    #8: She says she’s not a child. At the age of 16 in the U.S. most kids at that age are classified as teenagers. They have many more privileges than at younger ages. For example, driving. That makes her more responsible and perhaps under the sea they have different ideas of time and ages. It also plays into the main moral of the movie. That sometimes you have to let go of your restraints and choose your own path. Her father always choose her path for her and it was always a path she didn’t like. It forced her to be different and not herself. She learned that you have to make your own decisions sometimes and not listen to all the haters. She taught let it go before it was a song. That is the purpose of the movie. That is what your supposed to learn, and if you learned differently then that is because you are negative person and only want to look for things that are wrong.

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  • Jennifer

    It’s a movie for entertainment. It’s not Disney’s job to raise children and teach them morals, it’s the parents job. My parents taught my very valuable lessons and right from wrong. Sure there are times I wish my hair was straighter so it wouldn’t taken me so long to do it, or I wish I was thinner, but everyone wants something they don’t have. I’m happy with myself though and would never try to change myself for someone else. I’m a huge fan of Disney and The Little Mermaid, but nothing in the story shaped me as a person. My parents helped shape me. Furthermore, Ariel did all of those things, but in the end, the story shows the repercussions of making deals with bad people and trying to be something you’re not.

  • Jennifer

    It’s a movie for entertainment. It’s not Disney’s job to raise gives and teach them morals, it’s the parents job. My parents taught my very valuable lessons and right from wrong. Sure there are times I wish my hair was straighter so it wouldn’t taken me so long to do it, or I wish I was thinner, but everyone wants something they don’t have. I’m happy with myself though and would never try to change myself for someone else. I’m a huge fan of Disney and The Little Mermaid, but nothing in the story shaped me as a person. My parents helped shape me. Furthermore, Ariel did all of those things, but in the end, the story shows the repercussions of making deals with bad people and trying to be something you’re not.

  • Rebecca

    #6. No, Ursula doesn’t represent that mean people are overweight. Disney made their villains in all shapes, sizes, and forms. Why should they have to only make skinny villains? That’s unrealistic. Plus, Ursula actually looks like the lady that voiced her. #7 “I want more” doesn’t mean Ariel didn’t have enough gadgets and gizmos. She means she wants more out of life than she can get through objects, i.e. having legs/being human.