20 thoughts I had when watching The Little Mermaid 20 years later

The Little Mermaid came out in 1989, which was the year I was born.

And I LOVED it. It was the movie I could watch over and over and over again without getting bored. I never got why Ariel wanted human legs when all I wanted was a mermaid tail and to swim around with fish friends.

Watching it again 20 years later didn’t feel weird or awkward. The Little Mermaid may be a children’s movie but it is really a masterpiece and part of Disney’s renaissance period. The music is just as good as it always was.

But.

Now all I see are plot holes and mysterious questions floating around.

1. Every sister has a different hair colour.

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Are they adopted? Does biology works differently for mermaids and humans?

In The Little Mermaid 3: Ariel’s Beginning, it’s shown that Ariel’s mum has red hair and King Triton has brown hair.

Maybe they have waterproof hair dye in the underwater world?

2. What do merpeople eat?

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Since Flounder is Ariel’s best friend, she can’t be a fish-eater too right?

Maybe all merpeople are vegetarian? I mean if merpeople eat fish, would they be indulging in cannibalism since they’re essentially half-fish?

3. Why doesn’t the shark speak?

Everything else speaks.

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Giving sharks a bad name.

4. Ariel, you spend your whole life underwater and your makeup and hair is still flawless.

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I need to know what lipstick and haircare products you use.

5. “Ariel. The human world, it’s a mess.”

YAAAS Sebastian, finally someone who gets the human world! That seagull is useless.

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Listen to Sebastian, he knows what he’s talking about.

6. “Daddy I love him!”

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Girl you are 16. Have you even talked to him? Do you know what’s his last name?

7. But then again Prince Eric is still as handsome as I remembered.

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Sigh. Oh Ariel.

8. That garden of slave worms was so creepy back then.

Aaaand it’s still creepy now. Bravo Disney animators.

9. Clearly Ariel isn’t well-versed in negotiation.

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“How about you take my long swishy hair instead?” Or “I’ll give you some fabulous jewellery I found in the ship wrecks I’ve explored.” Ursula certainly looks like an appreciator / purveyor of fine jewellery.

10. Ariel is really pleased about her new legs but shouldn’t she be more focused on the fact that she now has a HUMAN VAGINA?

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Asking the real questions here.

11. Why didn’t Ariel just write out that she was the one who saved him?

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She could sign her name so clearly she could write.

12. So Prince Eric finds a strange naked woman who can’t speak washed up on the shore, and he just brings her back to live with him?

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She could have been an assassin. Or an enemy spy. Or a gold digger.

13. Hee hee hee haw haw haw!

The chef is still my favourite character.

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Poor man just wants to cook.

14. Ahh, Kiss the Girl.

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Sebastian is totally the ultimate wingman you’re looking for.

15. So Ariel got into a boat and almost kissed a guy, and Ursula calls her a tramp?

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Ursula (and the rest of the world) needs to stop the slut shaming.

16. Where is Prince Eric’s family?

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They are never seen. In the beginning it is mentioned to Eric: “You’ve got to get back to court – to honor your father’s dying wish and take up his crown!” But what about his mother? Siblings? Distant relatives?

Surely if he was considering marrying Ariel, he would want his family to meet her first?

And he almost got married to Vanessa. Wouldn’t his family members be front and center of the wedding?

17. Wait… merman King Triton and octopus Ursula are brother and sister?!

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But what… how… when? Are their parents an octopus and a mermaid/merman?

Or was Ursula originally a mermaid who was cursed into an octopus?

Are octopi ostracized by society compared to mermen, just like humans of different skin colour or sexuality preferences? TOO MANY QUESTIONS.

18. Ariel, I know you have a deep fascination for legs and humans but YOU HAVEN’T EXPERIENCED HUMAN PERIODS YET.

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And once you do…

19. What happens to fishing after that?

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Since they live near the coast, it makes sense that seafood is one of the largest economic trade. Citizens make a living fishing and selling and cooking seafood. So… what happens now since their new queen is a half-fish with fish friends everywhere?

20. I still want a mermaid tail.

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Sigh.

Much Love,

Fari Wu

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Celebrities who channelled their inner Mermaid

Who doesn’t want to be a mermaid? Even celebrities have lifelong dreams of such, just like us. Fortunately for them, they have money and couture and designers on speed dial to live out their dreams. Here are some celebrities who channelled their inner mermaids!

 

Blake Lively

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Making the list of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2011, for one night, Blake Lively showed up as a real-life Ariel from The Little Mermaid.

Red waves? Check. Soft green dress? Check. Glowing skin? Check. Only she was swathed in couture, whereas poor Ariel had to make do with a white sail and rope.

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And somehow, Ariel still managed to grab the eyes of the Prince. Must be mermaid magic.

Anyway, Blake’s dress was from Zuhair Murad’s Spring 2011 Couture collection. I just love how the material had several tones instead of just one shade throughout, as that made the dress look really interesting.

While I feel like the red hair didn’t really match her tanned skin, I think it still looks really pretty and the overall effect really looks like Ariel.

 

Marion Cotillard

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At the 80th Academy Awards in 2008, French actress Marion Cotillard wore a fishtail dress featuring white scales by Jean Paul Gaultier.

This was the day she won her first Oscar for Best Actress in La Vie En Rose (she played the role of singer Edith Piaf), and accepted the award onstage in this dress.

I love how she paired the dress with wavy brunette locks and very minimal accessories. My wish is that the dress would be shinier in photos – can you imagine if the gold scales of the dress were really sparkly?

 

Gisele Bundchen in Versace

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Gisele Bundchen models for Versace’s S/S 2009 collection. There were quite a few outfits from this collection modelled by both Gisele and Kate Moss, which looked like they could belong underwater, but I felt this dress really topped the cake.

I love how the shades of the dress flowed from gold to blue, and Gisele’s tousled blonde hair also creates a relaxed look.

Shooting the campaign on a boat with glass sides and blue-green waters creates a really cool effect too. While it doesn’t obviously scream ‘mermaid’, I feel like the undertone of this ad does showcase it.

 

Kim Kardashian Halloween costume

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For Halloween 2012, the arguably most famous Kardashian went for the traditional glam mermaid look, with long blonde locks, giant seashell bra and lots of pearls.

Husband Kanye West was dressed as a sailor. Of course.

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Kim recently also re-wore this outfit again to celebrate her daughter North’s birthday! North got to have her own pink tail and also a mermaid birthday party.

That is both adorable and cool. I am not jealous, not at all.

 

Perrie Edwards

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Last Halloween, the Little Mix singer also decided to dress up as a mermaid, but unlike Kim Kardashian’s quintessential ‘pretty’ look, Perrie Edwards opted to go for a dark siren seawitch look.

With tiny shells and a skintight green tail, she also had loads of glitter on her face and neck. I love that she added jewels and pearls on her face.

 

Britney Spears

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When you’re Britney Spears, you don’t need to wait for Halloween to have an excuse to break out the mermaid tail: you just need a mini pool party!

Britney glams up a casual pool day with a blue tail and a striped sailor-like top while swimming with her 2 children Sean and Jayden. She captioned the photo on Instagram: “The mermaid life” because obviously.

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A month later, she posted another photo with her niece Lexie. And both of them were wearing matching tails!

 

Jenna Dewan-Tatum

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Husband Channing Tatum might be transformed into a merman for the Splash movie remake, but that doesn’t mean that wife Jenna Dewan-Tatum can’t get into the mer-spirit as well.

Here she is lounging on the floor in her fab purple tail, while their daughter Everly is playing in the corner, wearing her own purple tail!

What do you mean you don’t lounge around your house with your own flashy purple mermaid tail?

 

Paris Hilton

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Whenever I see Paris Hilton, the lyrics “Even though the Gods are crazy, even though the stars are blind” starts to ring in my head.

Anyway, Paris decided that her ninth fragrance would be named Siren and embody a  playful, sexy mermaid. And of course Paris just had to dress up as a mermaid too to promote the fragrance!

The bottle features a tiny gold mermaid, and the packaging also features a blonde mermaid with a golden tail, so Paris had her own golden tail too. This ad sort of looks like Ariel on the rock, with the waves splashing all around her? I’m not sure if that’s where Paris took her inspiration from.

I actually don’t love this photo, because I feel like Paris’ straight-legged tail doesn’t look very realistic. If she bent her knees instead, it would probably look a lot better. It also annoys me that her hair extensions are very obvious and her real hair ends just above her breasts.

 

Katy Perry

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Not to be outdone, Katy Perry transforms into a pink-haired mermaid to promote GHD hairdryers.

It looks like a really stormy night underneath the Brooklyn Bridge which looks very cool. And Katy Perry is a planking pink mermaid with perfect skin.

To be honest though, the hairdryer sitting on the orange clamshell is basically overshadowed by everything else.

I didn’t even notice it the first 5 times I looked at the photo. Katy is basically taking center stage and the product is sitting unnoticed next to her. Perhaps she should have held it in her left hand? It’s not an effective advert if your product isn’t shining out of the picture.

I just can’t imagine how she’s standing in this image though. Is she on her tiptoes? Is she just standing firmly on the ground? Did they photoshop that thinnest part of her tail or is she standing with one leg behind the other? So many questions.

 

Lady Gaga

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Lady Gaga puts her own twist in the traditional colourful mermaids with an all-black body and tail. Ever heard of Yuyi? She is one of Lady Gaga’s alter egos, and appears in Gaga’s You and I music video.

Lady Gaga has even performed live as Yuyi, moving around in a wheelchair since mermaids have difficulty getting around on land. Ahh, the perils of a tail…

 

Julianne Moore

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Julianne Moore recreates Ariel in The Little Mermaid in the Disney Dream Portrait Series campaign in 2008. Helmed by photographer Annie Leibovitz, this was one of a series of photos shot by Annie showcasing celebrities in popular Disney roles like Cinderella, Jasmine, Pocahontas and more.

Swimmer Michael Phelps plays a supporting role in the foreground (because he is an Olympic swimmer, so that certainly makes sense?).

I LOVE the final effect of this photo. I like how Michael Phelps is so into it, like he’s 100% committed to the role. I love the mermaid/merman in the top left corner who looks like she/he’s about to do some circus tricks. And I love that giant tail on Julianne.

Have to admit, those other merpeople look a little evil. Especially the one on the far right? She looks like she’s plotting something, doesn’t she?

 

Vanessa Hudgens

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Best known for her roles in High School Musical, Sucker Punch and Spring Breakers, Vanessa Hudgens decided that her next role would be of the mermaid variety.

So here she is as a mermaid queen with a pink tail! Vanessa posed for Project Mermaids, a project that transforms people into mermaids and mermen to bring awareness to environmental pollution.

To be honest, the Vanessa’s shells don’t look form-fitting 😂

But I love that pink tail!

 

Bella, Dani and Kaili Thorne

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American actresses and sisters Bella, Dani and Kaili Thorne also got into the mermaid spirit for Project Mermaid.

Bella Thorne is most famous for her role in the Disney channel series Shake It Up (as well as her recent run-ins with Keeping Up With the Kardashians’ Scott Disick…). Dani Thorne has had bit roles in Nickelodeon and Disney TV shows, and Kaili Thorne also appeared in TV shows like CSI Miami and The O.C.

I think most girls (and maybe boys) have this childhood fantasy of becoming a mermaid/merman. It’s always seen as something cool, different and exciting, so I’m pretty sure most people would leap at the chance of transforming into a mermaid/merman for Project Mermaids.

 

Noah and Brandi Cyrus

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Another set of sisters also got together for Project Mermaid: Noah and Brandi Cyrus. Miley Cyrus’ not-so-crazy sisters got together and posed for a photoshoot.

Noah’s colour scheme was yellow-orange and gold, complete with a gold crown and dark hair. Brandi’s colour scheme was pink and blue, and while this photo doesn’t show it, she had pretty blue streaks in her hair.

And of course, just lounging on a rock being mermaid queens. No big deal.

 

Victoria Justice and Madison Reed

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And yet another group of sisters were transformed into mermaids for Project Mermaid. In 2015, half-sisters Victoria Justice and Madison Reed (who share the same mother Serene Justice) also participated in ocean conservation while gaining orange and pink tails.

Victoria Justice is a Nickelodeon star who fronted shows like Victorious and Zoey 101. Her sister Madison is an aspiring actress with small roles in movies and TV shows.

The main goal of Project Mermaids is to “bring awareness as to how precious the ocean and beaches are and to keep this beautiful environment healthy and clean. 50% of the proceeds are going to be addressed to the Save Our Beach foundation.”

 

Jojo

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American singer Jojo actually acted in a mermaid movie Aquamarine with Emma Roberts and Sara Paxton in 2006, but in 2014 she decided she was going to become the mermaid. Collaborating with Project Mermaid too, she got to flap around with a giant tail.

She used to be one of my favourite singers! I loved her songs Leave (Get Out) and Too Little Too Late. Not a big fan of her newer songs but I really like her album The High Road.

And I love this photo of her. It looks super cool and very realistic, like a mermaid washed ashore with tousled waves.

 

I did not include celebrities who dressed as mermaids/merman for television shows and movies. I wanted to include celebrities who volunteered themselves or chose to become mermaids due to their own personal interest.

What I felt after compiling the list was, why is there such a shortage of mermen? The only notable merman on this list is Michael Phelps. I know there’s maybe a couple more, who are reality TV stars etc.

The point is, mermaids are generally seen as pink and sparkly and feminine, and always female. While Michael Phelps and Channing Tatum (in his upcoming Splash remake) are helping to break that traditional mold, mermaids are generally still an exclusively female notion.

Merman, I hope with this website, that we can create a community of accepting unique individuals who appreciate you just as you are. If you are a merman, comment down below and join us!

Much Love,

Fari Wu 🦄