Femininity In The Little Mermaid

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The Little Mermaid: Hegemonic Femininity
The transition from a girl to a woman is created by the socially constructed ideals of femininity often depicted in commercials, books, and mainly films. One of the famous animated princess Disney films, The Little Mermaid can be easily added to yet another Disney film portraying hegemonic femininity. In the 1989 film The Little Mermaid, (Ron Clements, John Musker) a beautiful, young mermaid is willing to make a risky deal with an evil sea-witch because she yearns to walk on land and fall in love with a Prince, while secretly the sea-witch wishes for the mermaid to lose the deal. Ultimately, the mermaid ends up achieving her dream of marrying the Prince, although the evil sea-witch tries to destroy
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Provided that, this film caters to the ideal western image of beauty. Ariel along with her sisters are presented having very slim hourglass figures. These characters conform to the ideologies of beauty also by having doe-eyes, a button nose, big smiles, symmetrical faces and luscious long, voluminous hair. All essential features that can be described as “beautiful” by society’s gender norms or what is expected from women. Ariel is submissive to the code of physical beauty. At only sixteen years old, she is shown in the film wearing a sexy shell bra. This demonstrates how at a very young age teenagers want to look more womanlike for men. Ariel’s sisters are also portrayed in the beginning of the film as “high maintenance gals,” since they are applying makeup to always look appealing. Femininity includes the code of beauty and sexuality, which is well reinscribed in The Little Mermaid. Therefore, the flawless body images represented in the film are telling girls how they should look in order to be considered beautiful and therefore loved. It gives them a sense of self-worth because if they look great then everything else will go as planned; they will find the man of their dreams and true happiness. Overall, The Little Mermaid reinforces the hegemonic code of femininity by making all the princesses look unrealistically
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