The Little Mermaid was Middle Sister’s favorite movie when she was around 3 or 4. I don’t think I’ve seen, heard or thought about that movie in at least 10 years.
But she borrowed it from a friend and watched it today as a break from a marathon final-exam cramming session. And really, some of its messages gave me pause.
I’ve got a beautiful 16-year-old daughter who’s strong and strong-willed, who has a bit of a rebellious streak and is definitely a risk-taker. In other words, I’m raising Ariel.
Does my Ariel think the grass is greener on the other side of some fence? Does she wish that she were somehow different–different in a way that denies a part of her true self–so that she could fit into a world that is not hers? Does she think that her life wouldn’t be complete unless she fit into that world? Would she be willing to make a Faustian bargain to get there?
Is this movie’s lesson any different from the one we learn in Grease? Boy is attracted to girl, but she’s not good enough to keep “as is.” She has to change so they can be together.
Maybe that’s what I like about the movie Legally Blonde (silly though it may be.) In that one, the girl changes because she thinks it will help her get her boyfriend back. By the time he comes around, though, she discovers that he’s not the man she thought he was–and she decides not to let him get in the way of her goals.
I want my daughter to know that she doesn’t have to be Ariel, or Sandy, or even Elle Woods. I want her to discover how wonderful she is, just because she is Middle Sister. I want her to discover and develop her unique talents, to use her strength to help others, to love her life.