A few weeks ago I was talking to a friend about next week’s blog post, and she mentioned a Garfunkel and Oates satire of the ‘little mermaid” strategy of dating. I laughed because it was a familiar cultural undertone for me…not voiced but demonstrated by people’s actions. Perhaps it was less subtly presented by my poor mother’s shunned request that I not be so open with dates so that I can ‘grow on them’ . I couldn’t find the clip online but I was inspired to make illustrations for the next post with images from Disney’s little mermaid. Then I had to Google the little mermaid dating strategy to see if it was just a cultural undertone or if it existed as an overt message.
I found this:
Well, you couldn’t really expect something uplifting from a website called “all women stalk,” could you? Already spoon fed to us by Disney when we were too young to deconstruct it, now re anthologized and delivered to adults: suggestions about the level of self abnegation a woman should employ in order to get into a relationship. “Hey lady, I advise you to just shut up so he can project his fantasies on you, I mean be demure….and by the way this is all so he completely focuses on your body..your ‘objectness'” . In the story the pressure is all on the Little Mermaid to make things work, and quickly. Nobody really cares about her mind or cares to discover her awesome sea kingdom.
Practical strategies aside, I have to suspect the relationship wouldn’t be much of a relationship in this case (a mutual exchange between equal minds and bodies) …actually it would just be a shallow pool necessary to feed a man’s narcissism.
After all those cultural micro-aggressions who can blame the little mermaid’s friends for just straight drowning those horny sailors?