It?s High Time We Drowned the Little Mermaid?s Message

I?m so tired of seeing pictures of emaciated looking, ultra-thin
models and actresses. I?m equally weary of hearing about how this
image ?should change? and it never does.
I?m so tired of seeing pictures of emaciated looking, ultra-thin models and actresses. I?m equally weary of hearing about how this image ?should change? and it never does. The recent Dove commercials broke the stereotype for a while and had some real looking and very beautiful ladies representing their product but it appears to be short lived. I applaud Queen Latifah and her cosmetic ad?s but I fear it won?t last.

I?m also very pleased that the models in Madrid now have to meet a minimum weight standard. Those are all steps in the right direction. Real looking people should be able to sell a product or reinforce a comfortable body image without being criticized. I?m certain that that there are more of us out there that relate to the ?Dove ladies? body image than that of Nicole Richie, Calista Flockhart or Kate Moss who reportedly have drug addiction issues, eating disorders or both.

People today are so consumed with body image. Our society is so wrapped up in looking ?perfect? that we start conditioning our little girls at a very young age to be discontent with their bodies. That message may start with something as simple a cartoon character, but we all know that it evolves into a more blatant in-your-face message plastered everywhere we look.

I noticed that a new release of the Little Mermaid is due on the shelves soon. It?s newly, digitally enhanced and probably has ?never before scenes? available. But I?m not going to buy it because the underlying message of this movie is still the same. If you take away the angelic voices, pretty scenery and catchy songs what you are left with is the story of a spoiled little girl who defies her father and almost gets him killed. She runs (swims) away from home because she would rather be a different species entirely than love herself as she is. She nearly kills herself, hurts the people she loves and those who love her, all to change her body so a man will want her. Then after all of the trouble she caused, she is rewarded in the end with her ?prince? and a new body. This is not a message I want to send to little girls.

Now, I don?t believe a 6-year-old will watch and dissect this as I did. Nor do I predict that she would view it

and promptly run away from home or purge her lunch to lose weight. But I do believe that there is a message being sent to be thin and pretty, always equating the two to be synonymous.

I wouldn?t be picking on the Little Mermaid if she had been a grown woman and the story was more geared to overcoming adversity and achieving personal enrichment because it would be a much better lesson. But the fact is that she?s portrayed in a children?s movie as a little princess with every luxury and comfort her world had to offer her and yet she hated herself enough to want to look like something else.

I?m not trying to convince anyone not to let their kids watch the Little Mermaid. My point is that even in a children?s cartoon our culture shoves idealistic images at us of who we should be and how we should look. In between the TV shows starring bony actresses we can watch Kirstie Alley pushing a diet plan and bragging about her weight loss (so she can work again).

On some shows actresses start out ?normal? looking and end up stick skinny. Jill on ?Tool Time? and Deborah on ?Everybody Loves Raymond? both started out looking like the average person and ended their shows with an ultra thin and sickly physique. This is the same for the cast of ladies on ?Friends.? No one should have that many facial bones protruding.

The scary thing is how they achieved this low weight and how unhealthy it is. I honestly don?t know what to do about it. I could suggest that we all stop buying magazines that feature ?heroin sheik? models, but we?ll keep buying them anyway and it wouldn?t change anything. We?ll keep watching TV and going to the movies.

All I can do is hope that I?m saying enough of the right things to my daughters to prevent them from searching for their beauty in the toilet bowl rather than the mirror.