Hurricane Sandy: God’s Punishment for Homosexuals

Christian religious leader John McTernan has already claimed that Hurricane Sandy is proof that “God is systematically destroying America” as political judgement on America’s “homosexual agenda”. (You know, because only America has gays. Or perhaps God only hates American gays?) But Hurricane Sandy isn’t the only homophobic storm. He claims Hurricanes Katrina and Isaac are as well.

His proof? Hurricane Isaac hit exactly seven years after Katrina, both hitting during the week of Southern Decadence in New Orleans (a gay event). But not only that, Hurricane Sandy is hitting 21 years after the “Perfect Storm,” because 21 breaks down into 7 and 3, both “perfect” numbers when relating to God (for some reason? And then when you multiply them together it makes 21 even more perfect? Don’t worry, you’re not the only lost one here.)

This isn’t the first time religious spokespeople have connected natural disasters with the LGBT community. Pat Robertson, a TV preacher, has long believed that tolerance and acceptance of gays would result in hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, terrorist bombs (really?), and “possibly a meteor.”

And I think he’s right. After all, it is a well-known fact that the meteor hit Earth during the annual T-Rex Gay Parade, and Mount
Vesuvius exploded because the Pompeiians were having an Allies Training session. Dude, this all makes sense now! Global Warming is in on it too. It’s the Earth heating up, like how a human body has a fever to kill a cold, to kill off all the infecting gays!

Doesn’t this all sound a little… Oh, what’s the word I’m looking for…. It’s not pagan, because there’s nothing wrong with that… It’s not witchery, because I wouldn’t want to insult the Sanderson Sisters…. Oh, that’s right: crazy. All of this just sounds way too crazy. I got nothing against religion, but this is too much like the Salem witch hunts, or Noah flooding the world. And god forbid we bring any actual science, like say meteorology, into this.

It’s definitely God, and definitely the homosexual agenda–due to Obama being pro-gay and everything. Because God never misses an election day.

But what an evil thing to say, especially since a lot of good people are getting hurt during this storm, gay and straight, men and women, black, orange, gray, and white people. People are struggling for their livelihoods and homes, friends and families, and this Yahoo McTernan thinks God did it to punish a select few in a wide range of people. If He were going to attack a place, why wouldn’t he attack Salt Lake City, the gayest city in the U.S.! (Yes, it’s true. More gays than Chicago, LA, or New York.) And prior hub to Governor Romney (because he doesn’t like Romney either). It seems so much more likely since Salt Lake is sitting on a fault line and everything. It wouldn’t take very much to start a damn good earthquake. But no, clearly hurricane is the way to go.

Hot Guys & Beautiful Babes

How do women act sexy? Swing our hips, flip our hair, bat our eyelashes, stick out our chests, lick our lips, the possibilities are endless. I could go on and on.

How do men act sexy? Swing their hips? Bat their eyelashes? Stick out their ample bosoms? No, that’s not attractive. Not for men. So what do they do?
To figure out this question, I Googled hot men. In no way do I support oogling hot men (just kidding, yes I do), and I do not recommend you do the same at home (Do it!). I find myself under unusual circumstances and it was purely in the name of scientific inquiry that I, for the greater good of the community, took on this steep challenge (are you buying that?).

Anyways, my findings were conclusive. While hot women (I Googled that too) were mostly in poses sprawled across the ground, men were in poses flexing their muscles. While women looked soft and delicate, men looked strong, tough, stern–sometimes almost angry. They were showcasing their power, their strength, their “manliness”, while women showcased their “femininity”.

Now, you might be thinking: why is it okay for girls to look at hot men on the internet, but then turn around and scoff when guys look at hot girls?

Or, you may be thinking Damn, look at that body! because you’re looking at hot guys.

Double standard? Perhaps.

Girls aren’t supposed to be sexual, only guys are (by the norms and stereotypes in society). And girls who show their sexuality are labeled as sluts, whores, or floozies.

Or, sexuality is a natural thing that we try to hide away in the dark recesses of society, when it is natural, when we all do it, when it’s a healthy part of life and we shouldn’t be ashamed of it. But that doesn’t mean we should all read porn in public now.

To answer this question, we could point fingers and say guys do it to girls all the time. Everyone does it to girls all the time. So why shouldn’t we do it back to guys? But then I say: Ah ah ah, thou shalt judge not. Treat others as you wish to be treated. Be the change you want to see in the world. That ain’t no mature way to handle things.

But I did also say that sexuality was natural and healthy, so why should we hide it? Why don’t we like it when we see sexualized women in advertisements? (by “we”, I might mean feminists, or women, or gender scholars, or you and me, or anyone in general)

How about this car ad by BMW?


Or this fashion ad by Dolce & Gabbana?
(selling jeans, I think?)


Or this one for Calvin Klein Jeans?
(because we’re all staring at those great pair of pants)

What about this fashion ad by Superette Botique?

That last one’s pretty intense. At the bottom of the ad it reads: Be caught dead in it. Yes, this is a real ad. But it’s not from America, not that that matters in the long run.

Yes, sexuality is healthy and normal, but these images are not, especially when they are being mass produced in order to sell something. Some people say that these images are not the media’s fault, that these images are the photographer’s way of reflecting reality back to us in order to make us think about gender roles and violence. But at the end of the day, this is still an advertisement. This is still trying to sell those jeans, or that shirt, or a used car.

There is no easy answer for sexuality, except this: respect. The common theme throughout all these ads is there seems to be a lack of respect for human people, the men and the women.

Mail-order Brides and the Little Mermaid

I’ve been to a few sketchy websites in my time, (Please don’t report me to the Internet Police) and one these websites, where I was not pirating binary systems relating of the Big Bang theory, were advertisements for Asian and Russian girlfriends. Strangely enough, I am in no need of a Russian girlfriend, but it caught my attention nonetheless.

It reminded me of something my professor said in my Sociology of Gender class. Men who ordered Asian brides reported the highest happiness and satisfaction with their marriage/purchase. The highest out of anyone anywhere, in fact. That is, until their wives learned to speak English. The husbands and wives quickly separated as friends after that.

This got me thinking again. (Confound this brain of mine). Isn’t this sort of like Ariel and Eric in The Little Mermaid? I mean, they had no means to communicate to each other. No sign language, no hand gestures, no writing notes back and forth to each other (come on, she didn’t know how to write). They had no means of communication. All their interactions were based on body language and physical attraction–kind of like a mail-order bride. Except Eric didn’t realize he was going to be marrying the woman who showed up on his doorstep.

And now you too can combine the best of both worlds with these stunning Ariel-inspired wedding gowns. “Channel Ariel with charm and wonder…” is the tagline for these dresses.

You can take a personality quiz on this site, and then get matched up with the Disney character that “is your inner princess”. Do you want to be a sixteen year old fish? Are you trying to relive your childhood? Are you too a fish literally out of water?

“Your flaws are childish, but you also look at the world with wonder and excitement, as a child would.”—> Straight from the website.

I’m kind of creeped out. Are you kind of creeped out?

I do like the very classy sky/meadow green screen in the background though. It really makes me want to buy the dress.

No, it makes me want to buy the girl.  And… runaway with her to a vague grassy hilltop? That is, until she learns how to talk back. Then I’m on to Sleeping Beauty bride.

Rape: the Act of God, said one Republican asshole

“You know, this is that issue for that every candidates for federal, or even state office, faces. And I, too, certainly stand for life,” said Mourdock, after both Democrat Joe Donnelly and Libertarian Andrew Horning had identified as pro-life, though Donnelly also stated his support for an exception in cases of rape. “I know there are some who disagree, and I respect their point of view.

But I believe that life begins at conception. The only exception I have, to have an abortion, is in that case of
the life of the mother.  “I’ve struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from god. And even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.
–Richard Mourdock, Republican nominee

Seriously, do Republicans do this shit on purpose? I can’t even… I don’t…. *headdesk* Stupid stupid stupid….

No, God does not cross his arms and say “You there, good sir. Go and chase down that lady, pin her down, and rape her because I have this soul here that needs a vessel and I just cannot seem to find anyone else to impregnate right now.”

You have no right to tell a woman how to live her life, or what she should do with her body. And going beyond that, you have no right to reach inside the mind of God (whether or not He exists) and interpret his will for the world. You are not God, sir. Sorry to burst that bubble for you. You do not know His will. And any God who purposefully rapes women, well, that’s no God I want to pray to. That’s for damn sure.

Fun fact: Mourdock is really knowledgeable about Abraham Lincoln, and he goes around the state giving speeches and historical references about Lincoln. Apparently, he didn’t take Abe’s advice: “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

And I suppose God, too, wanted Lincoln shot in the back of the head.

(I’m pretty sure that blurry word behind his giant head says Mourdick. I’m almost positive it does.)

The Pregnant Man

What do you like about being a girl/boy?

This question was asked in one of my classes. It seems like fairly simple and straightforward question, until you try to answer.

To determine what you like most about being a particular gender, you first have to know what it means to be that gender. How do you separate what it is to be a “boy” from a “girl” and not stereotype? Here are some of the answers my classmates gave:

Girls:

-you can show emotions and affection
-motherhood
-guys pay for things
-chivalry
-tom boy or girly girl (gender bending)

Boys:

-get ready quickly
-more opportunities
-leadership
-can grow a beard/mustache/side burns
-no line for the bathroom
-can pee standing up

Then the question was asked: What do you dislike about being a girl/boy?

Girls:

-shaving
-scared walking home
-pressure to always look good
-periods

Boys:

-pressure when dating
-limited clothing options
-pressure to have money
-pressure of being a breadwinner

So what makes a man or a woman? A lot of the above ideas are socially constructed views of men and women today, and a lot are stereotypes. Men can’t show emotion? You know you’re a woman when you don’t have to pay on a date?

There’s only a few on this list that is actually biological. You can point and definitively say “Yes, that is a thing that only [girls/boys] do.” Motherhood is one, periods are another, guys growing facial hair, and being able to pee standing up (must admit, jealous of that). I don’t really see any other ones. Sure, shaving because we all grow hair, but society has decided that smooth legs/face are beautiful. We don’t have to take a razor to our skin every few days, but we do to be “pretty”.

Except, what about this?

This is Thomas Beatie. He is pregnant. Thomas was born a woman and decided she wanted a sex change. So she became a he, got a mastectomy, started hormones, grew facial hair, fell in love and then married a woman. His wife found out that they were not able to have kids. Thomas, luckily for them, still had his “original plumbing”, so to speak. Thomas stopped his hormone injections, got a sperm donor, and became pregnant with their first child.

Is he a man?          

I thought motherhood was a definitive point-your-finger girl thing.

And I thought growing a beard was a guy thing.

Thomas has had three children, and by had I do mean borne. He actually has the title in the Guinness Book of World Records as the “First Married Man to Give Birth”. Since, he has had a phalloplasty (an artificial penis).

He’s not the only man to have given birth. There have been guys before and after him to bear children. In fact, just last year in 2011, a Canadian man named Richard Guzzo was the first trans man to give birth to natural twins.

So this whole guys giving birth thing isn’t a one-time deal—a strange anomaly in time. The question remains. Are these men men? What does it mean to be a man or a woman? How can we tell the difference?

What do you think?

Mrs. Lovett… Feminist or Not?

If you have not seen Sweeney Todd, stop reading now. Spoilers are going to squirt out of me like fake blood out of a Tim Burton movie.

And for those of you who have….

Even though Mrs. Lovett is completely discombobulated, thinking murder and cannibalism are valid ways of doing business, she is a strong woman. And though I don’t necessarily recommend using her as a role model (scratch that, please do not use her as a role model), I do think she’s rather magnificent. So here is my list of why Mrs. Lovett is one badass chick:

  1. She’s clever and resourceful. Once Todd decides he’s going to murder a whole bunch of people, Mrs. Lovett finds the perfect out—using the bodies as filling for her delicious meat pies. It’s clean, economical, practical, and appropriate. Feed the low class, get rid of the bad guys. A win-win for everyone, really. (Well, except everyone else. This blog does not support cannibalism. Most likely. It’s good to keep your options open.)
  2. She runs her own business, a thriving one at that by the end, all pretty much on her own. Building up her shop from the worst pies in London to a packed full house takes both skill and strength. And cunning. Definitely cunning. 
  3. She’s an equal partner with Todd. Yes, she is in just as deep as him, in terms of responsibility and power. Even though she’s not slitting throats, she’s still slicing and dicing just the same. Equal power, equal responsibility.
  4. She pushes boundaries of society in order to gleam some sort of equality. For once, the upper class is feeding the lower class, instead of the other way around. 

Binders Full of Women for Everyone!

To those who don’t know what Romney said during the presidential debate, here is the video with his exact words just for you. It’s only two and a half minutes long: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OX_AN4w3da8

When the woman asked what the president was going to do about inequality in the workplace, the continuing problem of Equal Pay for Equal Work, Obama gave a pretty decent answer in my opinion. Romney, however, well… we all know how that went down.

Problem number one: he didn’t answer the question. He used the entire time allotted to talk about how he was such a great guy and went around collecting binders full of women candidates for the job opening when he didn’t have to, when it was inconvenient for him. 

Thank you, Romney. You’re such a saint.

I completely support recognizing the gap between the sexes during promotion and hiring time. And if every business man was a gender-conscious as Romney claims himself to be, then people and businesses across America would profit greatly.

But the words he used made it sound as if he was single-handedly responsible for giving all these women the chance of their life. Oh, how socially-aware he is. How kind. How elevated.

The problem with Romney’s plan to increase equality in the workplace is that he has no plan. No plan at all. Romney’s exact words are:

“We’re going to have to have employers in the new economy, in the economy I’m going to bring into play, that are going to be so anxious to get good workers they’re going to be anxious to hire women.”

He’s going to increase business, and the business owners will be so happy and so busy that they’ll just magically hire women? Really? Because that happens all the time, right? Maybe we should all have binders full of women to carry around and be enlightened.

What’s more, he generalized women workers to be working mothers. Women need flexible schedules because they have young children. Because they need to be there when they come home. Because their husband/partner obviously can’t take on the traditional mother role and cook dinner for the entire family and she needs to be there. 

And while a lot of women do need flexible hours because the traditional role of mother still falls onto women to be there when the kids get home and to cook dinner, even if Romney’s magical business plan to boost the economy works (which it probably won’t because he thinks trickle down economics are a good idea), even if businesses suddenly boom and grow and need new workers, there’s no plan in place to stop discrimination against women/mothers in the workplace. There’s no plan in place to enforce Equal Pay for Equal Work. There’s no fire under anyone’s butt to make employers allow flexible hours for mothers who do need to be home when the kids come home from school. 

40 Reasons to be a Feminist

Being a feminist means:
1. Walking home at night without having to walk with a buddy or pretend to be on the phone.
2. Walking home late at night without tensing up at the sound of footsteps behind you, wondering and worrying if those footsteps are quickening because they have somewhere they need to be or because they’re trying to catch up with you…
3. Being promoted at work instead of overlooked.
4. Being promoted at work, not because you’re a woman, but because your boss respects you as a capable part of the team
5. The boss considering you for a promotion and not weighing the job position between you or Sven, who isn’t as good as you, because Sven isn’t going to get pregnant and run off and have a family.
6. Your boss knowing that you can get the job done with or without a baby on your hip, and the company respects you for juggling work and motherhood, and even helps you do it, instead of weighing it against you.
7. Being able to say the word Vagina without having it declared a dirty word.
8. Being able to say vagina in Congress without being suspended.
9. Decisions about what’s best for your cervix decided by people who have a cervix.
10. Being in full control of your own sexual health and well-being.
11. Being able to crossdress! (Ladies, look down right now. If you’re wearing pants, you’re crossdressing. Yay!)
12. Watching a movie like Brave and not have someone saying/whining “it’s just about a not having to have a guy in your life…” The movie is about a girl. A strong girl. On her own. The end.
13. Having more time being a father, and being with your father, and a planned father at that.
14. Being paid the same wage as men for the same job. (Yeah, still don’t have that.)
15. Babies not being left abandoned on trains or in the fields because the baby is a girl and they needed a boy. (I had a friend who was left on a train as a baby and was saved. It still happens.)
16. Not feeling like shit because you don’t fit into these rigid and bizarre ideals of “womanhood.”
17. China’s population not being mostly men because the government put in the “One Baby Rule” and so everyone aborted the girl babies because they’re “less valuable” than boy babies.
18. Having affordable public daycare for working mothers.
19. Not worrying if you’re ugly, or fat, or hairy.
20. Valuing yourself as a human being rather than how sexy you look.
21. Not being expected to know how to cook and clean, and not being expected to enjoy that kind of work.
22. Not having the “second shift” when you come home. (The second shift being the work mothers put into your house and your children and your family, cooking, cleaning, laundry, dishes, mopping, dusting, wiping, swiping, shopping, feeding, homeworking/bathing/bedtiming children)
23. The president of Harvard saying that women are naturally worse at math and not have people take him seriously.
24. A teacher not getting fired from her job from being pregnant and unmarried. (Cathy Samford)
25. Not feeling the compulsive need to starve yourself or vomit every meal to fit the delusional ideal of womanhood because you feel inadequate.
26. Having a woman president of the United States.
27. Having more than 17% of women in Congress.
28. Having more than 3.6% of CEO’s in Fortune 500 Companies be women.
29. Republicans not trying to get rid of Planned Parenthood.
30. Paul Ryan not saying that God, reason, and science tell him that he has any right to tell women what to do with her uterus.
31. Women not having surgery to make their vagina’s “prettier” (Sorry, it’s too freaky not to mention. Seriously? Our vagina’s aren’t pretty enough for you?)
32. Michelle Bachman is not called crazy, especially when no one else was.
33. Hilary Clinton won’t be called a bitch because she’s powerful and in control. (By the way, Hilary Clinton won the state-wide title Woman of the Year in 1983 and then Mother of the Year in 1984.)
34. Women having more than one Halloween costume option: slut.
35. Abercrombie & Fitch doesn’t think it’s okay to put “WHO NEEDS BRAINS WHEN YOU HAVE THESE?” on girls’ tee-shirts.
36. Being able to buy a vibrator in every state. Because a woman’s sexuality is something every woman should decide for herself.
37. Feeling pretty in sweats/Feeling pretty in lipstick and heels.
38. Not having to accept all men are slutty and all women are monogamous.
39. Women are seen than more than baby-machines, men are more than breadwinners.
40. Having better sex.

Women are NOT allowed to wear pants. (Or belly dance.)

 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel…”
—1st Timothy 2:9

Women are to dress in ‘modest apparel.’ That is what the Bible commands. It is not a matter of opinion.”

I read this on someone else’s blog, an appeal by some dude named David Stewart to all the righteous pious God-loving women out there to stop wearing pants, lest they be smote for being a lewd harlot. Yes, I realize it’s the internet, but seriously? What is up with this guy? Let me tell you more.

Women who wear pants either do not recognize, or do not care, about the spiritual dangers of lasciviousness. The clothes that women wear send a message.”

Well, here he has a point. Not about the lasciviousness, but that clothes send a message. We do use clothes to send signals to one another, such as I am a girl, or I am a goth, or sometimes I am Batman, none of these are a signal to the Devil to drag you to hell. Jesus, it’s not as if I murdered someone. 

Belly dancing is the most filthy trash on earth. Plays and theatre performances are nothing but whore shows. Get right with God America!”

Okay… what? First of all, belling dancing is not from America, it’s from Western Asia. It is a cultural dance that is not strictly performed by women. Belly dancing goes back all the way to Ancient Greece, where women wore white while dancing to emulate the Goddesses, or wore nothing at all to symbolize purity. They’re not strip teasing for you.

Second, plays and theatre? Come on. That’s just plain misogynistic. What could women dressed in costume, singing, repeating lines, acting out Shakespeare and the like, possibly have to do with this? How could they be whore shows? Don’t you find it more likely that whore shows are whore shows, and not the arts? (And how does this relate to sinning pant-wearing women?)

This guy goes on to say that Taylor Swift is a sinful whore, Katy Perry is a demon-possessed lesbian-lusting loser, and Walt Disney is a whoremonger. (Really, David? A whoremonger? What, are we pimping Snow White now or something?)

And last but not least, here is an entire paragraph, my favorite in fact, quoted from his page:

Any idiot knows that men are sexually aroused by SIGHT. This is the great danger of women wearing pants. Lest you think this a trifle matter, Jesus condemned the lusts of the heart as being equivalent to ADULTERY in Matthew 5:28, “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Maybe you don’t care, but God does. Immodestly dressed women cause men to lust. Sadly, many women enjoy such sensual attraction, making them feel good about themselves; but that is a very shallow and selfish attitude to have, and sinful I might add. John 12:43 tells us to seek the praise of God, not men.”

There are soooo many things wrong here. First, he’s putting the blame on women. It’s clearly not mens’ faults if they’re aroused by sight, that’s just nature, it’s clearly the woman’s doing! How dare she dress in pants. It is her fault the men are lusting and sinning.

But since these men are aroused by sight, shouldn’t we poke out their eyes, then? That way they won’t lust and commit adultery? No, condemn the women! How dare they feel good about themselves! How shallow! How selfish! Damn them to Hell! The women are clearly forcing men to ogle and fantasize about them. They bring it upon themselves, the salty she-devils!

What the fuck.

Pants are form-fitting, forcing men to stare at women’s legs…”

No, shut up.

… pants on women are OBSCENE by every definition of the—”

Seriously, shut your hole! Pants are not obscene, they’re a symbol of women’s power, strength, and equality.

During World War II was really when pants started to become popular. After the men went to war, the women had to step up and take on the jobs the men had left behind at home. They built fighter jets, made ammunition, tested machine guns, operated drill presses, volunteered as firefighters, etc, etc. And during this time, women started wearing their husband’s trousers in order to work. Then when the war was over, women lost their pants when they lost their jobs during the whole 1950’s resurgence of ” true womanhood”, and women’s God-given work was in the home… over a stove… in a dress and high heels and a pearl necklace.

I don’t have to tell you women have every right to wear pants, and it’s ridiculous to say otherwise. We’re busy as shit. We have things to do, places to go, worlds to conquer. We don’t have time to worry if the wind is going to blow up our skirts. We don’t want to worry about crossing our legs at the ankles instead of at the knee so people don’t see our panties. What if I went commando? I forgot to do the laundry, alright? I had to figure out if Rhino Tuscan had three apples and Silvia Plath had fifteen goats, how long would it take aliens to impregnate Rhi…..yeah, I didn’t do that. So I baked cupcakes instead! I’m normal, I swear.

It’s funny how everything always seems to be our fault. Don’t wear pants, because it tricks the men into lusting over you. Don’t wear sexy clothes, because you’re just teasing the guys. And don’t you dare walk home by yourself after you dressed like that, if the guy rapes you it’s your fault for wearing a short dress. The guy can’t help himself. Make sure you have birth control and condoms, if you get pregnant, you only have yourself to blame.

Guys are slutty, girls are monogamous. Guys can’t help themselves, women don’t like sex. As all dichotomies are false dichotomies, none of this is true, but we believe it’s true because everyone keeps telling us it’s true. Whether it’s abstinence-only education textbooks, or media, or Republicans, or Snooki, these sorts of ideas keep popping up, pounding these idiotic vibrations into our skulls. And if we keep hearing it enough, and saying it enough, and thinking it enough, we may just end up believing it.

So wear pants! And do your laundry. And eat cupcakes. And hell, belly dance! Why not? There’s nothing holding you back.   

Poor, Unfortunate Little Mermaid… the Good and the Bad

I’ll admit it, watching Ariel sing and swim around the sea makes me happy inside. The Little Mermaid is cute and fun and magical, and it’s a part of my childhood. What would’ve the pool been without pretending to be a mermaid? Boring, that’s what. But no amount of childhood nostalgia can remedy the fact that it’s unfeminist (At least, partly.)

I’m not talking about that whole big shlazoo with the cover art and all that. I actually couldn’t care less about that. I mean the actual story. Ariel is out in the ocean where she’s not supposed to be, doing things she is not supposed to do, and then falls in love with another species (an unattainable, highly sought after, rich and powerful other species). Ariel obsesses over Eric. I’m pretty sure that had she been on land, she would’ve been a stalker, perhaps collecting locks of his hair out of the garbage can. She fills an entire sea cave with stuff she has collected from… above. (Not unlike how people collect Alien artifacts I might add) And it becomes creepier when you think that she must have gotten all of this stuff from shipwrecks. She’s collecting dead mens’ things (but in the pursuit of education).

Anyways, when her dad finds out and says No, you can’t marry this human, you can’t leave our family, you need to stop this crazy-shit obsession with what you can’t have… she goes to a witch. Naturally. (I don’t think Ariel really realized why King Triton said no, or why she shouldn’t be hanging around ships. It’s the fear of discovery, I think. Triton’s no dummy. He fears the humans, and with good reason to. Let’s say that a human had seen Ariel, a beautiful and mysterious woman creature. What do you think would happen? They could catch her, for one. There are probably nets on board. And two, the humans are going to want to collect/find/study these strange new beings. And if they’re found to be a threat, the humans would hunt them and exterminate them. Don’t deny it, you know it’s true.)

Back to the witch. Of course, when your daddy says no, you dabble in the Occult. Like I was saying, this is basically the universal Plan B. Now, everything that has happened up to this point, merely trifles compared to what happens here. She sells her voice to the witch for a pair of legs. What she has in fact done here, however, is turned herself into a sex object. Ariel can no longer communicate any ideas, feelings, thoughts, opinions, anything. Zip. She can’t sign, nor write, nor does she have any basic knowledge of how people run things up on land. She brushes her hair with a fork, for god’s sake. She has no idea what she’s doing. Ariel goes up there dumb, deaf, and blind. All she has is “body language”. How do you make someone fall in love with you with only body language as your native tongue? Yeah, I thought so.

Let’s just play the lyrics, shall we?

URSULA:
You’ll have your looks, your pretty face.
And don’t underestimate the importance of body language, ha!

The men up there don’t like a lot of blabber
They think a girl who gossips is a bore!
Yet on land it’s much preferred for ladies not to say a word
And after all dear, what is idle pradle for?
Come on, they’re not all that impressed with conversation
True gentlemen avoid it when they can
But they dote and swoon and fawn
On a lady who’s withdrawn
It’s she who holds her tongue who get’s a man

I think the implications of this song are pretty plain, which is unfortunate because it’s one of my all-time favorite Disney songs ever. Telling young girls not to speak because guy’s don’t want to talk to them is not the greatest message in the world. In fact, it’s one of the worst. Telling a woman from an early age not to be smart, not to think, not to express herself is the devolution of society. And don’t think that because they’re children they won’t pick up on these sorts of things, because they do. I knew the words to this song when I was young. But I’ll come back to this.

Let’s not forget that not only did she give up her voice, she gave up her entire family. She has like, what, twenty sisters? Granted, we only see them in the very beginning, and it appears Ariel is the odd sheep out, but is that really enough to literally cut off all contact with them? Over a boy you’ve never even spoken to before? (Singing to his unconscious body doesn’t count.)

And let’s just consider the cultural and historical context in which we find ourselves here. The Little Mermaid must’ve been set in England sometime in the Victorian era, meaning that love was a very subtle and nuanced and serious thing. And while love probably happened relatively quickly, Ariel has no cultural clues to make her understand. Women in this time period were groomed and educated specifically for courting. And Eric finding her alone, mostly naked, in the middle of the beach would have been so very, very scandalous  Single women were not even  allowed out of the house unchaperoned. Girls weren’t allowed to talk to guys until they had been “introduced”. Guys weren’t allowed to touch women, even their hand, unless they were out walking and she was about to trip. Girls weren’t allowed to look back over their shoulder at anyone. How is Ariel supposed to catch the attention of a Prince when she checks if someone is dead by listening to their foot? But I digress.

Back to the song: Because Ursula is the one singing Poor Unfortunate Souls, and because Ursula is the head honcho of evil in this movie, the song was meant to be ironic. Even though this message was getting sung, it was coming from the “bad guy”, the voiceless plan didn’t really pan out for Ariel, therefore: don’t do it. At least, I hope that’s what was intended. (The problem with this theory is the voiceless plan kind of actually did work out for Ariel. Eric was in love with her, he was just under Ursula’s spell. It kind of seemed like she had Eric pretty early on. Flotsam and Jetsam were just getting in their way. [Interesting aside: Flotsam and Jetsam are terms to describe wreckage from a ship.]) Fairy tales, after all, were originally horror stories meant to scare children into behaving. Perhaps Ariel’s story should be read as a cautionary tale. Ariel made wrong decisions, and we should learn from them. However, she also made right ones.

This movie is not horribly deplorable. You needn’t whisk away your child’s copy of the movie or trash your precious memories of Ariel, nor do you have to feel guilty about loving Ariel. I still do! While some of the Little Mermaid can be seen as unfeminist, there is also another side to this sand dollar.

A few feminist things about Little Mermaid:

Ariel is strong. She sees what she wants, and she goes to get it, relentless in her pursuit. Even though what she wants is a boy and not graduating from Harvard, that doesn’t make the strength of her struggle across obstacles on land and sea any less valid. Wanting a boy (or a girl) is okay. Being in love and wanting a family doesn’t make you unfeminist by any means.

Although, Ariel is very much invested in her education. She searches dangerous places, shipwrecks swimming with blood-thirsty sharks, just to collect not only forks and old candlesticks, but in lucky cases books and paintings. She risks life and limb to educate herself for her own education of a culture that is not her own. When have any of us risked so much to learn about Africa or Korea? She fights against the singing career all her other sister’s have thrived in to create something new, something of her own. She pushes against her own societal norms for adventure, excitement, and individuality.
She’s brave, independent, determined, intelligent, talented, confident, honest, caring, and true. Even though she makes mistakes, she’s a good role model for women.
And I know she doesn’t actually think you can check if someone is dead by listening to their foot. That was scuttle, who also taught her a fork is a comb. Moral here: watch out for idiots, kids. And adults. Don’t stop avoiding idiots just because you’re an adult. 

Ursula could have (perhaps) just stayed a young hot brunette up on land, but she’s not the kind of woman to give into vanity. She has some make up on, yes, but she has the power and the magic to shapeshift into anything and anyone, and she chooses to be her eight-
legged self. There’s something to be respected in that. Ursula is, if nothing else, a very powerful woman, rivaling King Triton–the ruler of the entire Ocean, and at one point even overpowering him. Ursula can definitely hold her own. And while malicious and vindictive, she’s a pretty badass ruler. (A totalitarian ruler of evil.)

Eric falling in love with Ariel, considering the culture he lives in, shows men pushing against their own stereotypes, societal pressures, and expectations. He’s a strong character, a decent man. He fought for Ariel, risking his life, even when the girl of his dreams turned into a fish and the woman he was about to marry turned into an octopus. Without hesitation, even when Ariel was a little different, and there were plenty more fish in the sea, he dove into the ocean after her.

King Triton really loved his daughter. Even though he came off angry and oppressive (probably due to his raging temper), he was just trying to protect his family. And when push came to shove, he gave up the power of the entire ocean to save just one of his children. He was a fair and just ruler, uncorrupted and unseduced by the potential for totalitarian power. He is a family man with true family values, a wise leader to be respected and learned from. In the end, he understands Ariel’s love for Eric is more than just a teenage crush. He sees eye-to-eye with his daughter, and mutual understanding is what gives the movie a happy ending.