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Stereotypes on princess

Posted June. 01, 2023 07:38,   

Updated June. 01, 2023 07:38


Disney’s release of The Little Mermaid has sparked interest in the appearance of a black Ariel. The little mermaid we had been familiar with was a white girl with red hair, which Disney had recreated in 1989 based on the original fairy tale. Hans Christian had created the story in 1837, but specifics of the race had not been known.

Around 10 years ago in Denmark, the homeland of Hans Christian, the little mermaid had been reinterpreted as a male. Elmgreen & Dragset, the artist duo, created a male statue counterpart called “He” (2012, photo).

Elmgreen of Demark and Norwegian artist Dragset have been working together since 1995. They have steadily introduced artwork challenging predefined thinking. The statue is an interpretation of the iconic Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen of a male version. The little mermaid statue, which was made by Edvard Eriksen in 1913, is visited by many around the world, but many say that it isn’t as grand as expected, being a small statue of only 80 centimeters tall. The artists created a bigger version of the mermaid of 2 meters tall and had it plated in gold. Perhaps the mermaid had successfully met with his lover, having feet instead of fins. He looks downcast, however, maybe because he lost his voice. The mermaid, who sits with his legs pressed together on a rock, is nude and completely contrasts the expressions of a traditional male. He appears calm, lost in thought, vulnerable, weak, and uncomfortable. Traditional art featured nude males as masculine and in heroic positions.

The little mermaid statue erected in Monopoli, Italy, recently gathered attention. This time, the mermaid’s overly voluptuous figure was controversial. Times have changed. People’s tastes have changed. However, the stereotypes in our minds of a slender and white mermaid imprinted by Disney remain difficult to change.