Scroll To Top

The Little Mermaid Was Originally a Metaphor for Unrequited Gay Love

'The Little Mermaid' Was Originally a Metaphor for Unrequited Gay Love

The Little Mermaid
Courtesy of Disney

Writer Hans Christian Andersen longed to be a part of another man's world...

Disney's live-action The Little Mermaid adaption broke the internet last week when it was announced that grown-ish star Halle Bailey has been cast as Ariel. Critics and complainers don't believe that Ariel should be played by a black woman and many cited the original fairy tale's Danish origins to back up their racism. Ariel is European, so she must be white! Right?

Applying that logic to a fictional cartoon is obviously idiotic, but boy, have we got news for them! If we really want to get historically accurate, perhaps Ariel should instead be Aaron. Or Adonis? Andre?

The original fairy tale was written by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen in 1837 as a love letter for a man named Edvard Collin. Anderson, who biographers believe was bisexual, crushed hard on Collin.

"I languish for you as for a pretty Calabrian wench... my sentiments for you are those of a woman," Andersen wrote in a letter to Collin. "The femininity of my nature and our friendship must remain a mystery."

Collin did not feel the same way. In his own memoir, Collin wrote, "I found myself unable to respond to this love, and this caused the author much suffering."

Seems like Andersen longed to be a part of Collin's world. And when Collin later married to a woman, Andersen wrote The Little Mermaid, which "displays himself as the sexual outsider who lost his prince to another," notes literary critic Rictor Norton.

According to LGBTQ Nation, the prince in the original story marries the new woman, "leaving the mermaid so saddened that she turns into sea foam after crying her heart out from grief." Andersen never sent the story to Collin.

A stark change from Disney's 1989 film, where Ariel exposes the prince's new lover as a sea witch and marries him herself.

Taking into account the unrequited same-gender love story behind The Little Mermaid and that "Part of Your World" was written by a gay man, we decree the song an official gay anthem!

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

author avatar

Pride Staff