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The Little Mermaid’s Queer Origins Are More Chaotic Than We Thought

The Little Mermaid's Queer Origins Are More Chaotic Than We Thought

The Little Mermaid's Queer Origins Are More Chaotic Than We Thought

Disney has nothing on this.


Disney’s The Little Mermaid live-action reboot has been facing unwarranted blowback before even being released, with racists lamenting the shift from the “original” white, red-haired Ariel to Halle Bailey’s Black Ariel for absolutely no reason other than the change in skin tone.

Adaptations regularly change aspects of the original story, especially when a lot of time has passed and a story has been adapted again and again in different ways. There’s no reason to make claims that the source material needs to be diligently followed, other than using it as an excuse for racism.

That said, if we were to take any of this seriously, the actual source material dates back much farther than Disney’s 1989 film. In fact, Hans Christian Andersen originally wrote the fairy tale in 1837, and it has widely been interpreted as a story about Andersen’s own longing to be with his longtime friend Edvard Collin, after finding out he was engaged to marry a woman.

That The Little Mermaid has queer origins is nothing new, but a thread making the rounds on Twitter dives into just how chaotic those origins are.

Writer Dana Schwartz initially brought up Andersen’s obsession with and intrusion upon Charles Dickens, culminating in a bizarre extended stay at Dickens’ house — definitely worth a read.

@teaberryblue expanded on this by pivoting directly back to The Little Mermaid and its queer ties, calling Anderson “a Disaster Bi Trash Fire.”

“So it’s important to know that Andersen was what we would probably call bi or pan now but more importantly [that] Andersen had crushes on basically everyone he met and had A Lot Of Feelings and almost always took it badly when those feelings weren’t returned,” she wrote.

So there you have it. The deepest origins of The Little Mermaid are actually gay, but that doesn’t mean having a Black mermaid pursuing a heterosexual relationship is an inaccurate representation that destroys the story in any way.

That said, a movie about Andersen’s own life with a focus on his queer yearnings — and keeping it as chaotic and messy as it sounds like it actually was — sounds like the next best move for Hollywood. And then maybe a gay adaptation of The Little Mermaid to go along with it. Let’s see bigots try to hold a logical argument against that.

RELATED | The 40 Best Queer Animated Shows Ever & Where To Watch Them

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