Why I Cut My Hair

Women tend to have a strange relationship with their hair.

We’ve all heard the jokes about women going into the hairdresser’s and asking for a trim, and then being horrified when a bit more is cut off than they intended. And as much as it is a joke, it is also a sign of the strong attachment that women have to their long locks.

And trust me, I’ve been there – I get the fear that comes with having long hair. The conviction that your long hair is somehow tied in with your beauty. The belief that cutting it just a little too much will change everything about your appearance because hair can effect everything about your face. I remember feeling that way, back before I cut my hair short.

Perhaps the reason that so many women experience this attachment to their hair is because society itself tends to have a strange relationship with their hair. The majority of beautiful women that you see in the media, from fictional characters to actresses to singers, have long, beautiful locks. There are many men who are rather vocal about their opinion that they “like women with long hair” or think that “women with long hair are more beautiful.” Even from an early age, any girl growing up watching Disney princess movies will see that not only do ten out of eleven official princesses have long hair, but their hair is a focal point, something that symbolizes their personality and what they are going through. Pocahontas is seen with her beautiful, long black hair flowing gracefully around her face. Ariel’s vibrant red hair makes her different and more eye-catching than any other women in her movie; it sets her apart from her seven sisters. And when Mulan cuts her hair, it is only so that she can pass as a man.

A woman’s long hair is connected to her femininity and her beauty, and it is through this message that women are dissuaded from cutting their hair, resulting in this aforementioned strange relationship that women have with their hair. Meanwhile, short hair is connected to masculinity and mental breakdowns – for example, the way in which the media responded to Britney Spears shaving off her long, blonde, beautiful hair.

But personally speaking, although I experienced this attachment to my hair, I also sort of coveted short hair from a young age. I remember reading a series of teen books when I was young that had on its cover a woman with a bright green pixie cut, and I decided that I wanted to look like her when I grew up. I loved Sinead O’Connor’s shaved head, P!nk’s blonde faux hawk. The only thing that kept me from pursuing this look was society’s claim that I needed long hair to be pretty and feminine.

And then, when I was eighteen years old, after I graduated high school and left town to begin university in the city, I decided to chop my locks.

It was a decision that I made to reflect the change in my life, but cutting my hair became sort of an addiction over time. I started with a bob, but I moved through pixie cuts, faux hawks, Mohawks, shaved sides. I discovered that I looked good with short hair and I wanted to try it all out, to see if what all I could get away with. For the most part, the responses that I got were all positive as well. Some people didn’t like my hair, telling me that it really changed my whole appearance and made me look less soft, less beautiful, but they were a vast minority. Now, it isn’t rare for people to even stop me in the street or at the mall to tell me that they love my hair – and I do too. I was never very good at styling my hair when it was long, but now I need to put in half the effort to make it look twice as good.

And it seems that, ever since I cut my hair, more and more women in the media have been doing it too. When I was growing up, my inspirations were reduced primarily to the ones I have already named, but since then, we have seen Katy Perry cut her hair, Scarlett Johansson, Kristen Stewart, Miley Cyrus, Ruby Rose, etc., etc. Long hair is no longer the only option for looking beautiful, and people are beginning to realize that.

But although I initially cut my hair because I thought it looked beautiful, there was something else about it that I didn’t quite expect but discovered fairly quickly; just how freeing it feels.

When you have short hair, it isn’t because you’re trying to conform to any beauty standard. You don’t even have it because you care if other people think you’re pretty. You have short hair because you want short hair, because you like it. Short hair is about you, not anyone else.

And to return to my discussion of Disney princesses and how they represent short hair, there is actually one princess who accurately represents what short hair is like: Rapunzel. Throughout the whole film, her hair is long because someone else covets it, because someone else wants her hair to be long. Near the end of the film, however, her hair is cut, and through the action, she is freed from the oppressive influence of that person in her life. She no longer needs to live for them; she can be free, make decisions for herself, do what she wishes. And maybe it’s a bit of an exaggeration to say that cutting your hair makes you any freer than a woman who keeps her long hair (and nor am I trying to say that any woman who has long hair is at all a prisoner), but it does represent how short hair can make you feel.

Short hair is fun. Short hair is free. And short hair does not at all make you any less beautiful or feminine.

Should LGBT+ Characters Be in Children’s Films?

In 2012, an animated children’s film called ParaNorman featured an openly gay character – a stereotypical jock character named Mitch Downe, who reveals his orientation at the end of the film when he says “You’re gonna love my boyfriend. He’s like a total chick-flick nut!” Also in 2012, an animated children’s television series called The Legend of Korra featured as its titular character and hero, Korra, a bisexual woman who shares a romance with another woman named Asami. And more recently, in 2017, the live action Disney film Beauty and the Beast featured an openly gay character in Lefou, the villain’s sidekick.

Slowly but surely, LGBT+ characters are making their appearance in children’s media, and people are fairly divided on the matter. On the one hand, we have those who support the idea, saying that children need to see LGBT+ people represented in media because LGBT+ people exist. Maybe the child in question will grow up to belong to the LGBT+ community, and if they do, then the process of coming to terms with themselves will be that much smoother if they have grown up feeling like they are valid and like they are allowed to exist. As a bisexual woman myself, I grew up seeing bisexual people in the media, but they were always represented as morally inferior, dirty, and incapable of fully loving or being loved, and so these were the ideas of bisexuality that I grew up with, and the ideas that I applied to myself when I began to realize what I was. Perhaps the process would have been a little bit easier for me if I had grown up watching The Legend of Korra. And if a child does not grow up to belong to the LGBT+ community, this type of media continues to be of use to them, because chances are, they are going to meet an LGBT+ person at some point in their lives, and this media normalizes this community for them. A gay boy is not “weird” or “effeminate”; he’s just like Lefou.

But then again, on the other hand, we have the people who are opposed to LGBT+ people appearing in children’s media, and this is the perspective that I want to speak to. For the most part, the argument that I hear to support this perspective is that, if children are surrounded from a young age by LGBT+ people, then this will lead them to become LGBT+ when they grow up.

There are two things that I want to state toward this: first of all, being surrounded by a particular sexual orientation at a young age does not influence your future sexual orientation. Both of my parents identify as straight, most of the couples that I saw in movies and television  were straight, all of my friends’ parents growing up were straight, and I still wound up being bisexual, and I imagine that this is the case for most LGBT+ people. The majority of people identify as heterosexual, and more than that, the heterosexual narrative is the one that is most focused on in our society. So why would a child who would identify as straight have their orientation changed because there was a queer couple in their favourite movie growing up?

But even saying that, I’m going to continue on to make a somewhat contradictory statement here: maybe it will influence them a little bit, and maybe that’s okay. I’m not saying that a child who would have otherwise grown up to be a completely heterosexual, totally masculine cis-gendered manly man will now be a homosexual drag queen because he grew up watching ParaNorman (I mean, if he did, that would be awesome too), but maybe he’ll grow up to be a little bit more open, a bit more fluid with his identity. Maybe he’ll question gender roles a little bit. Maybe, if he does feel even the slightest crush on someone of his own gender, he won’t be ashamed to pursue it, even experiment if he wants to. Or at the very least, maybe he will support LGBT+ people, when he could have hurt and bullied them otherwise. And what’s wrong with any of that?

To say that you don’t want children watching media with LGBT+ characters in it because it might make them grow up to become LGBT+ implies that there is something wrong with that. It makes it sound like growing up to become LGBT+ is a) a choice that people make at some point in their development and b) a wrong choice. It is a mistake that must be avoided, and that just isn’t true. There is nothing wrong with growing up to enter into the LGBT+ community, and there is nothing wrong with learning more about the world around you, and there is nothing wrong with experimenting with and questioning your identity. And although I say this, I know that there are people who are going to disagree with me, and there are going to be people who continue to keep their children at home when the newest animated film comes to theatres featuring an LGBT+ character, but personally, I think that’s a shame, and specifically, it’s a shame for the children in question. Films that are willing to tell the stories of LGBT+ characters are offering children a gift: the gift of understanding and open-mindedness, the gift of questioning and learning about the world around them and the identity within them. This is a gift that should continue to be given, and it is a gift that I wish everyone could experience.

Bi Erasure in Disney’s Live Action Mulan

Growing up, I watched the 1998 Disney classic Mulan a lot. Mostly because it was my sister’s favourite Disney movie, but over time, I began to gain appreciation for it as well. The animation is truly stunning, the songs are incredibly fun, the subject matter is impressively brave, and come on guys, for a cartoon character, Li Shang is pretty hot.

So when I heard that Disney was going to make a live action adaption of Mulan, I was really excited. I felt that the Chinese setting would lend itself to some truly stunning visuals and Disney always takes advantage of that, and the story is a very important one that should be told again. Along the way, a few things sprung up to try and deter my excitement: there was speculation that the film would be whitewashed, but I had faith in Disney to prove that speculation wrong, and fortunately enough, they did. There was the announcement that the amazing songs, the songs that I grew up with and loved, would not be in the film, but you know what, I understood that choice. It was a different adaption, and it does need to be taken in a different direction to be a successful film.

But the third time’s the charm, because it only just now came to my attention that Li Shang will not be included in the live action adaption. Instead, he will be replaced by another character named Chen Honghui.

Now why would this bother me so much? After all, from everything we can tell so far, Chen Honghui will play a very similar role to Shang, being Mulan’s love interest, and it’s not really like Shang was all that integral to the plot of the original that he absolutely needs to be repeated. And, yes, I have fond memories of singing along to I’ll Make a Man Out of You and realizing that Shang is actually kind of hot, but since there’s not going to be any songs in the film, I already know that that experience won’t be repeated anyway. So why get upset? Why does it matter?

Well, it matters because of the speculated reason that Disney has for replacing Shang.

Let’s get this straight right off the bat: Disney has not officially released an explanation for replacing Shang, but there has been speculation, and from where I am, it does look bad. Because, you see, since the original movie’s release in 1998, Shang has somewhat gained a reputation (especially amongst the LGBT+ crowd) for being Disney’s first bisexual character, mostly because he may or may not have started developing feelings for Mulan when he thought she was a man. Whether or not Shang is intended to be interpreted as bisexual by the writers is difficult to say, as no actual statement has been made by Disney at any point, but does that really matter? So long as the audience keeps believing that it’s true, and there is evidence in the film to support it, then for all intents and purposes, Shang is Disney’s first bisexual character. Which is awesome.

And I know what you’re thinking: that’s an awfully big leap to make, implying that Shang is being replaced because he was interpreted as bisexual. There could have been a million reasons for the choice, because his character was much more than just a speculated sexual orientation. Except Disney has said very little about this Chen Honghui fellow besides the fact that he will serve as Mulan’s adversary up until the point where he realizes that she’s a woman.

Okay, first off, correct me if I’m wrong (I don’t understand you weird people attracted to a single gender), but isn’t disliking someone up until you realize you can fuck them kind of skeezy? And secondly, that makes the replacement of Shang look really bad. Because as far as we know at this point, Chen Honghui will be the exact same character as Shang, with two alterations: his name (unimportant) and the question of whether or not he developed feelings for Mulan when he thought that she was a man (hugely important). It takes away the possible interpretation that Shang could be bisexual. It reassures the biphobic audience that, don’t worry, there’s no gay stuff going on here. Just heterosexual dude-bros doing their heterosexual dude-bro thing right up until, oh look, a woman! Better drop all that aggressive testosterone and turn it into lady-pleasing testosterone.

And as I have implied earlier in this article, I want to have the most faith in Disney possible. Their most recent film, the live action adaption of Beauty and the Beast, featured their first openly gay character, and I was all gung-ho about supporting them for it. But Shang is a bigger and more important character than Lefou. It is more significant for little boys growing up bisexual to watch a film where there is a man who is represented as masculine and desirable, and yet he is still bisexual, and that doesn’t take away from his ability to find love and help save China. Lefou was a tiny step forward for Disney, but replacing Shang with a character who we are assured is 100%, totally heterosexual is a giant leap back.

And maybe I’m wrong. I hope I’m wrong. At this point, production for the live action adaption of Mulan is still in its early stages, and most of what I’m going off of here is speculation. But let’s just hope that Disney proves me wrong and gives me a film with both a badass female warrior and her openly bisexual boyfriend.

Beauty and the Beast (2017) Review

The time has come. The 2017 remake to Beauty and the Beast is finally out. After months of waiting for something, anything, even just a trailer to come out, I have finally seen it.

And, to be fair, the film has some pretty big shoes to fill. The original 1991 adaption is pretty much a perfect movie, as far as I’m concerned. It’s really difficult to compete with something that has already won my heart so completely, but nonetheless, I went into this movie really, really wanting to like it. After all, there was a lot to it that was incredibly promising.

I loved the casting of the movie, which included some pretty incredible actors who suited their roles perfectly – Emma Watson, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Luke Evans, and Josh Gad in particular. I loved the speculation that this would be the first Disney movie to feature an openly gay character (although this is hardly the first Disney movie to feature a gay character, let’s be honest here). And considering I’ve seen Stephen Chbosky write some pretty interesting works with similar themes, I figured that he’d produce an incredible script. And if all else failed, if nothing else in this movie was at all good, I had faith from what I had seen that at least the visuals would be stunning – something that was true about prior live action Disney films, like Maleficent, Cinderella, and the Jungle Book. Really, my only concern about the movie was that it might just be a direct remake of the original with only a few filler scenes thrown in to make it fill a longer running time, but since the original was so good anyway, would that really be a bad thing? If that was the worst that I had to fear, then at least it wasn’t going to be a bad movie. Just a pointless one.

So having seen it now, how did it hold up to expectations? Was it as good as the original? Was it just a pointless remake?

 

 

Let’s start with the one thing I figured I had to like: the cast. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t know a whole lot about Dan Stevens going into this film, having never seen him in anything else, but the rest of the cast comprised of people that I knew and loved and expected great things out of.

Emma Watson, for example, couldn’t possibly be bad, the way that I saw it. After all, she had pretty much played this role before, when she portrayed Hermione in what is perhaps my favourite franchise, Harry Potter. I was dying to see her in this, and, to be perfectly honest, I felt sort of let down. In all honesty, as much as I thought that Emma Watson was perfectly casted before going into the film, I quickly changed my mind when I actually saw her. A lot of people have been complaining about the fact that her singing voice isn’t the greatest, and as much as I agree with that, it’s nothing compared to the fact that she just couldn’t emote all that well. Naturally, Emma Watson strikes me as a woman who’s very controlled, very prim and proper, while Belle in the original was passionate and highly emotional. And to be honest, Emma Watson’s acting really took away from the emotional resonance of many of the scenes. The ending of the original movie to this day brings me to tears, but despite the fact that they pretty much recycled that script for the remake, I couldn’t bring myself to care. Not about Belle’s lack of emotions, and not about the Beast either.

On a similar note, Dan Stevens might have been a decent actor. I’m not entirely sure – it was really difficult to tell through all of that CGI. In animation, the Beast can be expressive, emotional, just a much as any of the human characters, but in live action, the CGI is too distracting and unconvincing, and Dan Stevens’ expressions get lost in it.

That being said, there were still performances that I enjoyed. It is impossible for me to dislike Ewan McGregor or Ian McKellen, although their characters were focused on much less in this adaption. Josh Gad was perfectly casted, and I will give absolutely no complaints about his character – he might have honestly been my favourite part in this film. And Luke Evans, portraying one of my favourite Disney villains, put in a great performance, just as I expected he would. My only problems with Gaston were in how he was written.

Which brings me to my next concern – the writing. A lot of it, as I mentioned before, was recycled from the old film, including direct dialogue. And on the one hand, yes, it’s good dialogue – there’s a reason why the original film is a classic. But at the same time, this is a remake, and it’s a remake of a film that it can never entirely replace or improve upon unless they’re willing to make some changes, rather than lean on the old film.

But, to be fair, the writing that they recycle is better than the stuff that they added. Gaston’s character has been changed drastically from the original, and this might be the thing that bothered me the most. Because like I said, I liked Gaston in the original. I liked that he wasn’t really so much of a villain as he was a spoiled brat who had been told all his life that he was right and people like Belle and the Beast were wrong. He was a man who had never been told no once in his life, he was the straight, white, hyper-masculine, in every way ideal man who felt like he was entitled to everything and everything he did was right. He wasn’t evil – just a man who became a villain through his circumstances.

Well, throw all that garbage away for this remake – in this version he’s straight-up cool with murder right from the beginning. He’s a sadist and a psychopath who’s calmed down by thoughts of pain and violence and bloodshed. His complexity is stripped away to give us a very basic villain. They do give him a backstory as though to explain all of this, making him a war veteran, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that the animated adaption gave us a villain who was fascinating and complex at best and funny at least, and this adaption gave us something much simpler.

Speaking of Gaston’s backstory, furthermore, backstories seem to be pretty par for the course for this film. Belle is given a backstory involving her mother that really doesn’t add anything to the film and is actually just somewhat distracting from the plot. There are hints of a subplot involving the Beast and his father, and as interesting as I initially found that, it really isn’t explored.

And in my opinion, the Beast really wasn’t written well in this film either. The Beast from the original adaption might just be my favourite character in all of Disney. He was a hero, but he was incredibly flawed. He was a spoiled brat with a temper problem, but he still had a conscience – he just acted out because he was terribly unhappy and had an incredibly low self-esteem. He was a character who is immediately recognizable to anyone who has dealt with issues of mental illness. And in this version, he’s mostly just a dick. A lot of his more humanizing moments, ones where he’s incredibly low, to the point of being actually suicidal, are either much more understated or written out entirely. His moments of guilt regarding his behaviour are, again, either written out, or Dan Stevens really could not emote at all through that CGI. And there’s a running joke throughout the film where the Beast mocks Belle for her taste in literature that really comes across as belittling to me – but maybe that’s just because the Beast in the original was just so enthralled with her reading.

And overall, I just found that, with the exception of Lefou, I didn’t care about these characters as much as I cared about them in the original. Though the film had more time to explore these characters, they instead decided to spend this time on unnecessary backstories or songs that were written out of the original film for a reason.

Now, to be fair, there were a few things about this film that I liked. I’ve mentioned Lefou a few times, and that’s because Josh Gad really did present a great performance, and the writers did make him more complex than he was in the original (not that that was all too difficult, considering he was barely a sidekick in the original). As far as representation of a gay character goes, he wasn’t stereotypical or offensive or anything like that – though I don’t really know why he earns the title of First Gay Character in Disney when it could have gone just as easily to Winnie the Pooh or Piglet (considering their relationship to one another), or Hugo from the Hunchback of Notre Dame (who has a romance with a male goat), or Ryan Evans from High School Musical (considering actor’s speculations), or a million other characters who are just as likely to be the First Gay Character as Lefou is. No official statements are made in regard to it – there are just a lot of heavy hints, enough that it can’t really be denied, but not that it’s anything really new or spectacular for Disney.

And there were a few things about the visuals that I really enjoyed. The 17th century French aesthetic was beautiful and felt somehow unique – especially considering they actually allowed a Disney prince (a character who is supposed to be read as masculine enough to be attractive to the general audience of heterosexual cis-women) to wear make-up. And I’d love to see the film again not in 3D, just because I felt that the 3D blurred the sets quite a bit, making it difficult to say for sure that the sets were beautiful. Personally, I found some of Disney’s other live action films, including Cinderella and Maleficent, more visually stunning, which is disappointing because the original Beauty and the Beast is magnificently animated, but I can’t say that it was a complete let-down.

But overall, there is just one glaring problem with this movie, and that is the fact that it is a remake. Not all remakes are bad obviously – even Disney has produced some pretty good live action remakes recently. I liked Cinderella, I liked Maleficent, I liked the Jungle Book, but all of those movies are remakes of much older movies. Writing styles and audience expectations have changed since the time when these movies came out originally, and therefore there were little character tweaks and plot developments that could be made. Maleficent could be turned into a grey-area character rather than a straight-out villain. The stepmother and the prince in Cinderella could be developed better. And societal views about the ‘primitive’ Indian jungle have changed since 1967. But our society’s expectations around writing haven’t actually changed all that much since 1991 – or, at least, Beauty and the Beast wasn’t as outdated as the other films that have been remade. And to a certain extent, that does make this film sort of pointless. Why do we need another Beauty and the Beast, clogged up with pointless scenes and unnecessary alterations, when the first one is still perfectly fine?

And as much as I’ve complained about this film (and trust me, there’s still more I can say), I wouldn’t call it a complete waste of time. I’m glad I saw it. I needed to see it, considering how much I love the original. And I won’t deny that my love of the original might just cloud my opinion of the remake – as you can tell from my review, as I was repeatedly comparing the two movies. The only reason why this movie fails, in my opinion, is that it was already done better. Otherwise, this might be a perfectly serviceable adaption of the fairy tale. So if you want to see it, you won’t be wasting your time. You just won’t be watching an improvement on the story.

Disney Princess Movie Reviews: The Little Mermaid

Part of reviewing Disney’s fourth princess movie, the 1989 animated classic the Little Mermaid, involves admitting my history with the film. Because when I was a little girl, the Little Mermaid was my favourite Disney film (may or may not have been tied with Peter Pan, and it would later be replaced by Pocahontas, but more on that later).

I wanted to be Ariel. My family still tells stories about me as a snot-nosed three-year-old obnoxiously trying to sing like her, stuffing both of my legs into the same pants leg so that I could pretend to be a mermaid. Because a big part of my obsession with this movie has to do with my lifelong obsession with mermaids that started at a very young age (partially due to the Little Mermaid, partially due to a little-known horror film called She Creature that I also watched obsessively as a child). My love of this movie may or may not be responsible for the fact that I would later start dying my hair bright red and haven’t been able to stop since – who knows? All that I’m trying to say is that this movie impacted the little girl who first saw it.

But I’m twenty-two now. My tastes have changed, I’m a bit more mature, a bit more critically minded; how do I feel about it now?

To be honest, I still sort of love it. Not for any specific, intelligent reason that I can discern – in fact, I don’t really know why I do (besides the fact that I’m still obsessed with mermaids). What is it about this movie that has kept me coming back after all these years?

Could it be the villain? Because when I think about this movie, Ursula is one of the first things that comes to my mind. Once again, Disney has made use of the figure of a wicked woman for their villain, but there’s just something fabulous and wonderful about her. I remember hearing that Ursula was inspired by the famous drag queen Divine, and my first thought was that that makes total sense. Ursula perfectly captures the personality of the stereotypical drag queen performance, the overall big-ness. And unlike the last three female villains, Ursula is not necessarily a woman with power. She’s a witch, yes, but she lives on the outskirts of society, banished for reasons that I still really want to find out. She has no influence over anyone, unlike the Evil Queen of Snow White, the stepmother who rules with an iron fist in Cinderella, and the castle-dwelling fairy who demands respect from even the monarchy in Sleeping Beauty. Though a small change, it does a great deal in altering the message that woman should not be given power lest they misuse it and hurt someone that could be read into the prior films. In fact, the argument could even be made that Ursula acts as she does directly because she has been robbed of her power by the King, as we never really know why she was banished from society in the first place. Her cruelty might actually be a desperate attempt to seize back the power that was taken from her.

And if this moral can’t be read into Ursula, it most certainly can be read into Ariel. Ariel who quite literally loses her voice, her ability to communicate and stand up for herself, and in the process loses everything. It isn’t until she takes her voice back and once again gains the ability to speak that she is able to fix the mess that has become of her life. Though most of this is on the metaphoric level, a lot of it seems to be indicating a message that women need to have their own voice. They need to have power in their own personal lives if they are ever going to find happiness. That’s why I don’t mind the changes that this movie makes to the fairy tale – the unhappy ending works brilliantly for a Christian tale, but when you take the Christianity out of it (as Disney does) you need to replace it with something, and a message about girls shaping their own future as opposed to leaving it in the hands of their fathers or lovers is as good as any.

But I have heard a lot of people argue that this movie is actually incredibly sexist, claiming that the story is all about how women should have to change to get a man because Ariel trades in her tail and her family for legs and a husband. Personally, however, I never quite saw this in the movie, mostly because… well, Ariel wants to be human before she even meets Prince Eric. It’s her defining trait, the thing that makes her different from everyone else in her kingdom. Heck, she even sings Part of Your World before laying eyes on him! Eric just becomes a part of this great, big package that she already wanted. So the way I see it, she isn’t sacrificing her tail and family for a man, she sacrificing them for the life she always wanted, the life that she thinks will make her happy, the way that real people without fins will sacrifice things for the arts, or to live in a specific city, or go to a certain school. The deal just becomes a little sweeter when you throw love in there as well. And, to be honest, as a writer I can completely relate to the longing to reach a world that everyone and everything around you tells you you can’t. A mermaid can’t walk on land, and I can’t make a living off of creating fictional stories off my life. So maybe I just like to watch Ariel prove them all wrong.

And I’ve also heard some people state that the Little Mermaid can be read as a metaphor for life as a transgender person – being born in a body that you’re dissatisfied with, longing to be able to change, not being accepted by your old-school father because of it. And, personally, I think that any story that is able to resonate with people in that way is awesome.

So now that I’m a grown-up person, maybe I love the Little Mermaid based off a bit more than just the fact that Ariel’s pretty and I want to be a mermaid. I don’t entirely know if I’d still love it in the same way if I didn’t have that history, but fortunately I’ll never have to find out. I can just spend my life sitting in front of the TV and singing along with Ariel about how I long to be part of her world.