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Rhetorical Anaylisis

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In "Disney's sub/ version of Andersen's 'The Little Mermaid' " Roberta Trites argues that "Disney's changes result in characters, images, and conflicts that rob women of integrity, making the movie even more sexist than the original story "(1). Trites argues that the women in Hans Christian Andersen's original "Little Mermaid" have more important roles than those in the Disney film; those women do nothing. She also says that in the original story Ariel is on a mission to gain a soul for a longer life whereas in the Disney version Ariel is just looking to gain a mate (1). Trites also compares Disney's version when she talks about how Ariel never decides to flee to a solitary life; it seems as if she were leaving the protection of her father and replacing it with the protection of Prince Eric. In conclusion, Trites states "Walt Disney's 1989 film version of 'The Little Mermaid' eliminates the values that affirm femininity in the original story (1)." Why did Trites choose the word "femininity"? What does "femininity" actually mean? Does Trites use "femininity" correctly?

The first question we ask is what does femininity actually mean? Merriam-Webster describes femininity as "the quality or nature of the female sex; effeminacy, and lastly women or mankind." Is it true that Disney's version eliminates values that affirm femininity as Trites states? I have read both Trites article and Andersen's story. I agree with Trites and how this author uses the term "femininity" in her point. I also agree with the first point that Trites makes about how Disney's Ariel's quest is for a mate eliminates the value of Ariel's femininity while Andersen's mermaid quests for a soul affirms Ariel's value of femininity (Trites1).

In "Femininity" Susan Brownmiller states "femininity, in essence, is a romantic sentiment, a nostalgic tradition of imposed limitations" (1). She also goes on to say that "femininity always demands more. It must constantly reassure its audience by a willing demonstration of difference, even when one does not exist in nature or it must seize and embrace a natural variation and compose a rhapsodic symphony upon the notes" (1). Trites argues that Andersen's version highlights femininity while the film destroys the women's important roles (Trites1). Trites makes the point that in Andersen's version of "The Little Mermaid", the young mermaid looks to gain eternal life and human form while Ariel, the mermaid in the film, seems to forget about being independent and instead looks for a man to protect her, in this case her father, King Triton or Price Eric (Trites2). The evidence that Trites uses does indeed show that The Little Mermaid eliminates those values that affirm femininity.

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