Hello Moms! I'm in need of quick advice. My four year old received a belated b-day gift today- The Little Mermaid DVD. We are very strict about what we allow her to watch. She didn't watch a lick of T.V. before she turned 2, and then she got to watch 15 minutes of Clifford every so often. Now she watches one show per day from PBS, either Curious George, Clifford, or Dragontales, and that's it. I feel pretty strongly about not exposing her to anything that projects women in giddy-I-can't-wait-to-find-my-prince roles, not to mention the gross misrepresentation of what a real woman's body looks like.
So, I'm not interested in having my mind changed about the pros and cons of Disney. I am interested in hearing from like-minded moms and what they think of the movie the Little Mermaid, since she's of course dying to watch it now- or to be exact, as soon as she gets up from quiet time!!
Wow! What an amazing response! I actually did not have my mind made up when I posted my request; in fact, I was desperately hoping to be convinced that the movie was all right. Sometimes it's hard to be the mom and make unpopular decisions, even if it feels right in your heart. At the time of the post, I felt I needed to make an immediate decision (that weak parenting moment when you don't want your child to cry!)and so I thought I might hear from someone who either said, "I'm right in line with your thinking and NO, it's not okay," or "I'm right in line with your thinking, and I actually think this movies IS okay." Thank you, Yvonne, who was one of the first to respond, for giving me the nudge to do what felt right. And extra kudos to her for being able to give sage advice even though she didn't really agree with me! That takes real thoughtfulness.
I ended up talking with my daughter and explaining that Mommy and Daddy make decisions about what is appropriate for 4 year olds and what is not appropriate, together,and that we had not had a chance to discuss it yet. I also explained that sometimes our choices would make her happy, and sometimes they would make her sad. Her response was, "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit!" And that was it. After discussing it with my husband that night, we decided to allow her watch a few selected scenes, on occasion. As many of you suggested, watching it myself was the most obvious route to go, which I also ended up doing.
I have to say that I was surprised by some of your responses, because they seemed quite hostile! You would think I was restricting the use of a winter hat in cold weather or something! I have many many reasons for feeling the way I do about the quantity and quality of TV my kids watch, and it is my right to have those convictions. It is also your right to have your own opinions, and I respect that, even if I disagree. We each are just trying to do the right thing, and that is not always going to look the same. As moms we shouldn't be in the business of judging one another, just offering up our own experiences and being open to the interpretations and perspectives of others.
Food for thought: children are incredibly imaginative when given the time, space, and respect to do so. My girls play dress up (mostly princess!!)constantly. They sing non-stop. They use their imaginations to play all kinds of things. And they have managed this with very limited input from TV. Consider this:
"Dr de Roeper’s findings are in accord with the comments of other researchers. Former Adelaide Thinker-in-Residence and neuroscientist Baroness Professor Susan Greenfield, in her 2003 book Tomorrow’s People, notes that books alone can foster and tap into our imagination, while a paper published by the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Public Education in the journal Pediatrics (vol. 107, 2001) refers to research indicating that children exposed to “light screens” (televisions, computers, interactive games) do not build the sensory pathways that enable imagination and creativity in the same way as those whose early learning has been through the spoken and written word.
“For example, we don’t need to use our imagination to picture the fantasy character Yoda when watching the film Star Wars, but if we are told a story about a wise old person with pointy ears, we have to use our brain in order to build a mental picture. It seems that the exercise of hearing words and then having to turn those words into pictures helps children to extend and reinforce the neural network in their brains. I am keen to explore this area further with researchers working in the neurological field,” Dr de Roeper said."
I looked for research that said that age appropriate TV assisted imagination. Surprise surprise. All I could find was research that was done by, you guessed it, the television industry. I am very happy that so many of you have little girls who have been inspired by Disney; it's your choice! Glad it worked for you!
Many of you were concerned about sheltering my four year old. Absolutely. That's my job. I shelter her from what is inappropriate, a boundary that is shifting and changing as she grows. In addition, some of you were worried about me making these decisions for her, because she needs to form her own opinions and make her own choices. Yes, she does need to do that. That's why she gets to make a multitude of choices all day long that are appropriate for her age; it is another area that continues to shift, change, and expand as she develops.
I agreed with everyone who suggested that is the parents who teach their children morals and values, not TV. What does it say, however, if I teach that our family values every woman's intelligence, worth, and body, yet I surround her with messages contrary to those values. It's hypocritical, and I won't do it. I also agreed with the gal who said that watching one Disney movie isn't going undo what I've taught her, which is exactly why she is being allowed to watch it in doses, and at some point will be allowed to see it in its entirety.
Media was very much restricted when I was a child, and yes, I had some very envious moments, and as I responded to one person, I am the WORST Trivial Pursuit player in the world!! Sweets were also limited, as was eating out, and getting new toys (just Christmas and birthdays). I'm not as restrictive as my parents were, but I have to tell you, I am incredibly thankful for the lessons they taught me. I learned that I didn't have to be doing what everyone else was doing to feel good about myself. I learned that I could wait for gratification, rather than giving in to immediate gratification. I learned to value experiences over material goods. I learned not to be defined by my possessions. And my playtime was spent doing imaginative things with my friends for hours on end, as opposed to watching imaginative things for hours on end. As an adult I am proud that when I go to coffee with my friends I don't spend an hour discussing television shows. I talk about real issues, real feelings, real experiences. Yeah, TV can be a springboard to those things, but like everything, it seems moderation isn't such a bad thing. So, some of you are able to do all of the things I just listed, all the while watching lots of TV, that's great! That's what works for you, so be it!
Well, I guess I 'll end my long-winded "so what happened." If anyone actually reads it.: ) In short, my daughter is only 4, she has plenty of time to see scary things, see big-boobed animated women (doesn't that sound, just wrong?) and in time decide if she wants to have the tv on all the time (in her own house, though!). In the meantime, I'll continue to take her ballets, musicals, concerts, and encourage her creative play at home. We'll keep going to the zoo, the library, the museum, etc. and I'll keep answering her questions and encouraging her to answer them herself. If that's sheltering her, well, I guess we just have to agree to disagree.
I think the Little Mermaid is just fine. My daughter loves, and I means loves Ariel. I have chosen to pick my battles. She loves the Bratz dolls as well, which I don't necessary care for but if I tell her no then she will just want it more. Just like foul language, drinking and other adult things kids need to understand that some people do and it and others do not. They need to know that that kind of stuff is out there and they need to be taught to make the right decision and not just kept away from it.
i see this has been resolved, however i just wanted to mention that i remember seeing he Little Mermaid first when i was a babysitter at about 12 yrs old. I LOVED it, especially the music and i bought the soundtrack.
however, having seen it again recently, it irked me more than any other disney movie. ariel wants to change everything about herself to get a man.
from personal experience i must say that i loved to dream about things like this, AND they affected me in such a negative way and took more than a decade to get past this way of thinking.
To go from PBS to The Little Mermaid, NO!! She has an inch thick waist, big boobs and sells her voice to a sea witch to get legs so the prince will fall in love with her.
Yeah the music is great and there is some humor but along with that it's all about a woman doing ANYTHING to get the guy! YUCK!
Stick with Clifford and those PBS shows for as long as you can. Goodluck!
Well i totally agree with the body image thing I myself am not your skinny size 2 i am a healthy 16. i have a 2 1/2 year old daughter and want her to have a healthy body image. As for the movie i dont think that in this one the little mermaid is "waiting for her prince to save her" senerio. She fights against the sea witch and she swims very strongly through the water to save HIM. most of the princesses in the disney stories in my opinion are the ones that do the saving, cinderella overcoming the meaness her stepmother and sister treat her with,jasmin beats the evil jafar and tells her father who SHE wants to marry. This is just my opinion about the movies good luck with what you decided.
When I took my oldest daughter to see the original at the theater, I told everyone it was the best movie I had seen that year. The music is fabulous, at the time the animation was something to behold...However, my daughter didn't appreciate it nearly as much as I did. (There are adult jokes and scary scenes.)
Wasn't there a study that proved a child's imagination was just as active when watching age appropriate programs as when they read a book?
I found with my four kids (19-8) that playing while watching is a good compromise. Play sets or dress up items related to the story stored in the viewing area encourage that. I like my kids to be physically active (we coach, etc.) but I also love the arts and all my children love live theater and we are season ticket holders. Musical and visual entertainment is essential to happiness. (In my opinion.)
Sorry to tell you, my oldest daughter wanted to watch Cinderella over and over again and youngest daughter watches Animal Planet almost exclusively. There is no accounting for taste.
(What I dislike most about t.v. is advertising which can be addressed with technology. Even PBS has some questionable ads.)
Kids are born with unique personalities and while environment does influence them it cannot erase a romantic heart.
I once donated all t.v. and related equipment to charity and we did without for a year, exactly. We read and listened to stories on tape, but I ended up being in favor of the evil t.v. after our family experiment. You should just research and balance the information you find against your personal convictions.
You'll learn how to compromise or drive yourself crazy. I started motherhood with all white furniture and new construction and swearing to never allow white bread or Koolaid and have ended up with dark, durable fabrics on my sofas and one set of grandparents who managed to upset my nutritional goals in one meal...your kids will get the fact that mom approves of active people and not couch potatos but try your best not to be hypervigilant. Life is too short. There is a lot to be said for laughing and singing together about a program you're watching.
I LOVE the Little Mermaid! It was my favorite movie when i was a little girl. Bleave me I am no size 2 or even a 10 for that matter. To tell you the truth when I watched it when I was a kid I never even thought about that. The movie to me was about this girl who everybody wanted her to do and be what they wanted her to be. But she followed her heart and was the kind of person she wated to be. As far as the movie being violent when the witch is killed, it is not and i am the most squimish person you will ever meet. I do understand your worries but I really don't think this movie would have that kind of negative effect on her. Just a sugestion if you haven't watched it yet maybe you should watch it with out her and see what you think. If you still don't want her to watch it don't let her. Get her a different movie to be excited about, one that you approve of. Hope all goes well.
I'm personally not against television, my daughter I feel gets plenty of time with other activities and enjoys sitting down and resting from time to time. She loves the movie Little Mermaid, it's one of her three favorites! I thought some parts might be scary for her, and she does get really animated during those parts, but I think every program and every movie has a lesson, even if it seems like it doesn't to us. My daughter has mermaid toys and that's the movie that started her "singing", which she now does all the time. I'd say for someone who wants to restrict viewing time, the movie might be too long and a little scary, since it sounds like she hasn't watched a lot of similar programs. I personally believe that we can shelter our children from unrealistic views, but only for so long, they will be exposed somehow, somday. And what better place to introduce unfamiliar situations than at home, where we can explain things to them and yield their questions, right? Not trying to change your mind, just offering an opinion. Do what's right for your family, mom always knows best!
i'd say, you're only a child once with that euphoric feeling from watching a cartoon movie with singing like that. i think little mermaid is ok, since it shows how strong she is to stand up to the bad guy, for something/somone thats important to her. plus the songs are great, and it has some cool characters for kids. its hard when they start having their own minds lol.
Oh my, I am so blown away here. Did you have restricted TV growing up? My kids have never had restricted TV time. I do, however, restrict what they watch. If I don't like it enough to watch myself, it isn't watched and they know to change the channel even before I have to say so. Our TV is on all day, every day and my kids are fine. My son is in the advance classes at school and my daughter starts next year right on tract for her age, perhaps a little ahead, we will see when they test her. So it obviously hasn't effected their intelligence. Just because the TV is on doesn't mean they are watching it either. They both love to read and sometimes they bring their toys out and play with them instead of watching TV.
Personally, The Little Mermaid was my favorite movie when I was a kid. All the kids at school played the movie as a game. When weren't thinking "I need to find my prince to be happy" or "I need to be that skinny to be happy" I really don't understand any of this image issues everyone feels comes from media, tv, movies, etc. It is issues CAUSED ONLY by peers and those around them. If you have a good respect for your body and not constantly saying "I'm fat" "I'm ugly" than your daughters will be fine. My daughter watches all those princess movies and she is fine. I was having problems with her not thinking she was pretty and when I thought about it it came down to her watching me say I'm not pretty, which I stopped and we remind her more that she is gorgeous. All little girls want to be princesses and that is normal and OKAY! To be a princess means so much, plus they get to dress up and what girl doesn't like to dress up. I wish I could dress up more often. :P
Oh and some Disney movies actually have good moral stories behind them and some are stories that have been around for hundreds of years.
Watch it with her, laugh, sing, and dance along with the movie because that is what she will want to do. Don't let her focus on negatives ever, movies or real life.
I see that this issue is resolved but I wanted to just say a quick word of encouragement.
You are absolutely doing the right thing and for women in society's sake I wish more moms thought about and took responsibility for what their girls are exposed to. There are too many stupid, self absorbed young girls out there dressing like prostitutes and rock stars. I say this even as I am a left wing liberal who works in family planning. I am not a regligious fanatic or on a moral high horse. Women and young girls are constantly demeaning themselves and selling themselves short. I strongly believe that we all should take the responsibility to find any way we can break the influence of unrealistic role models and instead instill the self love and esteem in our girls that will help them be independant and strong, smart women. Major kudos to you for standing up in the face of unpopularity and doing what you believe is right for your daughter!
For you = Little Mermaid NOT OK (based on the reasons you listed)
For your daughter + You =
Little Mermaid not OK - crying = a double thumbs down on it.
Kids adjust and bounce back easily. Take the movie back to the store and help her to pick out a new one that's OK with you. She may express disappointment, but it will pass quickly. The "Little People" movies are awsome. She'd probably enjoy one of those especially if she's been playing with Little People toys over the past few years.
I won't let my 4-year-old watch it yet either. I find the impalement scene (with the witch and the ship through the gullet) really pretty horrifying. Add that to the princess/prince sacrifice all for your man thing and it'll likely be a very long time before my daughter sees that particlar gem. (And, in the interest of full disclosure, I love Disney movies and would spend all vacations in Disneyland if possible... but that's my grown-up craziness.)
Our family has a television, but all viewing is up to the grown-ups, as we have no cable or television reception.
You are the mom. It is entirely up to you how much you want to expose your child to the unrealistic expectations that popular culture foists upon kids today. I grew up with restricted television, too. Only PBS and only in the afternoon. No cable television until I went off to college. And thus far I think it worked out to my benefit, but that is really an individual thing as far as families go. Heck, most of the kids I grew up with had cable and watched MTV. So I was definitely an odd one out, and I'll wager my kids will be out of the loop as far as pop culture goes, too. Not the end of the world by any means.
Sure, someday she might get all princess-obsessed and want to be a Disney princess. But you can certainly keep that at bay for as long as possible. And when it does come up, discuss with your daughter how it's more important to be a good person than to look like a Disney heroine (or a Barbie, for that matter).
By all means, encourage imaginative play. But that doesn't mean you have to compromise your family's values and show your daughter something you don't approve of.
Your child. Your values. Your decision. Be strong.
i think the movie is ok. the music and songs are great, and it doesn't just portray her and a damsel in distress. it shows her as an independant woman who is trying to do what makes her happy dispite everyone else trying to drag her down.
My daughter is three, and The Little Mermaid is her FAVORITE movie! And yes, she only gets to watch it on special occasions, and with me. I don't agree with sticking her in front of the T.V. by herself yet, but that's just me.
We watch it together, and talk about emotions, what's "silly" ect. I do, however, fast forward through a part in the beginning where they are being chased by a shark. She's only seen it once and it kind of freaked her out, so we leave that part out.
I say watch it by yourself one night after she goes to bed and decide what would work best for your family.
BRAVO! I would just like to let you know how great of a thing it is you are doing. I do not allow the TV on for my daughter either. Now that she is in school I let her pick one movie to watch on the weekend (and only a G rated one) provided she gets all of her homework done and in on time.
The female image thing is something that she will learn from you, watching one disney movie every now and again will not distroy everything you are trying to convey to her.
My issue with movies has always been the violence level in them. I mean the first time I let my daughter watch "Bug's Life" when she was 3 she freaked out cause Hopper hit someone, and it is NEVER ok to hit. So until recently (she is nearly 6 now) all she had to choose from was Dora and Fraggle Rock and Mister Rogers and Sesame Street DVD's. And we do not have TV stations on our TV... Infact when we move next month I am not even going to take the TV with us. We can watch the occasional movie on the computer.
TV takes away from kids ability to have an imagination of their own.
Keep up the good work! It is good to know there actually are moms out there with a like mind.
The little mermaid is a story of good vs. evil and a young girl caught in between Ariel's father who is very strict and does not want her going to the human world or near anything to do with it and the sea witch that wants to be in control of the ocean. Ariel disobeys her father and goes human watching where she falls in love with Prince Eric The sea witch realizes this and uses it as her opportunity when Triton finds out he destroys Ariel's collection of human objects (btw Ariel saves the prince's life) Ariel is very distraught and therefore easily convinced to ask the sea witch for legs. and she is given three days to get the prince to fall in love with her and kiss her when the sea witch realizes that they really do love each other she uses Ariel's voice to put a spell on Eric that causes him to ask the sea witch in disguise to marry him. Ariel figures this out and goes after them. with the help of friends she breaks the spell and gets her voice back but too late the sun sets and ursala takes her triton trades his power to ursela for ariel's freedom and the prince and ariel battle ursela together and win Father and Daughter both learn the errors of what they did and triton allows Ariel to become human.
Thats the story it is not very damsel in distress Ariel is in sea shells in the begining and then full dress the rest of the time. she is supposed to be sixteen she does not have over sized breasts and I do not believe she is too skinny. I hope this helps you make a decision I let my daughter watch it but I am not as strict with movies I don't let her watch tv though I do not like the crude humor that is actually for adults but is put in children's movies so I like to screen them ahead of time so if you really want to know before opening it you can rent it and watch it alone too. but I feel this movie is alot of fun and really cute and my daughter loves to sing the songs with good luck and maybe give it a try.
I just have one small suggestion. Why don't you sit down after your kids are asleep one night and watch it yourself. Then you can make a better judgement based on your views and values. If you feel that strongly about restricted TV, you really should be watching things in advance yourself and not just taking others opinions. Just a thought.
I was a child development major in school and like you I'm not very fond of what and how we teach girls/women to be. I admire all your efforts to protect your children from such grossness. On the flip side of that I think that for the most part if she doesn't watch a lot of those message then it's not going to impact her that much, at least not to the point that you're concerned about. I also firmly believe that if you talk about those things it helps to take away such impact. For example I have a 5 year old little boy. He does watch saturday morning cartoons with those damn commercials that want to sell him all the bad food and toys that last for about 10 minutes and then get put in a corner because they really do suck, despite what the commercial says. So what my husband and I have done is talk about what the Companies that put those out there are trying to do, bottom line is get your money. We talk about 'being sold' on things that you don't really want or need. So I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you talk about the 'issues' I think it helps tremendously.
Exchanging the movies is a great idea! It takes care of the issue for now. But what about later, when she's older and begins to make choices of her own?
I respect your decision to limit your daughter's exposure to films that project project women in "giddy-I can't-wait-to-find-my-prince roles." I just wonder if you've considered how you will handle that once she's in school and all her friends are watching these delightful make believe movies. She's already received one as a gift. This will happen more and more.
Wow... your simple question looks like it could be an all out war. I know you have resolved your issue but I would like to say this. When in doubt, sit down with your hubby after the kids go to bed and watch it yourself. A thread like this HERE is a hard thing to get objectavly. What is ok for one family is not always ok for another.
PERSONALLY I'm not one for sheltering my girl unless its beyond her age and un-ruly. i.e, I don't even know if its still on, but I had a hard time with my cousins watching Rugrats, among a list of reasons was Angelica the "toddler" always calling the others Stupid Babies. Not cool. Not necessary. Not in my house. At this age, those are the battles I choose.
I'm sorry you got attacked, I didn't read through the responses, but I saw it coming just reading your request. I am new here and I will be curious to see how strongly people push there agendas, beyond simple advice. Thats not something I am interested in.
SORRY ABOUT THE TANGENT! LOL I do that sometimes! :(
Anyway, my point was..... You have to make your own call, pop some popcorn, curl up on the couch and enjoy.
For me... NOTHING disney is off limits, its a personal and honestly EMOTIONAL choice for my hubby and I. Disney has been a part of my life since my very first memory, my 20 month old has already been to disneyland twice. I have been at least once a year since I was 3. For us its beyond entertainment is it part of our life and it will be part of hers, but thats MY choice.
This is such a hard one ... We also tried hard to keep Jeremiah away from TV and Disney and all the marketing-to-kids that goes along with it. The challenge is that eventually they do grow up and become aware of the world outside and have a desire to experience it (though at 4, parents still need to be gatekeepers). Movies and TV Programs are going to be something they are dying to view because they are made specifically to appeal to their age group (and they're made in order to make money, let's not forget!)
I think you need to use your best judgement in terms of the content she watches (as you have been), but it looks like you're coming up to that dreadful time when your daughters personal interests diverge from your own (again, she's 4, so she isn't her own boss yet!) We kept our son from toy guns or anything violent, and yet at 8 years old he's all about playing army guys and camoflage and the whole bit. We've decided to respect his own unique interests, even though I CRINGE (inwardly) when he shows off all the billion gun sounds he can make.
I personally find the variety of animated kid movies entertaining, even the Disney ones, though they're not my first choice. My biggest complaint about Disney? The glorification of fathers. Now, dads are fantastic people, don't get me wrong, but I don't see the need for there to be such male hero-worship in so many of their films, alongside so many 'evil stepmothers' and 'evil witches'. From Mulan to The Lion King, Cinderella to Sleeping Beauty, Aladdin, Atlantis, Chicken Little, etc. ... the main focus is on men, with women taking a supporting role or being the representation of 'evil'. There are strong girl characters in Disney films, but the underlying theme is generally not about being strong and intelligent for your own sake. Even though Mulan is a strong girl character, it's all about bringing pride to her father. Little Mermaid has a dad but no mom. Beauty (of 'and the Beast) has a dad but no mom. I could go on, but I'll step off my soapbox :)
Best of luck navigating the world with your little ones. Sometimes I just wanted to move to a field in the middle of nowhere and raise my son in a Little House on the Prarie world. Alas, that's hard to do! :)
PS: I'll also do a little shout out to Shrek ... though definitely for OLDER kids/adults, Princess Fiona is the first 'plus-size' princess in a film, to my knowledge! Bravo!
Kuddos to you for your belief and conviction. We have not had TV (we have a television just not cable - hence no channels) since my son was born(7 now)and my daughter was 3. My children are fine with that and actually have a better ability to entertain themselves. We monitor what they watch and how much they watch a day. Even though my daughter is now 10 and can watch "older" shows she is not allowed to until we view them first to make sure they are ok. My son can not watch too many movies higher than G because they still effect him. There are even some G movies that my children aren't allowed to watch. My children handle the situations fine when presented with them by school mates. If they don't know why they can't watch a particular movie they talk to us and we explain to them our reasonings and then they are ok with that.
I think since you are the parent you have the right to choose what your daughter can watch and at what age it is appropriate.
Good luck with your decisions.
Sounds like you're doing just fine! Personally, I never liked the whole "giddy, prince will save me" idea, in any movie, but as someone pointed out on your reply page...she'll learn most of her attitudes about men, relationships and the like from you.
So...watch it yourself, and decide what you want her to see.
And fyi...I loved this flick. I saw it first when I was 16, and I know most of the songs by heart!
There is a lot of disney I don't like due to rudeness, crude humour (Shrek) and the like. A lot of it is NOT appropriate for children in my opinion. I think you should follow your values no matter what. The other option is to watch it with your child and talk to her about the movie while watching it and telling her about your values when things happen. I occasionally do that if there is a movie I can't talk them out of. Of course, there are some movies they will NEVER watch.
We limited what our kids watched quit a bit also, but mostly for language, violence, and that sort of thing. My kids didn't really have that much interest in T.V. growing up, because we were always too busy with activities to have T.V. eat up so much of our lives. My thoughts on the "Disney" portrayal of women, yah it's stupid and offensive most of the time, however if you watch it with her and continue to teach her the values that you have about women than she is sure to come out unscathed after a few viewings. It's harder on a kid I think to be so sheltered from everything especially when all of her other friends are talking about it. Kids tend to get resentful if there is to much prohibiting going on, and besides they don't learn much about life that way. How is she going to learn to interact with people in the real world, if she has no basis for comparison, or has not learned to formulate her own opinions about things. Rather than prohibit, find the good message in the movie and teach her that, I'm sure you can find something good about the "Little Mermaid". You could also, find the book in the libarary, and read her the original, and compare and contrast it. Have fun exploring life together, I did with mine, and I have two of the nicest, well adjusted, independent thinking, intelligent kids on the planet.
ok, so I never quite understood why my other parent-friends restricted animated (I don't say Disney, because Shrek is not Disney) movies for their little ones. You list your reasons very well, but I always taught my kids right from wrong and the morals that I want them to carry around with them... I did not pop in a movie and tell them to learn it from there. (This is one reason why I don't like veggie-tales or similar) I have one friend that won't let her children watch Mermaid because there is a witch in it. One that won't let her kids watch it because it's a mermaid, therefore unrealistic... come on! Another who says that it shows that it's ok for a child to rebel against their parents! I say it's a cartoon and therefore just entertainment. It's a parent's job to decipher what a child should grasp out of a cartoon. If you don't agree with it, don't let her watch it, but I say go to the library or borrow from someone if you don't want to open the one you have for returning purposes and watch it to decide.
With that said, I LOVE The Little Mermaid and have since it first came out. I was 11. I have watched it yearly AT LEAST since then, and I have the soundtrack and listen to that regularly despite my boys protests! I'm actually very excited that now that I have a girl I can share my love for Ariel and her story with her when she's a bit older. (she's only an infant now so no tv!) I even have toys that I have collected, dolls and such to pass on to her!
I hope you get to share The Little Mermaid with your daughter, but ultimately it's your choice, maybe just put it away for when she's older. :)
As far as image of a womans body she is going to see women that look like for lack of better words a blow up doll. She will see it in the stores on Barbie in the toy section and women in the store. I have a 6 year old daughter and she has never said anything about her body or anyone elses. Barbie and Ariel have boobs and so do we. If she sais something about it use it as education letting her know that someday she will also have them. I watched movies like that and it never impacted me in any way nor has it my daughter. . As far as prince charming let her know your husband is yours and she can see things are not like the cartoons. Hope this helps.
My daughter loves it, and it does have AWESOME music, but you may want to think twice. It does show Ariel as independant (SHE actually saves her PRINCE twice!) but at the same time shows the typical Disney body-type, and sends a pretty clear message that Ariel's world revolves around her prince. It also does have one somewhat scary scene at the end, if your daughter is sensitive to that. I would say either exchange it, or watch it yourself first to make sure you approve. Props to you for sticking by your standards!