While people can fairly argue that Ariel might be one of the least feminist of the Disney princesses, especially given the badassery of the princesses that followed, one woman is using Ariel's narrative to empower people who might not realize their own rights. Shon Faye, a graduated law student, analyzed the legal situation of The Little Mermaid down to every last impressive detail, showing just how differently things might have gone if Ariel had been informed of her rights in her situation with Ursula. (Bustle has reached out to Faye for comment, and will update upon hearing back.) In fact, if King Triton had sat his daughter down and had a brief discussion or two about the ramifications of legally-binding contracts instead of just flinging his trident around at stuff and making a mess, nobody would have gotten into this mess.
Faye, a comic and writer from London, tackled the specifics of the contract that Ariel signed exchanging her voice for her legs. In the movie, we don't get that much of a glance of it — mostly just scary words like "for all ETERNITY" (which should have been a tip-off that something bad was afoot, TBH). But we don't need much context of what the contract says to see the holes in it. Here's the scene, in case your '90s brain needs a refresher:
And here is Faye's legal work, where she basically ripped Ursula to shreds.
She ends this beautiful PSA with the mic drop line, "ALWAYS GET INDEPENDENT LEGAL ADVICE" — which in both Ariel's case and in real life, is a testament to just how easy it is for people to be taken advantage of by the system when they aren't made aware of their rights. This is especially relevant in a week like this one, where reports of "Text Your Vote" fraud targeting Clinton supporters and reports of voter intimidation are popping up as we loom closer to the president election on Nov. 8. The case of Ariel highlights just how important it is to make sure you are all 360 degrees of informed in a decision, even one that has already been made.
“Ariel was always my favorite Disney princess. I always strongly identified with her, probably because we’re both trans women,” Faye said to BuzzFeed. “I mean, I’m just transgender, whereas I guess Ariel is trans-species, but you know, getting here wasn’t an easy ride for either of us!”
Can we just have Disney hire Faye to serve as a lawyer on retainer for all the Disney princesses? We'd probably have a lot fewer kids locked in towers and moms turned into bears, TBH. JUST SAYING.