Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Calm Down, The Little Mermaid Still Has Red Hair..

There's a lot of commotion at the moment over the recently released trailer for the new Little Mermaid movie. Apparently many people are annoyed that the flesh and blood human playing the role doesn't look like the original cartoon character.

I'm misrepresenting things a little here. Obviously the reality is people on the left feel it's inclusive and uplifting to see a traditionally white role played by a black actress. Whereas people on the right feel it's yet more woke-ness and progressive politics being crowbarred into their culture.

Both sides have a point. Obviously inclusivity is good, however at the same time there is way too much politics in everything these days. Of course, most people don't care one way or another and just want to see a good movie, so the furore is much bigger on social media than it is in real life.

Anyway, what caught my eye when I came across the uproar was the red hair - as you'd expect. I'd heard somewhere before that the little mermaid was to be played by a black actress, and though I wasn't surprised to see the actress playing the part with red hair, I was surprised to see it look so natural. We've mentioned on here many times before that red hair (and gingerness in general) isn't exclusively a white thing. In fact, we've suggested the idea that red hair is more common in populations that aren't genetically homogenous. So to see the red hair as it appears out in the real world was impressive.

(a still from the trailer)

If we're talking about representation then people with darker skin tone and red hair really are a minority. In both real life and on the screen, so this is a rare sight visually. People are fixated on whether Ariel is black or white, but red hair was always her defining visual characteristic, so no one can really claim that this isn't true to form. (Though do these things really matter anyway. If the character looks cool and has the right feel who cares what colour palette is used.)

I don't think the actress Halle Bailey is naturally red-haired, but it looks very believable. I'm not here to judge the merits of the movie. These type of things really aren't my cup of tea, so I'm happy to let the sort of people who would normally watch a little mermaid movie judge the merits of the film. From an aesthetic point of view it gets my seal of approval though.

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