• Mon, Aug 20 2012

Ridiculous Little Mermaid Plastic Surgery Ad is Offensive to Women And Girls

Have you ever thought to yourself, “Man, I’d love to see a plastic surgery ad featuring a Disney princess character commonly marketed towards children. That would really make me want to go under the knife.” No? Me either. But apparently the people behind Clinica Dempere, a plastic surgery center in Venezuela, thought that would be just the thing to entice new customers to their practice. Check out their ad featuring Ariel of The Little Mermaid:

clinica dempere plastic surgery ad

The ad is problematic in so many ways. The depiction of the Little Mermaid jumping straight out of the ocean onto a plastic surgeon’s table, her face and torso covered in a sheet, is just plain creepy and sinister. And then the central image of the ad, a siliconed Ariel with boobs busting out of her dress, Janice Dickinson-esque lips, hiked-up eyebrows and super chiseled cheekbones, with her bright, shiny new legs behind her. It’s disturbing.

Not only does it infantilize women to advertise to them using a cartoon character for children, but this is also a highly dangerous message for young girls: the implication that getting plastic surgery is a “fairy tale come true.” There’s so, so much wrong with that, especially considering that Disney princess characters are already examples of pretty impossible beauty standards and feminine ideals (see also: the princessification of America’s little girls.) This ad takes the Little Mermaid story way, way too far: not only does Ariel have to fundamentally change herself (by acquiring legs) to get a man, but she also changes the rest of her appearance, just to be that much more perfect and attractive. I really resent what this ad is selling: plastic surgery as a dream, as an accomplishment, as something to wish for and aspire to.

Plastic surgery is not a fairy tale: it’s a expensive, invasive, often-dangerous procedure that people commonly undergo for absolutely no medical reason. I’m not saying that plastic surgery is wrong, but this type of advertising IS wrong. I guess Clinica Dempere is trying to be cute and creative, but the use of a Disney character in an ad for cosmetic surgery isn’t cute: it’s tacky, sad, and borderline unethical.

Photo: The Huffington Post

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  • Peter

    I can buy the idea that it may get the wrong message a step further from the already idealized and pretty sexist Disney Princess. However I’m pretty sure that the illustration of the mermaid want do describe a woman, be as far as It can be from a little girl, and by doing so avoid being sue for using a copyrighted representation character of a public domain tale like the little mermaid, wrote by Hans Christian Andersen. Besides, children will looks at this and say “ohh a mermaid” , the sexualitation is made by us adult who should teach them what right or wrong instead of waiting for the media to do it for us.

  • Urgh

    I knew this was going to be stupid… but I pressed anyway…

  • Dr. Branman

    My niece watched this movie years ago. I asked her to think back on what she thought. At 8 years old, her take was that she would have rather been in the ocean with her little friends. Now at 16, my niece defiantly states that Ariel should not have transformed herself for the sake of a man, but perhaps the change would be warranted if it had been to please herself. I wonder about the value of using a children’s story to advertise a service that requires a mature decision making process. I have to agree with my little niece. If you want cosmetic surgery, be sure you are doing it to please yourself.
    Dr. Branman