Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Tumblr reinvents the mermaid myth

All illustrations used with permission from the artists. Individual credit links in the article.

Mermaids are one of the creatures that the fantasy world can’t get enough of.  But for some inexplicable reason, Hollywood is completely failing to provide the world with a modern reimagining of the mermaid myth. Seriously, a cameo appearance in the worst Pirates of the Caribbean movie is all we’ve seen of them in recent years, while dragon fans get The Hobbit, Game of Thrones and Harry Potter. Totally unfair.

So, the Tumblr community has decided to just go ahead and solve the mermaid problem by themselves.

Last week, Tumblr user besides-itstoowarm presented a few starter suggestions for more “realistic” mermaids that didn’t fall into the Disney Princess stereotype.

"Chubby Inuit mermaids with sleek seal tails
Sleek Japanese mermaids with orange and white koi bodies
Dark, scaly mermaids with enormous white eyes so that they can hunt at the bottom of the sea
Small mermaids with spiky, poisonous lionfish bodies
Mermaids with sharp teeth and shark tails that hunt sailors for fun
Mermaids that aren’t just skinny blonde pretty girls with fish tails”

It’s no coincidence that a lot of these ideas emphasise the grotesque over the feminine and romantic. Mermaids are one of the very few monsters that are explicitly written as female, but the old legends seem pretty tired and sexist in a 21st century context. Either we’re used to seeing de-fanged, child-friendly mermaids like Disney’s Ariel, or unimaginative retellings of the old stories where mermaids start off sweet and seductive but end up drawing men down to their deaths.

Tumblr’s mermaids are frightening, unearthly, and have very little interest in chasing sailors around. [READ MORE]


  1. not-hir-for-this reblogged this from mermaidsweaters
  2. mermaidsweaters reblogged this from darlingcup
  3. m0riarty reblogged this from thymoss
  4. cottoncandytwat reblogged this from pantypower
  5. andyouthinkitsnaturalblue reblogged this from darlingcup
  6. darlingcup reblogged this from tyrannicalqueenoferebor
  7. tuluaq reblogged this from hellotailor
  8. pimpernelpages reblogged this from mines-of-buymoria
  9. mines-of-buymoria reblogged this from lizzy-in-the-box
  10. lizzy-in-the-box reblogged this from ceciloswin
  11. monstermoongoddess reblogged this from chess-ka
  12. piedeancas reblogged this from allthefandomsbby
  13. taters169 reblogged this from destinedforjohnlock
  14. cuzfuckyoudave reblogged this from frustratedpen06
  15. spinsterprivilege reblogged this from beniceorillputyouinmynovel
  16. withthespring reblogged this from toocabaret
  17. astudyinvulcan reblogged this from asthmeticstiles
  18. bundleofrhetoric reblogged this from bundleofrhetoric
  19. timeywimeyassbutt reblogged this from shows-and-sarcasm
  20. shows-and-sarcasm reblogged this from ramblingkitten
  21. no-more-caffieine reblogged this from greenteagan
  22. greenteagan reblogged this from kingedmundsroyalmurder
  23. whoania reblogged this from lauras-benanti
  24. falltheonce-ingwhovian reblogged this from ramblingkitten
  25. trust-me-im-an-expert reblogged this from ramblingkitten
  26. wackadoodledoo reblogged this from ramblingkitten
  27. ramblingkitten reblogged this from scriberated
  28. legonessess reblogged this from dailylifeofadragon
  29. zombie-leftovers reblogged this from ponderrful
  30. dailylifeofadragon reblogged this from ponderrful