Malcolm Gladwell’s at it again. If you grew up with/raised kids on Disney (and Disney princesses, and the like), you’ll want to pay attention to this one.
The Little Mermaid, in the traditional sense, is a queer allegory. In the Disney sense it’s an abuse of the understanding of contract law. In a cultural sense it’s an opportunity to teach our kids a valuable lesson about how messy the real world is and how to live in it.
At a minimum, please watch this, and if so inclined, check out his three-part Little Mermaid series of Revisionist History.