The Deaf Latina From The ‘Little Mermaid’ Series Was Disney’s Most Criminally Underrated Feminist

For little girls of the 90s, Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” was more than a box office sensation. It was an adventure into an another world, an introduction to romance, and an important lesson on why as women we need our voices. Yeah, ICYMI: “The Little Mermaid” was hopped up on all types of feminism.

It was a huge deal. So much so that the studios launched a television series of the same name in 1993 that deep-dove even further into the adventures of Ariel’s life and lessons on girl power. Most importantly, the show introduced the production giant’s coolest representation of intersectional feminism of ALL time.

In the television series “The Little Mermaid,” Gabriella was Ariel’s deaf Latina mermaid friend, AKA: Disney’s great educator of diversity.

Disney / Youtube / Giphy.com

Ariel’s friend was introduced on the show as a character who loved to dance, did American Sign Language, and had a sweet octopus sidekick named Ollie who interpreted her every word for hearing viewers.

The character was a huge lesson in inclusivity for Disney’s young audience.

Disney / Youtube / Giphy.com

By it’s definition (equality for all) feminism works towards the rights of all people no matter what identity or trait causes them to become oppressed by society and made into a minority. Still, even today, the entertainment industry struggles to project this discipline onto it’s screens. Ethnic, racial, gender, and disability representation on children’s tv shows goes particularly underrepresented. So, for a show of the early 90s to include a Latina face on a cartoon show and one who had a disability was pretty big deal. It’s why I have zero understanding as to why the show and it’s powerful Latina character has been labeled as anything other than I C O N I C.

Gabriella’s character was based on an actual fan of “The Little Mermaid” who passed away from cancer.

Disney / Youtube / Giphy.com

Gabriella Angelina Bommino had been a 2-year-old cancer patient in 1992 when she became an avid fan of the 1989 animated movie. In a 1993 Los Angeles Times article, her parents described how their daughter watched “The Little Mermaid” upwards of four times a day throughout the course of her cancer treatments until she died in November of 1992. Ultimately, Bommino inspired the image of the show’s Latina character.

And Gabriella also taught viewers a thing or two about the underestimated abilities of people with disabilities.

Disney / Youtube.com / Giphy.com

In an episode where the Latina mermaid expresses her desire to be able to sing like Ariel, the two mermaids head over to the Magical Wishing Starfish for a bit of his magic. Together they request that he give Gabriella the ability to sing and for Ariel to obtain Gabriella’s dance skills. In the end, while the Magical Wishing Starfish is revealed to be a fraud magician, he does drop some pretty great knowledge: Gabriella can sing through Sign Language and she can also teach her friend Ariel to dance.

Tell me that’s not an empowering moment!

Check out Gabriella’s ASL and dance skills below:

Read: Rosa Diaz Finally Came Out As Bisexual On ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ And Fans Are Screaming

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20 Lies Millennials Told Themselves In The ’90s

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20 Lies Millennials Told Themselves In The ’90s

It’s hard to believe that almost twenty years have passed since we officially exited the best decade ever–and by that, we mean the 90s, of course. For many millennials, it feels like only yesterday that we were at home, flipping through TV channels trying to land on “Rugrats”. Or better yet, at school, arguing with our friends over who got to be Posh Spice this time during recess.

But as the old saying goes, hindsight is 20/20, which means that we now know we weren’t quite living our best lives yet in the ’90s. In light of this, we compiled a list of all the unfortunate lies millennials told themselves during the ’90s. Take a look below!

1. That Putting These Beads on Your Bike Meant You Were a Badass


If we were forced to get around on two wheels, then you better believe it was going to be with style. Once we snapped these beads onto our spokes, the neighborhood kids knew better than to mess with us. Move over, Hell’s Angels!

2. That Christina Aguilera Was Going to Recruit You as Her Choreographer


Like any self-respecting pop lover in the ’90s, we were 100% certain that once Xtina caught a glimpse of the “What A Girl Wants” dance routine we created with our BFF, she would pretty much beg us to tour with her. We even knew what Limited Too outfit we would wear onstage.

3. That The “Carmen San Diego” Show Wasn’t Just An Elaborate Ploy To Make Kids Learn Geography


“Where In The World Is Carmen San Diego” was such an entertaining show that it took us a few years to realize we were actually learning from the iconic TV series. *shudder* If we had known that at the time, there’s no way we would’ve been half as invested in this wily woman’s whereabouts.

4. That You Were Eventually Going to See Wilson’s Whole Face in “Home Improvement”


Ax children in the 90s, it never even occurred to us that we would never get to see Wilson’s whole face in “Home Improvement”. We always just assumed that the makers of the TV show were too stupid to realize how annoying it was that he was always half-hidden. How wrong we were.

5. That Winning This Game Required Both Skill and Cunning


If we won a game of “Hungry Hungry Hippo” and we were up against a particularly competitive sibling or classmate, there was no convincing us that we weren’t a child prodigy with an IQ to rival Einstein’s.

7. That This Shampoo DIDN’T Burn Your Eyes Out of Their Sockets


Marketed as “Tear Free Shampoo and Haircare”, this”kid-friendly” formula promised to be a sting-free alternative to our Madre’s Pantene. And even when this shampoo made our eyes burn like fire, we refused to admit that it didn’t live up to its promise. I mean, the bottle was shaped like a fish! How could we doubt a product like that?

1. That You And AC Slater Were Destined to Be Together


Back in the ’90s no other boy on TV fulfilled all of our fantasies more than A.C. Slater. Played by the extremely charismatic Mario Lopez, watching “Saved By the Bell” was really just an excuse to drool over our be-dimpled Latino novio. Back then, we were convinced that we would one day be going by “Mrs. Slater”. On our wedding day, A.C.  would wear a muscle-shirt (and a bow-tie), of course.

8. That You Were Brave Enough to Watch “The Witches” Without Having Nightmares For Days


As kids, there’s nothing we longed for more than to prove to everyone how grown-up we were. In this case, we thought that being grown-up meant sitting through a horrifying movie about witches with disturbing special effects.

9. That Picture Books Counted Towards Your Pizza Hut Book It! Rewards

User ULFBERHT02/Reddit

There’s no way kids today could get away with “earning” a free personal pan pizza by “proving” that they “read” a certain amount of books for the month. Back in the day, this claim was an exaggeration at best and a downright lie at worst. But the pizza–now that was always delicious.

10. That You Were Safe Playing on These Death Traps


Parents of kids in the ’90s weren’t helicopter parents in the same way they are today. ’90s parents were willing to risk all sorts of potential injuries just for the chance at a few precious moments of peace.

11. That This Excuse For a Meal Was Actually Tasty


It took a fair bit of begging to get our parents to buy a Kids Cuisine. And then, after rushing home to nuke this colorful meal, we’d bite into it to be…underwhelmed (to put it lightly). But kudos to the Kid Cuisine marketing team for convincing us that this bland mush was worth the money.

12. That Wearing Candy-Flavored Smackers Was Practically the Same Thing as Makeup


As a young girl in the ’90s, collecting Lip Smackers was a right of passage. It meant you were almost adult enough to wear makeup–even if that “makeup” was actually just over-priced glittery lip-balm that tasted like Starbursts. Some even came with key chains!

13. That The “Wishbone” Dog Was Happy to Dress Up in Elaborate and Ridiculous Costumes


Spoiler Alert: He wasn’t. Although we loved watching this adorable Jack Russel Terrier dress up as Sherlock Holmes and Robin Hood, there’s no way Soccer the Dog (yes, that was the dog’s real name) enjoyed the constant wardrobe changes.

14. That Butterfly Clips Would Never Go Out of Style


Being a little girl in the ’90s meant never having to worry about our bangs getting in our eyes–we had enough butterfly clips to remedy that situation. The thought of butterfly clips going out of style never crossed our minds. What other alternative was there? Surely not something as boring as bobby pins?

15. That This TV Show Was Appropriate for Kids


’90s animated show “Rocco’s Modern Life” was so full of innuendo and double-entendres that it has since become infamous for its hidden adult content. But as naive children, “Rocco’s Modern Life” was as innocent to us as any other Saturday morning cartoon.

16. That Pencil-Thin Eyebrows Looked Good


Out of all the horrible decisions people made in the ’90s (we’re looking at you, Bill Clinton), giving in to the “pencil thin brows” trend is definitely up there. In 2019, we understand that bushy Frida brows are really beautiful.

17. That Salem from “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” Looked Anything Remotely Like a Real Cat


It’s possible that we were hyper-gullible as children, but for some reason, we always assumed Salem from “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” was a real cat. Yeah, we knew he didn’t actually talk in real life, but we thought that maybe the cat was just trained to convincingly move its lips!

18. That These Were Too Delicious To Be REAL Vitamins


As children, we equated taking vitamins with watching our grandparents swallow a pharmacy’s worth of horse pills with their evening meal. We always liked to think that eating Flintstone’s Vitamins wasn’t really good for us–it was just candy that was smart enough to trick our parents!

19. That Collecting Beanie Babies Would One Day Make You Rich


We don’t know who got it into our minds in the ’90s that our Beanie Baby collection would eventually pay for our future self’s crippling student loan debt. But, whoever pulled that off owes us about $650,000. Plus interest.

20. That Stringy Bangs Were the Epitome of Effortless Cool

@giguerehair / Instagram

Up there with chunky highlights and black lip liner, stringy bangs were a 90s staple that seemed trendy and edgy. Back then, nothing seemed more stylish than completing your hairstyle with two skinny strands framing either side of your face. How little we knew.

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20 Things You Basically Did Every Day During The 90s

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20 Things You Basically Did Every Day During The 90s

If you grew up in the 90s, then you are probably pretty familiar with and nostalgic for all of the things that made that decade the very best to grow up during. From the beauty and fashion looks we all rocked back then to all of the 90s songs we STILL love to karaoke to, there are certain things that made the 90s iconic. You can probably close your eyes and still remember the entire video to Christina Aguilera’s “Genie in a Bottle” or remember how you felt when you first saw JLo in the Selena biopic. Plus, you probably had a huge crush on Freddie Prinze, Jr., and loved Ricky Martin BEFORE he hit it big with his cross-over single “Livin’ La Vida Loca,” amirite?

Well, as a trek down memory lane, here are 20 things that you basically did every day during the 90s. And yes, you’re welcome for the nostalgia.

1. Listened to Christina Aguilera’s “Genie in a Bottle” non-stop.


I was obsessed with this music video and I was definitely not the only one. It’s still a song that rings in my ears whenever anyone mentions the Ecuadorean-American singer because, let’s face it, 90s Xtina was the best Xtina.

2. Closed your eyes and dreamed about dancing with Enrique Iglesias.


Whether you loved him before this song came out or not, it’s no argument that Enrique shot to fame with “Bailamos.” Sure, he’s technically not Latinx (his lineage is from Spain and the Philippines) but he was part of the Latin pop explosion of the 90s and for that we will always love him.

3. Watched Jennifer Lopez in Selena more times than we could count.


Jlo wouldn’t be JLo if it wasn’t for Selena. Although it’s impossible not to cry when watching this biopic, it’s also impossible not to feel a certain something for the 90s Puerto Rican actress and singer we all came to know and love.

4. Crushed hard on Freddie Prinze Jr. in, like, every movie ever.


Seriously, is there anything cuter than Puerto Rican actor Freddie Prinze, Jr., in She’s All That? I don’t think so. He was possibly the most crush-worthy Latino in the 90s… Though, don’t worry, we have a few more on this list that will send your heart aflutter, too.

5. Danced to Selena Quintanilla’s Amor Prohibido album over and over.


Seriously, how many times did you listen to this one? I had her album on a tape (remember those?) and I pretty much wore my tape out. No regrets, though, because then I got it on CD and could continue my non-stop listening. The Mexican-American singer will forever be in our hearts… and in our ears.

6. Joined your mami in watching many of Thalía’s telenovelas.


Thalía may forever remain the Mexican telenovela queen — and this was especially true in the 90s. I loved her in basically anything and everything and, really, there will be nobody greater.

7. Memorized the words to Mariah Carey’s “Hero” for whenever you felt sad.


Mariah Carey had a lot of hits in the 90s and beyond, but her song “Hero” will forever hold a special place in the heart of us 90s kids. Why? Because it was a heartfelt ode to those of us who needed one. And, well, it still makes me feel powerful whenever I hear it so I will forever be grateful to the Afro-Venezuelan songbird.

8. Wondered whether Benicio del Toro was the greatest or the greatest.


Ever since Puerto Rican actor Benicio came on the scene, it’s been a dream. I loved him in Excess Baggage, his movie with Alivia Silverstone, and in every movie since. But 90s Benicio will forever hold a special place in our hearts, amirite?

9. Tried to recreate Salma Hayek’s movie and red carpet looks.


Salma Hayek’s beauty is timeless and so are the movies that she starred in during the 90s. Although the Mexican and American star’s titular turn in Frida didn’t come until 2002, we took notice of her years before. Whether you dressed up as her vampire queen in From Dusk Till Dawn or as sweet Isabel in Fools Rush In, she has always been an icon.

10. Told all your friends that you liked Ricky Martin BEFORE he crossed over.


Yes, seriously, I was that annoying teenager telling all of my American friends who were fawning over “La Vida Loca” that I loved Puerto Rican singer Ricky Martin back when… But it’s okay, we can ALL share him.

11. Bought every magazine with Christy Turlington on the cover.


Christy Turlington was one of the world’s greatest supermodels of the 90s and, in case you didn’t know, she is also the proud child of immigrants (her mom is from El Salvador). But the real reason that we have always loved her is that she was a Latina that we could look up to for her career accomplishments (and, well, maybe not-so-secretly envy for her practically perfect looks).

12. Pretended that Mario Lopez was your boyfriend.


Whenever Saved by the Bell came on, we all crowded around our TVs to watch Mexican-American heartthrob Mario Lopez on the screen. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who pretended that he was my boyfriend. In my dreams, anyway. Honestly, not much has changed since then…

13. Shook your hips to Shakira’s “Ojos Así.”


The 1999 song, which came out two years before her “Whenever, Whenever” helped her cross over from Colombia to the American audience, is one of my favorite songs. In fact, it’s hands down one of Shakira’s best songs… and definitely a great one to shake your hips to, no matter the decade.

14. Attempted to be as kind as Tatyana Ali in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.


The Panamanian-American star was possibly the sweetest part of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Sure, we watched that show primarily for the antics between Will and his Bel Air family, but seeing Ali on the air gave hope (and some much-needed representation) to many Afro-Latinx kids growing up in the 90s.

15. Wanted to be just like Stacey Dash in Clueless.


Okay, so Stacey is probably NOT your favorite person anymore due to her politics but we have to admit that she was pretty awesome in Clueless. In fact, she remains one of the best parts about that movie… and the Afro-Mexican-American actress definitely brought Dionne to life.

16. Pledged yourself to BSB thanks to Howie Dorough and AJ Mclean.


Here’s something that may blow your boy band-loving heart of the 90s: Howie Dorough and AJ McClean are Latino! Howie’s mom is Puerto Rican and AJ’s mom is Puerto Rican and German. Yes, really! But you probably already knew that and that really helped to solidify your BSB love way back when, right?

17. Took your besties to giggle during every Cameron Diaz movie.


The Cuban-American actress made us giggle all throughout the 90s. From her debut as the sultry Tina in The Mask to her turn as Mary alongside Ben Stiller in 1998’s There’s Something About Mary. No matter which movie was your favorite, you probably laughed at her on-screen antics (and still do!).

18. Tried to love baseball just so you could watch Sammy Sosa.


Current controversies and looks aside, Dominican Sammy Sosa was THE baseball player to watch in the 90s when he played on the Chicago Cubs. Truthfully, who didn’t watch baseball in 1998 when he and Mark McGwire competed as they both pursued a home run record?

19. Wondered how you could ever get a body like Patricia Velásquez.


The Venezuelan actress and model was a sight to behold in the 90s. In fact, she’s still pretty great today. Not only was she the first Latina supermodel back in the 90s but today she’s out and proud. Of course, we will never forget her face (and, ahem, amazing body) in the 90s and early 2000s, like in The Mummy Returns.

20. Lusted after Antonio Banderas in The Mask of Zorro.


Okay, so, Antonio Banderas (like Enrique Iglesias) is actually not Latinx since he was born in Spain… However, he still made great strides towards Latinx (or Hispanic, if you want to be technical) representation in the U.S. And, let’s admit it, he was one sexy man. He’s probably responsible for the sexual awakening of many a girl and boy…

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