Tuesday, October 16, 2012
For those amongst you who inhabit the "mer" community or subculture, what we're about to say is not new. But for the landlubbers who haven't tweaked to the fact that mermaids are trending... please read on.
Mermaids started to come out of the water – so to speak – last year. Firstly, the Mer Network mades its appearance—this is a community that discusses issues such as tail-making, monofins, pods, mer fashion, tail swimming, mer gatherings, mer photography and videography, marine biology and oceanography, modeling and performing, and going professional. Then several Facebook groups and pages popped up such as "Mermaids of Facebook", Mermaids are the Best", and "Mermaid's Lair". There are also mermaids galore with their personality-based pages who operate under both their human name and their mermaid name. Indeed, one of the most famous mermaids in the world is Australian born and who now resides in the USA. She is little known in her homeland but is hugely popular in North and South America. Her name is Hannah Fraser AKA Hannah Mermaid.
We also saw the beginnings of mermaid blogging: two favs are "I Am a Mermaid" and "Cynthia Mermaid's Blog". The first mermaid event – MerCon and the inaugural World Mermaid Awards – were held in Las Vegas in August 2011 and attracted participants from around the USA and even some Aussies. Weeki Wachee held a mermaid camp last year at its Florida base, and Mid Atlantic Mermaids are hosting a Retreat in Virginia in 2013. And we mustn't forget Mer-Palooza, (you can see pretty pics here) which was held in August 2013 in Orlando, Florida, and which attracted all manner of mermaids from around the world.
We've also seen the launch of the strikingly sumptuous Mermaids and Mythology Magazine from the UK, and Tail Flip from the USA, and we have seen the rise of the mermaid entrepreneur—check out Shimmerbaby Mermaids and Mermaids Dreaming in Australia, and the mermaid art gallery The Mermaid Studio in the USA. There is also a new network starting soon called Mermaid Wishes (the website will be up in 2013) that helps charitable foundations provide mermaid experiences to children who may not be in the best of health. I have it on good authority that Mermaid Wishes already has a database of 30+ mermaids from around the world who will help in any way they can.
Mermaids have also featured prominently in media recently, Firstly, the Huffington Post, which is famous for trend-spotting, recently published a series of mermaid-themed articles. Brenda Peterson reported on Mer Palooza in "How to Become a Real Mermaid", and very clearly spells it out for us:
"Mermaids are an alluring mythic tradition that calls its siren song to many women then—and especially now. In the last few years, mermaids are surfacing as a hot, new trend, rivaling vampires."
Huffington Post also covered, "Real Life Mermaids in Florida Aquarium (VIDEO)", and is also boldly asking "Mermaid Body Suits The Hottest Trend of the Season?" It also published "Real Mermaid Facts"and we vaguely remember somewhere some time, asked whether Ariel (as in The Little Mermaid Ariel) had ever received plastic surgery.
The rise in the interest in mermaids is also paralleled with a rise in mermaid hoaxes such as the badly photoshopped mermaid skeleton that was supposedly dug up in Bulgaria of all places. You can see all the photographic evidence on this Dateline News article But most famous of them all was an Animal Planet documentary / mockumentary depending on who you speak to... also, you guess it, covered by the Huffington Post ("'Mermaids: The Body Found' on Animal Planet Argues Mythical Sea Creatures are Aquatic Apes" and the denial "Mermaids Don't Exist: NOAA Confirms 'No Evidence of Aquatic Humanoids Has Ever Been Found'. NOAA stands for National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration, in case you're wondering. The jury is still out on that one... For many mers out there, it's fact not fiction. You can find more on the Animal Planet speculative television show here.