I guess you have heard or have seen some phrases from youngsters like: “Always be yourself, unless you can be a unicorn, then always be a unicorn”. The unicorn thing is not the only kind of fairytale ‘addiction’ or ‘dreamers disease’ youngsters seem to have nowadays. There is also is a kind of a mermaid addiction which can be related to the Seapunk movement. From youngsters who try to incorporate a ‘sea’ feel to their everyday wear to Emily and Eric who really transformed themselves in mermaid and merman. Nowadays you can even get your mermaid degree at the Mermaid School in Montreal. What’s going on with the mermaid thing?
Seapunk is a microculture which started out with memes on Tumblr. The term ‘seapunk’ is coined by DJ @lilinternet in 2011 who wrote the first reference on Twitter. Nowadays Seapunk can be seen in music, fashion (90’s references), digital imagery (Tumblr, Pinterest) and it even has his own sub-microcultures: Slimepunk and Icepunk.
How to recognize Seapunk?
Seapunk is inspired by the sea and the 90s web culture with his smileys, yin and yan and tie-dye motives. The drivers of Seapunk are mostly youngsters who try to incorporate a ‘sea’ feel to their everyday wear and refer a lot to mermaids and anything else which lives under the sea. Think about: starfish hair clips, skipper’s hats, greenish, blue or purple hair, etc.
Seapunk music can especially be found in the dance scene and is house influenced with new age, hip-hop, chip tune and drum and base. In video clips you can see the whole underwater theme coming back and the 90’s web culture. Conspicuously most of the Seapunk lovers are not really fond of the music.. the style in fashion is more appreciated.
Emily Keat and Eric Ducharme, two youngsters with one passion: mermaids.
Emily Keat, former model, is Britain’s first professional mermaid. She built her own 6 ft tail and trained for four hours a day to turn herself into a full-time half-woman half-fish performer. She is now specialised in mer-modelling, mer-acting and other related mer-entertainment. “I absolutely love being a mermaid – I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I watched videos and looked at pictures, and was amazed at how realistic and graceful they are. I have always being interested in mythical creatures. When I was younger I wanted to be a fairy but making a fairy costume didn’t seem practical. I could make some wings that looked really lifelike but they would never be able to fly. With a mermaid tail I would be able to swim like a mermaid.”
After leaving college Emily launched herself as professional mermaid and makes a living from children’s parties and modelling but it isn’t all about just being an Ariël: “Ultimately I want to raise awareness of keeping the seas clean and safe for marine animals. I want to use this as a platform for doing good. I want to educate children about sea pollution in a way that’s fun so they will enjoy it and learn at the same time.”
Eric Ducharme appeared inTLC’s My Crazy Obsession. He is obsessed with mermaids for as long as he can remember and took his passion into real life: he became a merman. “It’s a lifestyle. It’s a path in life that I have chosen. Being under water I feel, I’m just totally away from the world. When I put on a tail I feel transformed. I feel like I’m starting to enter into a different world when I hit the water.” He calls it ‘mermaiding,’ his own style of costumed free-diving that he says allows him to escape the world up above. “It’s a fun and exciting physical activity.”
It took Ducharme a really long time to understand his place in life, but today he transformed his beloved hobby into a business. He started a webshop: The Mertailor where he uses silicone, urethanes, and latex rubbers to create shimmering wet suits featuring life-like colors and textures of scales and flowing fins. He has tails that are real as fish you just caught on your boat, which are available to every aspiring mermaid and merman who dreams of life in the sea.
Why do (some) youngsters want to be a mermaid?
I guess it’s a kind of fascination we can all recognize in myths, legends and fairy tales. As a child you must have experienced the amazed feeling while you’ve seen one of the Disney films, experienced a fairy tale in a leisure park or while your parents told you one. Fairy tales have something magical, just like dreams and fantasy, it makes you escape from the ‘real world’ and I guess that’s the thing in the whole Seapunk movement and the wish to be a mermaid. In our childhood we all wanted to live in a fairy tale, while you’re growing up, things are getting more serious and we would like to escape that sometimes. But, don’t take it all to serious when you see quotes like ‘I am actually a mermaid’. Not every youngster wants to transform themselves in a mermaid and the most of the youngsters don’t take the whole Seapunk movement to serious: “It’s just one big inside joke anyways.”
If you want to be a mermaid (for a while), what can you do?
Besides running your own professional business as a mermaid you can also be a mermaid in your leisure time: go for some Fin swimming or get your mermaid degree at the Mermaid school in Montreal!
Fin swimming, it really is a sport
In 2011 Mike Bushell from BBC (UK) made an report of fin swimming, a sport which is attracting a growing number of youngsters into the sport which already arose in the early 1920s in France and Italy. The sport even had his first world championship held in 1976 and it has been featured at the World Games as a trend sport since 1981.
Get your mermaid degree at the Mermaid school in Montreal
In Montreal, Canada they opened the first Mermaid school: AquaSirène where you can find the happiness of your inner mermaid. AquaSirène opens a path between cosplay and sport (cardio) through a shared fondness for mermaids. Marielle Chartier-Hénault, part-time mermaid: “You become like another person. You are not yourself anymore—you’re the mermaid and the mermaid can do anything… You can do the style you want. It’s a magical creature.”
All classes will be taught by a professional (mermaid). Some courses include mermaid photo shoots, teen aqua mermaid (cardio), kids parties and corporate packages where employees can train to be watermaidens. You can even rent a “landlocked mermaid package”: a human-sized aquarium filled with your very own mermaid.