I hate to be the bearer of bad new here, but most of your favorite things are problematic. I know, it sucks. It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them, it just means you should be aware that not everything in life is pure and innocent. Yes, even the precious Disney movies that you used to worship when you were a toddler can be terrible. SORRY. Obviously, this particular conversation about how sexist Disney movies can truly be is one that’s been had many, many times, so I won’t bother you with a speech you’ve heard a million times before. I will just sum it up with this: many movies, not just Disney ones, portray women as weak and vulnerable characters who need a man to save and protect them. And despite the fact the Disney has cast self-proclaimed feminist Emma Watson as Belle, the new live-action Beauty and the Beast movie will (probably) be no exception.
I know this is a tiring and repetitive argument, but it’s a conversation that I’ve seen floating around a lot, specifically over the past few weeks, since the Beauty and the Beast remake comes out this spring. Just because the lead of your movie is a woman doesn’t mean that it’s a “feminist movie” (cough cough, Fifty Shades Of Grey). I want to be excited for Beauty and the Beast, but I simply can’t. Why? Because the story sets terrible examples for young women.
Belle used to be my IDOL, but after growing and and experiencing my fair share of emotional abuse from men, I have come to realize that she actually sets a bad example for what we should be looking for in a relationship. I know you can watch these movies now and think that you are smart enough to realize how messed up it is, but when you’re little and watching these cartoons on repeat, odds are good that you will subconsciously learn lessons from them, and those lessons might be harmful. Example: you REALLY shouldn’t offer yourself up to a man to save your father. Seriously, call the police instead.
I probably will see the new remake, but just because maybe, just MAYBE, Belle will decide that The Beast is awful and leave him at the end. It’s not likely though. If you are planning on seeing this movie, take a quick look at all of these reasons why Beauty and the Beast is actually the worst, and maybe rethink your plans to see it.
1. The Beast is emotionally abusive.
I mean, OBVIOUSLY. The Beast holds her CAPTIVE. And she just falls in love with him? That’s messed up. He doesn’t (really) let her leave, and expects her to be totally chill with living in that dusty castle for the rest of her life.
2. He’s also a literal animal.
Is it me or did the person who came up with Beauty and the Beast have a very alarming fetish?
— ThisOneSays (@ThisOneSayz) January 19, 2017
I think the fact that The Beast is a literal beast is often one that is overlooked. I mean….he’s….not….human. Sure, he was, at one point, human. But he’s not during the movie when he is holding Belle captive. I know it is supposed to be a “you can love anyone if you look past their appearance” narrative, but he is LITERALLY an animal. NOPE.
3. Belle has major Stockholm Syndrome.
some argue that it’s a story about how love is blind and seeing beauty in everything and not judging the book by its cover and bla bla bla
— cinnamon slut (@glittercans) January 19, 2017
but the story is literally about a beast keeping a girl captive in his house and she fell in love with him idk how people fail to see this
— cinnamon slut (@glittercans) January 19, 2017
If you’re not familiar with Stockholm Syndrome, here is a run down: when people are held hostage (whether IRL or in a relationship) they will sometimes develop feelings of sympathy towards their abusers, despite the fact that they are being manipulated into staying with them. That is essentially what Belle is doing. As strong as she tries to be, she decides to give the beast the “benefit of the doubt,” even though he kidnapped her. Not cool.
4. Belle isnt a role model
Does a positive female role model really look like someone who endures abuse in the name of love?
— young snug (@AllyHOTT) January 19, 2017
I know you love to think about Belle being a positive female role model, but she’s sort of not. She is constantly forgiving the man who is holding her captive, which is showing young girls that it’s okay for a man to treat you like crap because he “loves you.”
5. All of the men try to own her.
Throughout the original story, there is the concept of “ownership” surrounding Belle. No matter how “free” she seems, she is always being sought after by men. Whether it is the undesirable Gaston who claims he owns her or the beast who locks her in his castle, no matter how free Belle things she is, she isn’t. If she were free, she wouldn’t end up with either of them, TBH.
6. The Beast gives Belle gifts so she will stay with him.
One of the first signs that Belle is in love with The Beast is when she discovers his giant library. Uuuuuh. Okay. That still doesn’t change the fact that you held her there against her will? What is shown as a “romantic gesture” is just a manipulative tactic that The Beast uses to keep Belle.
7. And Belle’s love “changes” him.
PSA: If you kiss a boy who is mean to you, he won’t all of the sudden be nice. I know that Belle kisses the Beast and he becomes ~handsome~ but that does not happen. Abusive people don’t stop being abusive just with a kiss. That can actually the beginning of a sexually abusive relationship.
8. Rescuing your girl from a pack of wolves isn’t a good basis for a relationship.
Okay, so since the Beast saved Belle from a pack of wolves, she is just expected to date him? Um, nah. She wouldn’t be getting attacked by a pack of wolves in the first place if you didn’t, I don’t know, kidnap her.
9. Gaston= Major Creep
I don’t trust anyone who says Gaston is their favorite Disney character
— Grumpy Princess (@memescheme) January 19, 2017
I mean, I feel like I don’t need to go that much into this one, but, yeah. Gaston wakes up one day and decides that he wants to marry Belle, without even asking her.
10. Also he’s just RUDE AF.
I get that that’s the point….but still.
11. Although it’s never shown, it can be implied that Gaston (and maybe even The Beast) are sexually abusive men.
Wow. When you watch Beauty and The Beast as an adult you realise what a sexist, rapey pig Gaston is.
— Holly Martin (@holmrtn) April 3, 2015
There is a LOT of toxic masculinity in this movie.
12. It’s just….so upsetting that people don’t realize this that we grow up watching these movies, and they actually do affect us subconsciously.
omg my prof showed us beauty and the beast clips and talked about how sexist they are and how they encourage abuse and rape this is crazy
— L e a h ? (@sigourneyweavr) March 30, 2016
Fun fact: I used to want to be held in a castle like Belle was, because it was ‘romantic.’ I didn’t realize it was messed up until I grew up!
But, on the bright side, at least we’re getting a new Celine Dion song from this?????
I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be performing a new song,”How Does A Moment Last Forever” for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. – Céline ? pic.twitter.com/5H7vnGPs5W
— Celine Dion (@celinedion) January 19, 2017
Do you agree that Beauty and the Beast is a bad story? Tell us in the comments!