A Feminist Criticism of Beauty and the Beast
Entertainment

A Feminist Criticism of Beauty and the Beast

Dang, feminists just ruin everything.

9159

As a child, I was in love with the movie, and Belle was my favorite princess. Even now I have out of reach ambitions to become Belle at Disney World. However, as I grow older and my views on feminism, politics, and the world develop, I drift away from the fairy tale I used to love.

Belle is considered a "feminist" princess. She reads and stands up for herself, making sacrifices for her father. As a young child, I thought this was great. I loved to read and was significantly different from every other child (I didn't know it was related to mental illness, I just thought I was a princess), so I related to her. I thought she was strong, and liked her significantly better than Sleeping Beauty, who slept while everyone did the work for her. Aurora was weak, and Belle was strong. Arguably speaking, this was a movie that lead me into feminism, or more appropriately female empowerment.

Now that I'm older, and not a child, I began to see the flaws in here. Beauty and The Beast is a story of Stockholm Syndrome and beastality.

Stockholm Syndrome is, simply put, when a victim falls in love with their kidnapper or captor. This tale romanticizes stockholm syndrome, which some consider to be a serious mental illness as a result of manipulation and psychological torture. Even after the Beast and Belle "fall in love," he still refers to her as his "prisoner."

Beastiality is grotesque and disturbing, but as a child I liked the Beast better when he was the Beast than when he was Adam. The point of the story is that appearances do not matter when it comes to love, but rather the quality of their character. Gaston is notoriously beautiful but an evil character. This is different from other Disney tales, in which the villains are typically "uglier" than the heroes. Ursula is fat, with traits of gluttony, which is considered unacceptable in society. (Keep in mind, I'm speaking in terms of societal expectations; big is beautiful). By twisting the Beast so far beyond humanity, incorporating different animals, it's like Belle did not fall in love with a human, but an animal.

Additionally, the fact that the Beast melted away into a handsome prince practically ruins the "image isn't important" message. Not to bring up Shrek, but Shrek. While it is one of the longest running memes, Shrek actually has a positive message for children watching. Fiona was a not a beautiful princess at the end, but an ogre, and she was still loved.

Another concerning aspect is the fact that Belle is supposedly so beautiful she stands out from the crowd. A lesson girls learn: looks don't matter, unless you're the woman. Her beauty was used as a plot device, and was a driving force in her personality. Even when the Beast talks of Belle, he talks of her beauty. I may be incorrect, but not once does he speak of her intelligence.

The choice to name her "Belle" is a disappointment. It means, beauty. The entire movie is based off of the fact that she's hot. While there is nothing wrong with having an attractive princess, basing her whole character development off it is damaging. Instead of naming her Belle, why not name her Kaya, or Rae, or Sophia? Why put emphasis on her intelligence in the beginning of the movie if her entire character is based off beauty?

The decision to cast Emma Watson as Belle was disappointing, to say the least. I always liked her as Hermione when I was a child, but again as I grew older I developed a better understand. Emma Watson is famous for her feminist rhetoric, but is it positive?

Emma Watson gave a speech to the UN on feminism, and her entire speech was about men. She has never spoken, or so far as I know, about the struggles of trans women, black and brown women, or women in Palestine. She has an elevated platform. When she speaks, people listen to her. But she speaks of the struggles of white women, and nothing else. And if your feminism isn't for all women, it's not feminism. Emma Watson grew up in a wealthy family and went to private school. Her privilege has got her places, and she has yet to acknowledge it.

There has also been quite a bit of controversy surrounding Disney's decision to make LeFou a canonically gay character. Throughout the entire movie, LeFou chased after Gaston, and danced with another man for about two seconds at the very end of the movie. This is a damaging stereotype: an unattractive gay man chases after a conventionally attractive straight man in an almost pathetic manner. This is insulting to Howard Ashman, a gay man who worked on the original Beauty and the Beast, who died of AIDs.

Why am I psychoanalyzing an animated Disney movie? Because this is what our children consume. When I was younger I played pretend that I was kidnapped, and fell in love with my kidnapper, because I watched this movie so much. These movies, which we make mostly for children (or nostalgic adults like myself), and it has a strong influence on them.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Lifestyle

Founders Of Color Q&A: Yarlap's MaryEllen Reider On Destigmatizing Women's Health

The father-daughter duo co-founded the brand and has since generated a passionate, dedicated community of women.

MaryEllen Reider

I was lucky enough to meet MaryEllen Reider over a decade ago as a fellow freshman in college. Since then, I had the luxury of being able to witness her evolution from the faithful companion I went to my first job fair with to the woman who is now a pioneer in destigmatizing the portrayal of women's reproductive health.

Keep Reading... Show less

My favorite Editor was feeling under the weather yesterday. All I wanted was to make her a vegan iced matcha latte. With distance forbidding it, I instead decided to write up this quick, easy recipe. I made it to be vegan and organic for optimal health benefits.

Matcha green tea is made from grounded green tea leaf and it comes with the most antioxidant boost ever.

Keep Reading... Show less

This coffee brand is USDA organic. Newman's Own Keurig coffee flavors are all organic. They have French Roast, Decaf, and a Special Blend. I'm in a committed relationship with the French Roast flavor. The smell alone from dispensing 1 cup of coffee sets a whole cafe jazz vibe.

I'm already relaxed when I smell the coffee all ready for dressing. The way I make my coffee is simple and sweet, literally. I add a spoon of organic brown sugar and a splash of organic almond vanilla milk. This cup of coffee has changed my life forever. I have never been so productive in my life and I truly believe it's because the coffee is organic.

Keep Reading... Show less

These organic, cruelty-free skincare products are great for hot, sweaty summers. I use them every day, so you will find my honest opinion about them all. I highly recommend using organic products because they are least likely to be harmful to your body.

This may seem like an extra step when it comes to your beauty routine, but it's really easy. These 5 products could be the start of your next beauty venture.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

These 5 Black Handbag Designers Should Be On Every Accessory Lover's Radar

With the push to support more Black-owned businesses, we've put together a list of Black owned handbag designers.

Ever since the current upheaval of societal silence happening in the country caused by the #BlackLivesMatter movement, there has been a bigger push for people to support Black-owned businesses.

Granted, there are a lot fo Black-owned businesses to support, it just takes time to find them. With that being said, fashion is a sector, just like any sector really, in a culture that still has people of color calling out for more diversity.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Feel A Lil' Better: Because Therapy Dogs Aren't Just Cute, They're Working

Your weekly wellness boost from Odyssey.

No matter how good (or bad) you'd describe your health, one thing is for sure: a little boost is ALWAYS a good idea. Whether that's reading a new, motivating book, or listening to a song that speaks to your soul, there are plenty of resources to help your health thrive on any given day.

There are many different ways people overcome obstacles in their lives. Thankfully, the stigma surrounding therapy is slowly (but surely) slipping away and we're opening up about our problems and needs. For some, a good workout is just as relaxing. Others are learning how meditation can be a helpful tool in their mental health journey.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments