Since when is it okay to fill Disney movies with multiple kidnappings, aggressive male suitors, and the undertones of sex with an animal? Apparently, it's been cool since at least 1991, the year the animated Beauty and the Beast first hit screens. And Beauty and the Beast certainly doesn't stand alone in the realm of dark Disney movies with regressive social messages hidden inside. Just take a look at reasons why The Little Mermaid is actually incredibly dark if you don't believe it.
However, the backward, anti-feminist messages that manifest in the plot of Beauty and the Beast are second to none. "Give yourself to any man that is nice to you" and "smile your way out of an awkward and aggressive come-on because men simply don't know any better" are just two of the shady messages young girls can pick up while watching the film.
Gaston Is A Living Embodiment Of Rape Culture
Sure, the Beast kidnaps Belle and keeps her prisoner in his mansion (is kidnapping supposed to be romantic here?), but equally creepy is Gaston’s inability to take no for an answer. Maybe it’s because his mouth is so disproportionate to his face, but Gaston is one creepy looking fella. He’s the kind of guy that walks behind you for a little too long as you’re walking home from the party. The hair on the back of your neck stands up, and you position your car key in your hand ready so gouge his eyes out.
Gaston practically demands that Belle marry him, considering himself a worthy prize. He even tries to physically stop her from leaving a room, and she smiles politely at him as she escapes - forced to sweetly, kindly turn down her wholly-unwelcome assailant.Does this change how you see the film?
Gaston Threatens to Commit Belle’s Father
Like any good Disney princess, Belle is motherless, and she has but one father whom she loves dearly despite his... unusual lifestyle. So, it's pretty f*cked up when the man who wishes to marry her threatens to commit her one remaining parent to an institution.
It’s probably not the best way to court your love interest, but Gaston seems to think threatening to send Belle’s lovable, quirky father away will convince her to return his love. Now if Belle had been reading worthwhile literature as she sings herself through the town - rather than some anti-feminist propaganda about finding a Prince Charming in Chapter 3 - she might've learned that Gaston is a blowhard who has no real power to send her father anywhere.Does this change how you see the film?
The So-Called Town Hunk Is A Bully Who Champions Stupidity
Who's the real monster in this tale? What kind of creep throws a woman’s possessions - let alone a book she loves - in the mud? If this so-called perfect French town is full of book-hating narcissists like Gaston, maybe Belle is better off with her jailer. Perhaps, Belle could even find a book on feminist theory, or a copy of Lean In, in that quaint little bookstore to educate herself on women’s rights.
Although considering the difficulty of acquiring new material from the bookshop, Belle probably shouldn't be holding her breath.Does this change how you see the film?
Children Are Victims Of The Enchantress's Curse
Sure, some ancient enchantress put a spell on the much-deserving-of-a-curse Beast and his staff, but for the love of all things Disney, why would she see fit to turn a small child into a tea cup?
Chip, you may or may not have noticed, is a child casualty of the strange situation. What could that little boy ever have done to hurt anyone? Just picture it: Chip's just in his room, playing with his trucks when all of the sudden his limbs are gone, and there is a handle where his nose should be. The horror.Does this change how you see the film?