Beauty and the Beast is back featuring all the beauty of a Disney movie brought to life by pretty characters in the most prettiest of settings. However, despite having an ardent fanbase who were thrilled to see their favourite ‘love story’ played out in a live-action film, there’s no escaping the fact that the overall plot is weird and outdated.
Once upon a time I probably loved Beauty and the Beast just as much as the next kid (although I was more of a Hunchback of Notre Dame girl myself), but in hindsight the film’s outward misogyny made me very reluctant to see the 2017 take.
There’s no need for me to outline the plot – it’s a tale as old as time, don’t you know – so I’ll jump right to it.
It concerns me that so many people celebrate this film and label it as a love story. The last time I checked love was not something that is usually found between a self-indulgent man / beast and his prisoner.
The supposedly main moral of the story is that beauty is on the inside, and yet there’s nothing that suggests to me that the Beast is inwardly beautiful and let’s be honest, Belle isn’t exactly ugly.
Yes, deep down the Beast is an alright guy but he shouldn’t need to be turned into a beast just to realise he shouldn’t be a twat. He feels sorry for himself more than anything and if it wasn’t for the people and circumstances surrounding him, he’d still be a twat. An ugly twat.
Who wouldn’t fall in love with an educated, open-minded, pretty woman? It doesn’t mean he has a beautiful soul. Even when he ‘falls in love’ he still does not release her until late on, and when he does he wallows in his self misery. What a lovely guy for letting his one true love wander free rather than forcing her to love him back. Top bloke.
However, Belle is forced to sacrifice herself for a male more than once. Firstly to become a prisoner and then secondly to save the castle and its inhabitants. Yes, she ‘falls in love’ but maybe if all the men in her town weren’t such bigots she wouldn’t be forced to fall in love with the first cultured ‘male’ she finds – the fact that this ‘male’ is in beast-form is even more depressing for Belle.
It’s an easy watch and visually stunning, as can be expected from a Disney budget, but we shouldn’t be advocating this sort of message. The misogyny conflicts with modern-day messages advocating female power and gender equality that we are starting to see on TV adverts and throughout the media.
Beauty and the Beast glorifies male domination and although Emma Watson who plays Belle asserted that this version would be a feminist take on the Disney classic with a strong female protagonist, we can’t escape the fact that this female protagonist is just ultimately a beast’s prisoner.
Watson claimed that we wouldn’t see a typical ‘princess’ and although Belle actually shouts ‘I’m not a princess!’ at one point, she definitely looked like one towards the end of the film. Watson also claimed that Belle was an inventor but when this ‘invention’ just happens to be a fucking washing machine I can’t help but feeling she’s missed the point *necessary eye roll*.
It’s strange to see such a strong feminist and the UN Women Godwill Ambassador advocate this story; it’s as though nostalgia has blinded her and others to the blatant misogyny, ‘traditional’ sexist values and tones of stockholm syndrome on display.
Basically, Disney has just toned it down so it doesn’t show tones of the disgusting sexism that we’re used to and it seems to have worked, fooling women everywhere.
Having Watson on board has helped the Disney team disguise misogyny as gender equality. They have been given an easy excuse to shut us up, sweep us under the mat while cleverly making us feel both equal and worthy in a similar way to giving out a loser’s medal. As long as films continue to do this there will never be gender equality.
This isn’t a film for someone who’s sick of princesses, submissive women and animalistic (lol) men.
It’s just a tale about yet another woman taming and house-training a primitive male. Belle deserves a lot more. Women deserve a lot more.
It may be more modern, but it certainly isn’t a feminist film. Having a female protagonist is not the equivalent to feminism. Will people ever learn the true definition of this word?