Beauty and the Beast is a tale as old as time. It is an instant classic following a simple yet beautiful love story between two people who don't seem to fit in with the rest of society. The beloved film has received a flood of praise from critics and was the first animated Disney movie to be nominated for an academy award.
Yet as lovely as the movie is, there are some moments throughout that haven't exactly aged well. What were some of those moments? Read on to find out!
As we're told at the very beginning of the movie, The Beast was once a young prince who rejected a stranger's plea to stay the night. Because of his "lack of kindness," the stranger cursed the young prince by turning him into a beast. So basically the moral behind this teaches children that if you don't let a total stranger sleep in your house for the night, you are essentially a monster.
Plus, if we look at the timeline, the prince would have been around eleven-years-old during this interaction. Isn't it a little harsh to turn a kid into a beast for not wanting to get murdered by a stranger?
We know this is a scene between a candlestick and a feather duster, but that doesn't change the fact that "no means no" regardless if you're a person or an enchanted object. In the scene, Lumiere the candle is trying to get it on with the sexy feather duster (because feather dusters are totally hot in the world of Disney, y'all).
Yet as the "Be Our Guest" singer is trying to score, the feather duster repeatedly says "no." Sure, she's giggling while she says it, but this doesn't change the fact that it's a pretty confusing message to send out to little kids. It's one thing for Gaston to be overtly sexually aggressive because his character is meant to be seen as the villain, but Lumiere is a character who is designed to charm our socks off, so this behavior just feels uncomfortable.
Belle may be intelligent, ambitious, and warm, yet the rest of the women in Beauty and the Beast are unfortunately reduced to stereotypes. The film seems to enforce the idea that women can either be sexless and matronly (Mrs. Potts) or airheaded bimbos (the young women in Belle's provincial town who are credited as "The Bimbettes"). The Disney film seems to subscribe to the belief that a multi-dimensional woman is a rare find and apparently comes once in a lifetime.
This is evident with Belle's character who is considered "special" within her town for not being a total one-dimensional stereotype like the rest. The fact of the matter is, women shouldn't be sorted into sexist categories as they seem to be in Beauty and the Beast.
There is no way around it, the Beast is a monster to Belle. Say what you want about how he's just stubborn because of the curse. It doesn't change the fact that he uses fear and terror to manipulate Belle into getting his way. Newsflash, kids: You should never terrorize your girlfriend after kidnapping her. It is improper kidnapping etiquette. Oh yeah, there's that too- you know, the fact that he kidnapped her. Red flag number one, folks! This is not the proper way to get a lady to fall for you.
For real, though, what sort of wiki-how has The Beast been reading to screw up this much? Yeah, sure, he eventually lets Belle claim the library as her own, but does The Beast seem like the kind of guy who actively reads books? It's not like he's making a huge sacrifice here.
Stockholm Syndrome occurs when a kidnapped individual strikes an alliance with their capture. Often this alliance can lead to the captive falling in love with their kidnapper as more a less a method of survival. Belle wouldn't have formed a connection with The Beast if he hadn't kidnapped her and that is pretty much the definition of Stockholm syndrome... a tale as old as time.
Many argue that this is not the case because she doesn't fall in love with him until after he lets her go, but still, this isn't a healthy way to start a relationship, guys. Imagine townsfolk at the local bars asking the happy couple how they met. Belle would say something like, "Well, it's kind of a funny story. He kidnapped me, but don't worry, it was sweet."
The moral of Beauty and the Beast is that it's your inner beauty that really counts... unless you're a woman. While Belle is able to accept the fact that her man doesn't have washboard abs or an Ashton Kutcher-Esque jawline, she on the other hand has to be beautiful because it seems to be a staple of her character.
After all, "it's no wonder that her name means beauty". We wonder what would happen if there was an adaptation to this story where the roles were reversed. If the woman was the "ugly beast" and the man was the beautiful one. That would certainly be interesting and it would spread the message that inner beauty is what counts for women as much as men.
Why do we see the beast transform back into a handsome prince if the whole moral behind the story is to focus on inner beauty rather than looks? Many people felt as though the message was hypocritical when the movie felt as though they had to make him handsome again for Belle to truly get her "happy ending."
Shrek, on the other hand, seemed to counter this Disney style of transformation and instead had the characters serve their happily ever after in ogre form. In their case, it was actually about inner beauty whereas Beauty and the Beast barely delivers the values it keeps preaching.
The internet seems to agree that Belle's dad, Maurice, is not the innocent man that he thinks he is. He's actually kind of the worst. First of all, he seems to promote the idea of Belle marrying Gaston because he's "handsome." What kind of father steers his daughter in the direction of a misogynist pig? Perhaps he didn't have bad intentions, but you can't deny that he is totally clueless toward the world around him.
And can we talk about how he barely even attempts to convince The Beast to pick him instead of Belle as his prisoner? Plus, he constantly puts his daughter in danger with his crazy inventions. Yeah, this guy isn't going to be receiving any "Father of the Year" awards any time soon.
The opening number of Beauty in the Beast has Belle singing about how basic her town is. She even says in the very beginning that she lives in a "little town" full of "little people." Little People? Isn't that a bit condescending, Belle? The princess goes on and on about how all the provincial people around her pretty much suck. But why do they suck? Because they can't afford to waste their day away getting lost in a good book? Unfortunately, Belle, most people have to work for a living to put food on the table. Does that make them "little people" because they have to make ends meet in order to survive? Genuinely curious.
Also, the town's people are so nice to Belle. They dedicate their entire morning to singing about how special and beautiful she is. They all seem to greet her with a friendly "good morning". The bookstore owner gives her free books. Why is this lady still complaining?
Unfortunately, Belle has a bad history of putting up with toxic men. Gaston as her first active suitor is not a good reference point. At the beginning of The Beast's relationship with Belle, he screams in her face and actively uses scare tactics in order to get her to oblige.
When he finally shows the slightest inking of kindness, (kindness meaning he feeds birds now and doesn't scream at Belle as much), Belle thinks she's fixed him and that this means he's "the one". It is a bad message to send out to young viewers that once a person is semi-nice to you after repeatedly showing signs of toxic behavior, it suddenly means you are meant to be with them.