Beauty and the Beast Revisited
I watched Beauty and the Beast on Saturday night for the first time in years. I really enjoyed it. I was having a nostalgic moment. Re-living a little childhood. And getting a crush on the Beast — all the while realizing that he reminded me a bit of my college boyfriend. Whom I was also feeling a little nostalgic about. Interesting coincidence, eh?
I know the idea of the tale is to teach kids not to judge things by their outer appearance. And as superficial as our culture is getting I do think it’s a good lesson that needs to be hammered home in as many ways as possible. But while I was watching it I could help but feel that maybe the lesson had gotten a bit to specific.
The Disney version of the story really seemed to be teaching women (small girls) to explore beyond the surface and encouraging men to pursue women who are beautiful even if you think they are considered weird.
And I wonder if we really need either of those lessons in modern-day America.
Men already seem to put aside every other element of women and pursue them primarily (or at least preliminarily) based on their appearance. And woman are far less likely too eliminate a man based solely on looks. So maybe this tale did it’s job and now it needs to be reconsidered in order to do another job.
(Of course there are other elements I take issue at. Like the fact that the girl who likes to read is weird. Or that a “provincial life” of simplicity that isn’t urban is fundamentally lacking something important. But on to my main point.)
Maybe what our culture really needs is to flip that fairy tale around and encourage the men to go beyond appearances to find the heart of a woman. Perhaps even encourage the women to give the seemingly odd men a chance.
Because really, if the Beast had been a woman, don’t you think she would have wound up single and alone watching the china sing for her?