Proof of Feminism and Chauvinism in Beauty and The Beast
Marian Belle is the main character, she lives with her father who is considered by the town a loony man therefore, Belle is also looked upon the town as being a little out of the ordinary. Even so, she is the most beautiful girl in the town, her name means beauty and it is shown with her wonderful appearance throughout the duration of the movie. Gaston a very courageous and dignified worrier, who is in love with Belle and wishes to marry her. Moreover every women and man in the town look up to him and would do anything for him. Nonetheless, Belle sees right through his beauty and recognizes him as a mean and conceded fool who does not know how to love. Meanwhile there is a prince in a near by castle who wakes up to a widow knocking on his door. When he answers she offers him a rose for shelter out of the cold. When he consistently said no the widow turned into a prices. He tried to apologize but it was too late. The curse of the flower turned him into a beast. Consequently, the curse can not be broken until he finds a woman to love him from within instead of just his outside appearance.
Little does the audience know that feminism is displayed throughout the entire movie, for example Belle is walking through town one day and I noticed vital parts of the film displaying old traditional methods of living with the man working for a living while the wife stays home and takes care of the house and the children. When I reiterated the part over and over I noticed more and more displays of such chauvinistic nature. For instance, It seemed very odd that the men of the town were only paying attention to the pretty women and saying hello to them. Not to mention, how the men ordered around the women like slaves. I totally disagree with this way of life and think Disney should have thought greatly before displaying such difference between women and men. Similarly, you have a scene with a widow holding about four kids begging a man for six cents in which the man was just shoving her off like a dog or cat. After all, this is just the first scene in the movie. Personally I never realized this horrible display of feminism until I paid a little closer attention to what is going on around the main characters.
Meanwhile, as Belle is finishing her walk through the chauvinistic town, Justin jumps in font of her grasping the book she was peacefully reading and says “Its not right for a women to read then they start to get ideas and thinking.” If this were a statement made by a stubborn political figure back in the 1800’s I would understand because that was just how things tend to work back then. However, this is a movie written in the 1990’s for children to watch seventy years after women got the vote and were recognized to be equal to men. Nonetheless, I probably doubt that most children who view this movie look at it in a chauvinistic way but if they did recognize the feminism towards women it would upset them. Adults on the other hand, pick up on these inessential parts of the movie and are struck with disappointment. As I viewed the movie and realized what was actually going on it hurt me to think that in such an innocent movie things of this nature take place. Indeed, this is just the first few signs of feminism. Sadly but surely the events that lead me to think of feminism and chauvinism we have just had a sample.
AS we go further in dept into the movie Justin proposes to Belle after very rudely forcing himself into her house. The proposal is a surprise to Belle but the whole town thinks of it as no big deal that she is oblivious to the proposal. As Justin is asking Belle to marry him he reminisces on how great their life would be together stating “Picture this my latest kill on the fire and my little wife massaging my feet, while the little ones play on the floor with the dogs, were going to have six or seven strapping boys like me.” Belle sneers at the comment and tells Justin that he is to good for her as she kicks him out of her house. This quote goes beyond explanation, you can just see how the man expects the woman to do all the dirty work including having 6-7 kids.
Similarly to women men in this movie also get a little bit of the short end of the stick in some aspects. For instance, Belle’s father is weird but did they have to create him so short and round. Also Gustans little servant as you could call him was created in many measures just like Maurice Belle. Likewise, to women the short ugly men are just characterized as loser’s and portray very odd roles in the movie. This is expected in some areas because that is just the way society views cartoons and movies. I do think that this can be avoided. For example, Belle’s father could have been a good-looking weird man but Disney had to make his appearance unforgivable ugly, short, and fat. Anyhow, the point of the movie is to teach children in general that looks are deceiving but look how the movie portrays its meaning. Unfortunately by making the short and ugly men wimps, therefore placing them last on the Todd pole.
Finally, the Beast a character who defines the word ugly and moreover, down right gruesome. Meanwhile, the Beast is a prince who at one time in his life was very spoiled and took everything for granted. Now paying the price for his uncaring actions in the past consequently, he must find a woman to love him for who he is inside and not his appearance from the outside. Fortunately, Belle’s father gets lost on his way to the fair and ends up at the Beasts castle. Surprisingly he is throne in jail. Belle is waiting at home when she notices her father’s horse straying in without her father. Belle convinces the horse to show her where her father is and she ends up at the castle as well. As Belle finds her father locked up in the tower cell, the Beast appears and asks her what she is doing there. Belle states you have to let my father go, convincing the Beast that she well take his place. So she did, and the Beast and Belle got to know each other pretty well. Until this point the Beast thought he had no chance with Belle because she is such a beautiful girl and he is so ugly. Fortunately Belle being a little out of the ordinary saw right through his beastly ways and found a magnificent man beneath. Nonetheless, Belle and the Beast fall in love and she kisses him at the end of the movie before he dies and he becomes a prince again.
The Prince is very beautiful when he appears in front of Belle, this signifies that beauty is not the best thing in life and one should never love based on just appearance. One thing I never understood about the movie when Belle loves the Beast so dearly did she never call him by name. Furthermore when the Prince comes out of the Beast after Belle kisses him the Beast states “Belle its me”, no name description even in such a vital most sensitive and loving part of the movie.
The fact that Disney exploits such ignorance or just pure chauvinistic attitude toward women treated in an equal way as men, and the fact that all the short, stumpy, and ugly men play such insignificant and non respected roles just shows kids that if they are a little fat and ugly that’s what they are going to end up like in life. Even though Disney has a great point in the aspect of seeing through the big harry monster it contradicts it self in the way it exploits other characters portrayed throughout the movie. I had no intent of finding such classless attitude toward women and men along with the repeated chauvinistic ways portrayed in a Disney film with such gratitude as I did in Beauty and the Beast.
Word Count: 1545