The Real Progressiveness of The Beauty and the Beast

 

Judging by ticket sales numbers and the packed theater that we encountered Saturday morning, it seems that the majority of movie goers have chosen to ignore calls from ultra-conservatives to boycott Disney’s new live action remake of Beauty and the Beast.  If you missed it, the “controversy” surrounds villainous sidekick LeFou, played by the voice of Olaf, Josh Gad, Disney’s first openly gay character.  Apparently there are some that are upset at Disney for trying to push their LGBT agenda on our poor, unsuspecting children.

 

Lefou
Disney promo – Beauty and the Beast LeFou

 

My child was completely oblivious.  LeFou acts stereotypically effeminate, stares longingly at his good buddy Gaston (Luke Evans), and dances with another man for less time than it took me to type this sentence.  If I hadn’t been looking for it, it’s possible I would have been just as unaware.

To tell the truth, it wan’t even the gayest thing that we watched together this week.  During a recent episode of the cartoon Star vs the Forces of Evil, one of the characters looks around at a boy band concert to find that everyone else in the audience is part of a couple and kissing their partners, including two same sex couples. The main character in Nickelodeon’s The Loud House has a best friend whose parents are a gay, interracial couple.

One of the main story lines of this season of Supergirl has revolved around the coming out of Alex Danvers, adoptive sister of Supergirl Kara Danvers, and her relationship with policewoman Maggie Sawyer.  After watching the episode where they officially became a couple, it led to this conversation:

“Wait, girls can have girlfriends, not just boyfriends?”

“Absolutely.  People don’t choose who they love.”

“Oh, OK. Why isn’t Wonder Woman ever on this show?”

“I don’t know honey. That’s a great question.”

 

supergirl
CW promo ep 2.13

 

There is a moment in Beauty and the Beast that I think is important, one that matters precisely because it has evoked no controversy whatsoever that I have heard. When the curse is finally lifted and The Beast reverts back to his human form, so too do all his servants. This leads to joyous reunions between the wardrobe, Madame de Garderobe,  ( Audra McDonald ) and her harpsichord husband Cadenza ( Stanley Tucci ) and the candelabra Lumiere ( Ewan McGregor ) and his wife the feather duster Plumette ( Gugu Mbatha-Raw). Its a more romantic moment than anything that happens between the titular characters and departs from the cartoon by showing both of these couples to be inter-racial. This is something that shouldn’t be a big deal, but not very far in the past would have led to calls of boycott of its own.

As absurd as I find some of the things that people are still outraged by, our children are being exposed to more diversity than ever before, both on screen and off.  How they react to that diversity will be determined by how we react to it.  Sometimes the biggest sign of progress is when there is no reaction at all.

 

 

 

 

33 thoughts on “The Real Progressiveness of The Beauty and the Beast”

  1. You made some good points. I especially like the last few lines of this post. Children do look to us for our reactions. And why react at all?
    Good job!
    BTW – I went to see this with my three daughters (youngest being 14). We throughly enjoyed the show. It was very well done.

  2. Hmm. Maybe, it’s just the the Religious Wrong don’t go to movies in general, so the effects of a boycott can’t be seen. (You can’t boycott what you never do. Unless you just want to make the media take notice.)

  3. I just love how acknowledging they exist, or giving them some representation is an AGENDA???? There’s a lot of very small minded bananas on this planet. Not gay myself but I do know they’re out there…so why not in a Disney film? #KCACOLS

    1. Its absurd. I’m not really sure what sort of evil message they thought Disney was trying to send, but I missed it

  4. Hooray- loved this article. It’s just shocking that some people are still aghast at OHMYGOD- a gay character. Can’t wait for the day that someone’s sexuality is irrelevant. Also can’t wait to see the film. And yes love Supergirl too & love that my daughter hasn’t batted an eyelid at Alex & Maggie.

  5. We went to a wedding recently, a close friend was marrying a woman, although my son knew these women well and had seen them together he was surprised they were getting married. My son is 7. He looked at me and said Oh can girls marry girls and I said yes, then he asked if boys could marry boys, I said yes, he said YAY so I can marry my best friend when I am older, it was so cute! #anythinggoes

    1. I think kids of his and my daughter’s age are one day going to look back and wonder what all the fuss was about.

  6. Several of my best friends are gay and my children happily accept that Uncle David has a boyfriend and might marry him one day. No funny questions asked here at all. My daughter didn’t noticed La Fou’s “camp” behaviour and didn’t query it.

    1. children have no preconceived notions about what is “wrong” or “gross” until they are told that. Mine won’t be hearing it from me

  7. We’ve come a long way, and we are moving in the right direction. It takes some people longer but most people have made great strides. Some people grew up in a family that had a very different attitude and it’s not easy to suddenly change your view point. Especially in families that just haven’t had much experience with diversity. I think we just need to be patient and keeping teaching our children about acceptance. Have you seen the Ted Talk from the lady that grew up as a Westborough Baptist? (I might be spelling that wrong)With some kindness and compassion, people eventually helped her changed her mind and she had to abandon her family. It was a powerful talk. I’m so glad and grateful that my kids have already attended one same sex wedding and will be attending another one this year. I’ll find the link and come back.

    1. I agree. It is our example that will teach our children how to react to things that they might consider different or not what they are used to. There will always be those that grow up surrounded by hate, but I think the younger generation can give us hope

    1. Thanks, I’ll check it out. These Westboro people have always fascinated me with the audacity of their hatred

  8. I think that these are learned behaviours and I absolutely agree with you that our kids take theyr cues from us. If they see us react it draws their attention and they react. If we do nothing, it doesn’t even occur to them than anything unusual is going on. #KCACOLS

  9. my inner 7 year old is super excited for this film! we went to go to it the other day and it was sold out and the only other showing meant id be up til gone midnight and the mum in me cant do that anymore! #anythinggoes

  10. I was totally oblivious to all this when we watched this, lol. Me, my husband, and my three children didn’t even think about any of it. Although, we did find it funny that Cogsworth wasn’t exactly thrilled about seeing his own wife at all! Ooops!

    We also watch Supergirl and my children don’t bat an eyelid at Alex and Maggie. My five year old asked me questions last year about whether or not boys could marry boys and girls marry girls and I was as honest as I would have been about any topic – obviously keeping it to a five-year-old’s wave length. I always think that honesty is the best policy and I think they follow our lead. My husband and I would be friendly with anyone – regardless of gender/age/religion/ethnicity/sexual preference because we don’t even think about this sort of thing, unless it is raised or discussed (a bit like you mentioned in relation to LeFou – not noticing if you hadn’t been looking) – it just doesn’t matter to us, it’s purely down to how we feel about the person. That’s not to say we like everyone, but we show respect for everyone, I mean you either get along with people or you don’t!

    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes

    1. Thats the attitude I am trying to convey. Its OK to not like somebody, but have it be for them, not for what they look like or any other reason. I want her to judge people based purely on their actions. I want everybody to judge people purely on their actions

  11. Great post. Children are so accepting of what they see around them, like you say, it’s us that do the reacting and that’s what they learn from. I agree that no reaction is the best reaction, making an issue of it only turns it into an issue. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday

  12. The thing that made me laugh is that it’s okay for a woman to fall in love with a giant beast but not one guy to be gay. kids really don’t give a crap about what adults are doing. My niece once made the doll she was playing with marry a camel. #kcacols

  13. My son’s been asking lots of questions about marriage recently, and so we’ve discussed the fact that boys can marry boys and girls can marry girls. I love how open-minded he is about it all, he understands at 5 that love is love. You don’t choose who you fall in love with, it just happens. You fall in love with the person, not their gender. Why can’t some adults understand that! #KCACOLS

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