Feminist Disney, Hey, so, I don't know if you've talked about this one yet or not, but I've seen other people do this and I wondered your opinion on Beauty and the Beast! I love it, but haven't seen it in a while, and was reading about it the other day when it struck me for the first time that, even though I don't think Belle's love for him is Stockholm at all, it's seriously problematic that he imprisons her hoping she'll love him later, and ultimately she does. Thoughts?
Hey, so, I don't know if you've talked about this one yet or not, but I've seen other people do this and I wondered your opinion on Beauty and the Beast!
I love it, but haven't seen it in a while, and was reading about it the other day when it struck me for the first time that, even though I don't think Belle's love for him is Stockholm at all, it's seriously problematic that he imprisons her hoping she'll love him later, and ultimately she does. Thoughts?

I haven’t seen it in a while either; one of a long list of films I must re-watch!  I’m a bad Disney “expert.”  

I agree it is very problematic and speaks to a larger re-occurring theme in Disney: the "You’re not my type, but you’ll become my type" relationship dynamic.    It plays out in Beauty and the Beast, Tangled, Princess and the Frog, et cetera.   It’s, presumably, intended as a source of character conflict in order to make the film’s resolution of love feel climatic to the audience, but it’s really not, I think, a healthy theme to keep repeating, especially for young and impressionable audiences.

It’s also very gender-specific, in that it’s usually the girls who find the boys more unlikeable/detestable; the boys either are sort of ambivalent or hope to ultimately win her affections.   I really don’t like what this says about how “ideal relationships” are supposed to function.   If you meet a guy (or person in general!) and you don’t like him/don’t get along with him/aren’t morally compatible with him, the solution should not be to try and fix him, or to stick it out until his character is changed by yours.   People always lament how women go for the “bad boys” instead of the “nice guys,” which is an over-exaggeration, but also speaks to the fact that women in our culture are taught to see men as something they are supposed to fix and nurture in the hopes of something better springing up, rather than as individuals they should accept or reject based on how they act/who they are/how they treat other people.   It really does a disservice to both sides.

Going back to Beauty and the Beast, the imprisonment adds a double layer of wtf to the situation.   It perpetuates that “nice guy” concept that if you can keep yourself in a woman’s company long enough/show her enough of yourself for long enough, she’ll eventually love you.   It also seems to imply, if we get a little generous with our extrapolation, that a woman’s preferences don’t really matter, or don’t really exist: the only difference between her saying yes or no is how long you bother her about it!   (I will say that theme is made less dire in this particular movie by the existence of Gaston, who is consistently rejected.)  

Beast/Adam also seems to have issues with this because of the spell- although he ends up loving Belle, he really tries to win her affections in the beginning because it will break the spell, not because he actually knows and likes her as a person.   (seems to sort of be a metaphor for the way in which being single is so shunned in our society that people  sometimes say they feel like they have to “take what they can get”!) And imprisoning someone is just messed up in itself but I don’t even know how to discuss that other than to say that it’s messed up.

(all that said, I do love that movie too, and when all is said and done the Beast is one of my favorite princes, but I just find these themes to be really troublesome.)

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    This is a film about a kidnapping where the hostage develops stockholm syndrome and Disney calls it “a love story”.
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    I haven’t seen it in a while either; one of a long list of films I must re-watch! I’m a bad Disney “expert.” I agree it...