Let’s Grow Up a Little
Unless you have been living under a rock, you will by now know about the new live action Disney remake of Beauty and the Beast that stars Emma Watson and Dan Stevens. As of recent there has been a huge uproar about this movie because of one of the single dumbest reasons I can think of. That reason is because of the character LeFou, played by Josh Gad, and the fact that he kinda has some “I like you as more than a friend” feelings towards the big burly Gaston, played by Luke Evans. In LeFou’s defense Luke Evans is attractive and I don’t care if he’s gay or not. He was great as Bard the Bowman. I digress though. Let’s take a bit of a look at the story of Beauty and the Beast and learn why everyone that is throwing a fit about it needs to grow up and learn to throw a fit about other things in the movie than one character.
The original story that both the animated and live action Disney films are based on is a French fairy tale called “La Belle et la Bête“. Here is a “short” summery of this story.
Beauty lives with her five siblings, her being the most beautiful. Her father is a rich merchant that’s wife has died. He eventually loses all his riches and the family must move to a small farm and do farm work. This causes Beauty’s siblings to treat her even worse than they did before. Eventually one of the father’s lost ships returns. The father asks his children what they would like him to bring back. Beauty asks for a rose since none grow where they live and the others ask for expensive goods such as jewelry, weapons, and clothes. On his way home, the father gets lost in a storm in the woods. He is invited to stay in a castle until the storm passes. As he is leaving, he takes the most beautiful rose he can find from the rose garden. However, the Beast gets angry because he sees that as one of him most possessions and goes to kill the merchant who says he wanted the rose as a gift for his youngest daughter. The Beast says he will allow him to take it to Beauty, but that he has to give him one of his daughters in exchange for it. The Beast also sends jewels, clothing, and riches with the merchant who returns home. Beauty eventually finds out the secret about exchanging the rose for a daughter from her father. The brothers say they will go fight the Beast. However, Beauty says she will go and stay there. The Beast treats her well and asks her to marry him every night though every time she refuses. After several months of being there she says she is homesick and the Beast allows her to return home for a week, but that she must take an enchanted mirror that allows for communication between them and an enchanted ring that upon being turned so many times would return her to the castle instantaneously. Her sisters become jealous and trick her in to staying longer than agreed. She becomes guilty about breaking her promised. Upon using the mirror to check on him back at the castle she sees him almost dead from loneliness and heartbroken by her breaking the promise by the rose bushes. She uses her ring and returns to the castle using the ring. She cries over him and when her tears fall on him he transforms into the Prince and we learn about the fairy that turned him into the Beast for his selfish ways and not letting her in from the rain by a curse that could be broken by finding true love.
Sounds sort of familiar right. Also kind of dark wouldn’t you say? Notice some things missing? Some of the characters in the Disney versions aren’t in the original story. Namely, the characters of LeFou and Gaston are completely absent. Rather, they were created for this film to serve as the ultimate villains, but are they really?
Gaston and LeFou are interesting when you stop and look at their characters closely and even more so when you put them in comparison to the Beast. I mean, sure the Beast does eventually become the handsome and kind prince, but he is also kind of a manipulative jerk. Sure, you can go, but I want your daughter or I’m gonna kill you. Don’t touch that or I’ll kill you. Screaming and throwing things isn’t what anyone should want in a relationship.
Now look at Gaston. Gaston is a manly man. He likes hunting and, while he isn’t the brightest light on the Christmas tree, he seems to be a decent guy. I mean the WHOLE town likes him. Nobody seems to like the Beast and are, in general, afraid of him. Gaston has his flaws, but everyone has those. His main problem is that he loves Belle and doesn’t want her to be with the Beast. Of course, with how volatile and abusive the Beast seems to be I don’t blame him on that.
LeFou is there to help him out in his endeavors and he is far from the bumbling idiot that everyone makes him out to be. He’s actually pretty smart when you take a close look at his actions. Several times he is shown to be pretty sneaky and quick minded. At times, he comes off as being the smarter one between the two and he just might be. Now, whether or not he is attracted to Gaston doesn’t really, and shouldn’t really, play a big part of the story. I mean, he is what he is. You’re not gonna change that. If you can seriously listen to the song “Gaston” and think to yourself that he is one of the straightest characters you have got something wrong with your brain. Also, he isn’t the first Disney character in recent years that might be on the LGBT spectrum. Take a closer look at another movie that Josh Gad is in. You know “Frozen”, that movie that everyone loves except for me. Watch that again and see if you can find some not quite straight characters in that.
My biggest beef with people throwing a fit about the new characterization of LeFou and being on the LGBT spectrum is that is one of the tamest “controversial issue” shown in this movie and in the original Disney version of the fairy tale. In the original version there were no real villains like Gaston and LeFou. Fairy tales are mean to teach children a lesson, not make them feel all happy, warm, and fuzzy. They are kind of frightening. The frightening thing about the Disney version of these stories is what I wrote my term paper in my Philosophy and Fiction class on, these stories teach children unrealistic things about the world and that some things are acceptable when they shouldn’t. Would you want your daughter staying in an abusive relationship? No? That’s what this story teaches children. Don’t worry about his abuse, you can change him with your love is NOT the message we should be teaching children. Belle/Beauty eventually becomes accustomed to his mental abuse and tendency to have temper tantrums that would put any 5 year old in an ice cream shop that wants a double dip instead of a single dip to shame. That my dear friends is called Stockholm Syndrome and is rather a dangerous situation to be in. So, why are we showing children that that’s okay? Because it makes for a good story? Please! It’s about as bad as the “Fifty Shades” Trilogy without the porn. The lead male is abusive towards the lead female and that’s what it is. Stop glamorizing it and teaching children it’s alright to be in those situations. If I had a daughter in that situation I would take her out of it myself whether she wanted to be in it or not. Oh, you want to claim she’s an adult and she can do what she wants? Belle is 17 in Beauty and the Beast and younger in the original fairy tale. She’s not an adult. Almost none of the Disney Princesses are. They’re underage girls that need to actually grow up in the same way their audiences do.
I’m a Christian and most people that I have a conversation about this topic seem to tell me I’m not because I don’t see the problem with the upcoming film’s portrayal of LeFou. Sorry, I hate to tell you this, but I am still a Christian despite that. Here is my view on this whole fiasco and why I think everyone needs to shut up about it. So what if there is a LGBT character? Why do you care? People of the LGBT community are people to. I was under the impression that the Bible taught that we are to “love one another”. Am I wrong in that? Maybe I’m reading a different Bible and it is supposed to say love one another unless they are different from you and then you hate them for no reason other than that. Oh, I’m not? So the people that claim to be Christian and are hating people just because they are different from themselves are sinning. I got you. You are supposed to love the person and hate the sin. You might not agree with their lifestyle, but for the most part, they aren’t shoving it in your face and making you believe that they are right about it. Nope, I think that is the government. You see, this is one of those things that I don’t think should be a political issue. You want to marry someone of your own gender. By all means, go for it. As long as you aren’t forcing me to do the same when I am not attracted to other women we’re all good.
So, go see the movie, don’t go see the movie. Just do what you want. I’m not stopping you from doing either. Another thing to keep in mind is that it’s just a movie. It’s not even based in fact. It’s based on a fairy tale. A fairy tale that was meant to prove a point. That point is that true beauty is in the heart and not in one’s appearance. The guy that I find to be absolutely amazing is in my opinion super cute and he is one of the most genuinely kindhearted gentleman I’ve ever met. One of my friends thinks he is kinda different looking, but thinks he’s a pretty nice guy from what she can tell. To each their own. I can find aesthetic qualities in a whole range of people. That being said, you can be a pretty attractive guy and be a total jerk. That is what makes a person ugly and that is what the original fairy tale was meant to teach. Everyone loves who they love and outward appearance isn’t what you should base your decision on, but rather how they treat you and those around them. I don’t know about you, but I would rather be poor and live in a box with someone who loves me and treats me with respect than have someone that showers me with gifts and lives in a castle that treats me like garbage.