Beauty and the Beast: Why I absolutely hate the message it sends to girls
Tale as old as time, but the tune is totally wrong: Girl falls for guy who's really, really bad for her, with the hope that she will be the one to make him change — and he does! In real life, that always ends badly, but in fairy tales like Beauty and the Beast, it actually happens. And that's what's wrong with what these stories teach our daughters about love.
Let me be blunt: the Beast is a brutal jerk. He is constantly rude to Belle, refuses to feed her, freaks out when she goes into his favorite room, hurls so much verbal abuse at her that she flees into a wolf-infested forest where she is almost eaten alive, and only starts being nice to her when she literally saves his life.
Not that her alternative, Gaston, is any better. He is manipulative, egotistical, vain, rageful, plotting and even murderous. He tries to have her father committed to a mental institution so she will be forced to marry him, then tries to kill the Beast when things don't go his way.
How could Belle possibly choose between two such charming fellows (even if one reportedly will be played by Ryan Gosling in an upcoming live-action remake)? But choose she does, and as we all know, she chooses the Beast. After all, he does turn into a hot, rich prince at the end, all because Beauty falls in love with him for his "personality" despite the fact that he's a raging asshole.
And therein lies the worst lesson of this fairy tale: Hang in there with that abusive dickhead long enough, and he will totally change if you love him sufficiently! It's gross and it's a dangerous message to send to our daughters.
How about girl meets boy who treats her with kindness, dignity and respect, and they live happily ever after? Guess that wouldn't make nearly as interesting a movie — but it makes for a far healthier relationship and happier life.