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Beauty & The Beast, the New Disney, and Their Implications

Posted on: Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

This Friday, March 17th, is the long-awaited premier of the new live-action version of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. There has been a significant amount of buildup and suspense leading up to the release of this film for various reasons. The original animated film is still one of Disney’s most successful productions, and this new take on the story and its well-known visual cues came with some risks. The production used very new and untested technology to digitally create the Beast, the appearances of some of the key characters like the teapot were altered, and the roster of roles features an openly gay Le Fou, which is a progressive and entirely new step for Disney. With all this being said, it is important to consider the fact that Disney movies have not always had the tendency to represent diverse, realistic, and non-conforming perspectives…


Body Image

The classic portrayals of Disney characters typically represented very uniform and, often, unattainable physical appearances. The princesses had very narrow waists, thin arms, large breasts, and exhibited a lack of cultural diversity. Additionally, the physical appearances of princesses often had something to do with their fate in the movies and their plots.


Gender Roles

Like the notions of body image in classic Disney movies, gender norms and roles were also represented fairly rigidly and stereotypically. The princesses have often been passive and weak, and the male leads have often been strong and ended up as the hero of the plot. Additionally, the happy endings in these films often are determined by the princess and male lead becoming a couple.


Romance & Love

The idea of “love at first sight” has often been represented in Disney movies. Many of the romantic relationships portrayed in the films illustrate couples who do not appear to get to know each other well, and the princesses are consistently fearing being unhappy as a result of being alone.



At the end of the day, you can now see some major steps that many Disney movies have taken in recent years to create a more well-rounded and diverse representation of its characters! For example, the movie Frozen was an incredible departure from many of Disney’s previous portrayals of females, with a very self-reliant and confident, and it earned $1.2 billion at the box office partly because of this.

Like Frozen, the new take on Beauty and the Beast has been modernized and shows a more representative picture of the real world. What do you think about Disney movies and their representation of body image, gender roles, and love? Will you go see Beauty and the Beast?

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