Last week, articles began to pop up about the boycott of Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast and I just can’t not talk about it. Why would anyone want to boycott a Disney movie? Because it slightly (trust me, it’s not that big a leap) altered the animated version of Gaston’s sidekick LeFou to make him openly gay in the live action film.
This was seen by some religious groups as “pushing an agenda” and “no longer a wholesome family film, as Disney used to do in the past.”
Boy, was someone not paying attention to Disney movies over the years…
Seems they conveniently forgot that racism, racial stereotypes, sexual harassment and attacks, death, orphans, sexist plot lines, statutory rape, and other horrifying tidbits that usually go right over children’s heads have all featured in Disney films over the years. In Beauty and the Beast alone, you have…
- an entire town of people who shun the intelligent and educated as odd and insane
- Gaston, Belle’s sexist, manipulative, devious, abusive, and dangerously obsessed stalker, who rallies the town into a murderous mob and tries to kill the man she loves
- three featherbrained beauties who forgive all of that because he’s just so dreamy
- the unscrupulous asylum director who locks up Belle’s somewhat quirky, but perfectly sane father for a pouch of coins
- and let’s not forget the Beast himself, who demands an exchange of Belle’s father for Belle herself. The entire length of their romance, she is his prisoner! It’s basically a fairy tale-ized case study on Stockholm syndrome.
But, apparently, that’s all acceptable, as long as no man openly shows romantic interest in another. Let that sink in for a second. Prejudice, hatred, abuse, stalking, misogyny, manipulation, and attempted murder are all acceptable, but one man crushing on another is pushing an agenda and no longer family friendly.
I honestly don’t even know where to start on this; it’s just too messed up for words. So let me just say thank you to Disney for using your platform to send a positive message for our society, subtle as it is. It’s a small step, but an important one. Thank you for showing children all over the world that it doesn’t matter whom you love, because love is universal. You chose the perfect medium to introduce it: a story whose core message is that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, and true love can overcome anything. But you need to do more. You’ve already empowered women so much with Frozen, Brave, and Maleficent, it’s time to give a voice to others who need it as well: give us a movie focused solely on an LGBTQ romance.
And thank you to all the detractors who made this movie front page news. Your intolerance shone a massive spotlight on something that might otherwise have been overlooked. Many people who might not have gone to see the movie before will do so now, just to show their support.
And if you still think LeFou’s sexual orientation is unacceptable in Beauty and the Beast, I offer you my own version of the fairy tale as an alternative. It’s still not family friendly, and you probably still won’t like it, but at least there’s no homosexuality in it.
To my own disappointment…