I Love Beauty & The Beast, But It Teaches Horrible Life Lessons

Photo: Photofest.
Following the release of the first stills from the upcoming live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, excitement levels are at a record high. Yellow dresses are making a comeback and before you know it, everyone you know will be greeting you by shouting, "Bonjour!" (Prediction: That will get old, fast.)

Personally, I love Beauty and the Beast. It's probably my favorite Disney film of all time. But if I'm being honest, there are certain elements of the animated classic, which turns 25 years old this month, that I don't feel the need to relive. Specifically: The retro life lessons it has imparted to generations of impressionable young ladies.

This movie teaches little girls that they'll literally be able to change the men who treat them badly into Prince Charming and live happily ever after in an enchanted palace filled with candelabras that speak with French accents. This is blatantly false. The men who treat you badly will not, in fact, turn out to be handsome royalty. They will continue to be assholes. Leave them. You can do better. Furthermore, what does Belle do all day? Does she just read? How can I get that gig?

I'm not the only one with questions. Emma Watson herself has stated that it was important for Belle to have a backstory in the new adaptation. "There was never very much information or detail at the beginning of the story as to why Belle didn’t fit in, other than she liked books. Also, what is she doing with her time?'" Watson asked. See? Emma gets it.

Now, we invite you to relax. Let us pull up a chair as we proudly present this slideshow of truly questionable teachings put forward by this tale as old as time. Be our guest.
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You Can Change A Man Who Treats You Like Shit

Oh, to be a fly on the wall on the day someone at Disney proclaimed: "I have a great idea! Let's make a movie about Stockholm Syndrome — the kids will love it!"

After enduring what seems like an eternity of abuse, Belle falls in love with the Beast, thus forever ensuring that millions of little girls would believe it normal to have feelings for a man who treats them like crap.

Exhibit A: This scene. How long would you stay with a dude who eats like that?
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You Are Beautiful, Therefore You Are Valuable

This is the story of a girl so beautiful that her first name is literally Belle. She's also smart, a fact this film hammers over and over again by depicting her with "her nose stuck in a book."

No matter that all she seems to read are fairy tales about knights in disguise rescuing hapless damsels. She's a beautiful nerd, which simultaneously makes her the perfect potential wife, but also a social pariah.
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If A Man Doesn't Get What He Wants, He Will Hurt You & Your Family

To make matters worse for Belle, she's caught the eye of the town fuckboy. Unfortunately for him, she has better things in mind for her future than darning his socks and breeding 12 boys for him to take hunting. Basically, this movie is teaching young girls that if you reject the advances of a man, he'll threaten to lock your father up in an asylum, publicly shame you, and round up a mob to kill your boyfriend. Oh, and there's nothing you can do to stop him, because you're a woman and therefore need a man to save you.

This isn't so much a bad life lesson as it is a sad one. Some men do in fact resort to mental, and even physical violence when rejected. The problem here is that Beast is no better. He and Gaston are both abusers.
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Inanimate Objects Sing & Dance With Impunity

Why does no one question the fact that a clock is serving them tea? I've been to France and I'm pretty sure the pouf didn't bark at me. I definitely don't remember my dresser picking out my outfits (although that would have been welcome).

Children, this doesn't happen. Put down the lamp. It won't serenade you.
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A Father's Obsession Matters More Than His Daughter's Safety

No offense, but Maurice is clearly the worst. Does the world really need a wagon-shaped wood-chopping machine, Maurice? When you really think about it, he's kind of a bad father.

With zero regard for the fact that his daughter has just been harassed by a large man who wants to marry her by force, dear old daddy sets off for an inventor's contest, leaving her alone. Obviously, he gets lost on the way, even though his horse told him it wasn't that way. Typical Maurice.

Ultimately, Belle is forced to trade places with him in captivity — not cool, dad.

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Don't Be Different, Because Your Town Will Try To Kill You

Why is this town so shaming? I get that it probably isn't pleasant to find out that your overlord is a prince who was cursed to live as a furry, horned animal for dissing an enchantress, but does that really warrant having a mob go after him with pitchforks?

Weren't all medieval princes assholes? Henry VIII had two of his six wives beheaded and no one tried to overthrow him.

(Side note: J.K. Rowling totally stole the idea for Sirius Black's enchanted two-way mirror from this movie, right?)
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