The notion that physical appearance is used as a measure for ugliness or good look has been used so frequently in the movie world. In many instances, physically unattractive individuals are made to believe that they have a negative impact on people who watch them as far as scariness is concerned. On the other hand, beauty is considered to be the hallmark of attractiveness, with many of the film personalities presented as beautiful having a field day in many aspects of life. Disney films present some of the myths of physical appearance in relation to achieving life’s desires and wants. For example, in the Beauty and The Beast, it could be interpreted to suggest that ugliness and beauty defines how we live. That is, they portray the need for physical transformation to achieve social status. This paper analyzes the film, Beauty and The Beast, in relation to the notion of physical appearance that has dominated our society’s way of life.
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Every one would agree with me that fairy tales related to beauty and the beast have been told over and over for many years. When Disney decided to make a movie version for this story, it was just a way of reinforcing a culture that emphasizes on physical appearance as the determinant of success or failure. In the Beauty and the Beast, the main character, Belle is a beautiful young girl who resides in a village together with her father. In her desire to see life in other places, she involves herself in reading a lot of books and written materials with stories of adventure. These literary works take her in an illusionary belief that life is beautiful outside her village. Along this plot is another huge man, Gaston, portrayed as strong. Gaston has developed interest in Belle, and wants to go ahead and marry her, something that the latter is against.
The other characters are the father and the beast, whose interaction suggests an image of mystery and wealth. Belle’s father set out a journey where he encounters a beast living in a mansion with everything that everyone would desire to have for a complete luxurious life. Before Belle’s father left home, his daughter had told him to bring her a rose when he comes back from the journey. The roses are in the Beast’s compound but the condition set by the owner (the beast) is that he either trades his life with a rose for her daughter, something that the daughter had to approve. But being a loving daughter, she could not see her father die and instead decides to go by herself. Trapped with the inability to escape from the beast after meeting some talking objects, she finds it difficult to stay without her father. Father’s effort to rescue her with the help of the villagers hits a snag as they dismiss his allegation of beast’s existence.
Gaston, a village hero who had a crush on Belle agree to help the father in his rescue mission, probably with the hope that if he becomes successful in the process she would agree to marry him. The villagers support Gaston. He is literally popular and everyone would want to see him marry the love of his life. Unfortunately, the beast kills Gaston, turns into a handsome prince and they live happily ever after.
This film clearly presents a fairy tale of beauty and ugliness. In essence, the notion that beauty and ugliness do not match as far as love and relationships are concerned is well reflected in the whole theme. The standard policy presented in Beauty and the Beast is that beauty and ugliness have become the norm for stereotypical judgment in terms of what to associate with. It has become a clear indicator of stereotypical lifestyle in our society. The beast’s physical body transformation that makes him handsome and attractive is portrayed as the reason why Belle has agreed to marry him. According to Shrek, the ability to transform our bodies determines the societal social structure. In fact, this kind of notion is highly entrenched in the society that it influences the way people relate and conduct themselves (Thompson, 2004). In Shrek’s view, people would do anything just to ensure they looked good so as to achieve the social transformation they desire and admire. The Beast desired and admired Belle, and because he had the ability to transform himself, he changes to a handsome prince. This transformation has attracted Belle’s attention and thus acceptance to marry him.
The use of physical appearance as a determinant of social class has been erroneously entrenched into our society. It has become the measure of success, forcing young people to do anything to look attractive. Basically, this kind of notion is entrenched through work of arts found in films and other literary works. Disney movies are just but a few of those films that have portrayed this deep routed culture. It is logical to acknowledge that there are many versions of the Beauty and The Beast, as far as the theme of beauty and ugliness is concerned. It has become an issue that we can see as the source of trauma and dissatisfaction among many individuals who seek physical transformation in order to achieve life’s success. In this version, success is seen through wealth and social status acquisition.
Thompson, J.K. (2004). Shrek, Attractiveness, and Appearance Stereotypes: A Make Ogre Fairy Tale, or Happily Ever After Redux? PsycCRITIQUES, Vol. 50 (3), 573- 579.
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