Beauty and the Beast VS Hideous fanfictions

[Article previously published in Italian here. English translation made by Spectrethief, with the revision of JoSeBach and Evgenij.]

Although we have already talked about it, we decided to write a short article about this theme.

The majority of you most likely have at least heard of Beauty and the Beast, the famous Disney film, based on the homonymous classic fairy tale. The theme of this story is to go beyond superficial appearances and to learn to actually know others.

This is particularly noticeable with the two male main characters: the Beast, who at first is fierce and brutal but then reveals his inner beauty, and Gaston, who starts as a handsome and virile man and then shows off his brutal side.

A quick glance is enough to notice that Gaston has the typical characteristics of the bad boy (albeit in a lightened version, don’t forget that this film is for a very young audience): arrogant, brazen, presumptuous, violent, uncaring of everything, interested in Belle only for her physical appeal, courted by the generic blonde floozies who would die for him and revered by the whole village.

This attitude of his can be seen in many scenes: when he points his rifle at Belle in order to refer to her (he calls her his prey, like a perfect bad boy), when he blocks her to the wall stating that she will marry him, in the scene of the song that glorifies him, etc.

For instance, this same song, whose chorus says “no one [verb at random] like Gaston”, praises him if he was a descended god, in the Italian version there is also a phrase that defines him as a REAL man.

Then, when the generic floozies surround him (calling him a charming brute) he doesn’t reject them by saying things like “no thanks, I love Belle!”. It seems like a lightened version of the bad boy who has sex with every girl, despite he insists Hope must be his, but woe to her if she dares to flirt with others.

Should I continue with the similarities with the typical protagonist of the despicable fanfictions we analyzed?

Now let’s consider Belle’s character, who resembles the typical female main character, often referred with the moniker Hope: beautiful, kind, altruistic, sunny, cultured, despised by generic blondy girls, and everyone points out that she is different.

However Belle is coherent.

Hope claims to read a lot, telling us things like “as you can imagine I’m a nerd”, she claims to have read so many books that she lives in a bookstore, but shows absolute ignorance in basic topics, such as the difference between toxic and healthy relationships. 

In a nutshell she is like: “Hi, I’m Hope, and to show you that I’m different and better than the other girls I say that I read a lot, without mentioning a single booktitle!”

Hope also identifies all other women as sluts, unlike Belle who at most says that someone is superficial or closed-minded. Indeed, she calls Gaston simply “rude” after he threw the book in the mud saying that women should not read, otherwise they shall begin to think.

Belle maintains her altruism and will to help, while it’s not so rare for Hope to cover the bad boy, even going so far as to confidently say that the fact that he killed a poor man and hid the corpse does not make him a criminal (as it happens in Danger’s saga). The absurdity and sadism expressed by the female main character in some of these fanfictions resemble various symptoms of mental disorders such as sociopathy.

But let’s get to the final point: in these fanfictions, the bad boy is seen as the beast to be redeemed, but this is not the case.

First of all, the Beast of the fairy tale actually becomes kinder and kinder, he feels the need to do good to Belle, to make her happy. He even lets her go for her sake.

In these fanfictions, however, the bad boy says that love means wanting at all costs someone and keep them for himself only.

The Beast also learns the value of mercy: he does not kill Gaston because Belle begs him not to do so, looks him in the eye, reads his terror, hears his pleas. That’s when the Beast’s gaze seems to say “What am I doing?”.

He then lets him go, despite Gaston attempting to assassinate him while he did not even want to protect himself, and only accidentally kills him after the man stabbed him in the back, plunging Gaston into an abyss, just following suit Disney’s tradition.

Looking back at the clash between the two, we see that the Beast reduces Gaston to impotence after the latter shouts “Belle is mine!”. Thus, it is even possible that before the Beast was holding back and was aiming only at disarming or knocking Gaston out.

The difference is obvious: Gaston’s “love” grounds on possession, while the Beast’s love is based on making his significant other happy.

It follows that the stereotyped female main character, alter ego of the author, is not the Belle countepart of the story (which instead would be referred to either as a bigot or a slut, because on the one hand they do not want to have sex with Gaston, and because on the other hand Gaston flirts with them), but this stereotyped character is more akin to resemble the generic blonde floozy. The only difference is that they first put up a brief and symbolic resistance, and then fall into Gaston’s arms, while showing a self-love, honesty and common sense comparable to LeTont’s, who in the fable is the emblem of the fool who wags his tail behind the manipulator hoping to get benefits.

I conclude with a question: when does Hope see beyond a facade, if we are constantly told how handsome the bad boy is? Isn’t, after all, keeping forgiving only the handsome guy while despising all the other boys the most superficial thing one can do?



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