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Gender and Race Issues in the Movie "Beauty and the Beast"

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Beauty and the Beast (1991) is one of the popular movies produced by the Walt Disney Feature Animation. Disney characters tend to be evidence of racism, personality and appearance. Their movies have notoriously been laden with gender stereotype.

In the movie, traditional gender role are clearly distinguished between Gaston and Belle at the first few scenes. Gaston is the stereotypical man. He is a muscular, handsome, energetic and the type of person many girls expect but Belle is not attracted to him at all. Belle can be viewed as the stereotypical girl in the movie. She is simple, well-behaved, self-less, and stuck in a never ending day dream. She literally walks through the streets and sings about how unique she is, painfully conscious that “there must be more to this provincial life” (unlike the old plebs getting on with their boring old work). Despite these traditional ‘feminine’ elements and female representations, the audience soon learns that Belle is different from the other women in town.

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Even her village where she lives, the traditional idea that women should not be educated or independent is confirmed in the behavior of the townspeople or woman have to marry and care their family, manage household affairs and do houseworks but Belle refutes it.

Filmmakers decided to the actress and singer Paige O’Hara because they liked having a female protagonist “sounded more like a woman than a young girl”. According to co-director Kirk Wise, O’Hara was given the role because “she has a strange voice, a voice she will use and that can make her a special person, this reminiscent of actress and American singer Judy Garland. Benson was once up for the role of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars. He was an unlikely choice for the voice of the Beast as Gaston, but the filmmakers thought he brought out the character’s underlying youth and humanity.

I think this is a film that depicts gender and race because it is based on the real story in the same year. Petrus, who is a Hispanic man with hypertrichosis, but after difficulties and challenges, he finally found a wife (Queen Catherine) accept the appearance to marry and living with him. In my personal opinion, film’s gender and race are part of developing movies. Movies are a world in which there is a reflection of society, way of life, literature and reality in life. Thanks to it, can convey the message to life. I have seen a lot of films and they have added as developed about gender, race and LBGT characters. But, the role and power of women as well as the equality of women have not been mentioned much in the movies.

When I was kid, i watched a lot of movies, especially of Disney movies. From the beginning I was extremely interested in the film caused the unique advertising image with a girl beautiful girl and a beast. However, after watching, personally I quite like messages that the movie is being transmitted to the audiences but I think it’s not really appropriate for kids because a few scenes about Gaston are quite violent and sexual orientation.


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