Essay on Gender Construction in The Beauty and the Beast Movie

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Middlebury College
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Gender stereotyping forms the core element in understanding the film, The Beauty and the Beast. The Disney film, Beauty and the Beast, that premiered in 1991 contemplated on how gender stereotypes influence the construction of ones roles as a male or female. Gender stereotypes of femininity and masculinity are used to appreciate the power relationships that exist between characters and reflect upon what it means to be male or female. In the Beauty and the Beast, femininity is emphasized as an alternative construction to hegemonic masculinity that emphasizes gender disparities and validates the construction of girls as objects of display and boys as subjects that wield power. Gender stereotypes in the Beauty and the Beast occurs through; Belle, a young French woman; Gaston, the films antagonist who views for Belles hand in marriage; and the Beast, who was a prince. The Beauty and the Beast are comprised of music that deploys the gender construction and the roles that are assigned to both male and female.

In the Disney film, the Beauty and the Beast, Belle acts as a woman and a princess who is viewed as an object. In the entire film, Belle practices loyalty to the male characters in her entire life. Gaston recognizes Belle as an object to be won and the prince perceives her as a property that belongs to the owner as a child belongs to the parents (Chow 2013). For the Prince, Belle is a prisoner controlled by the father and is free to be subjected to male hegemony and overbearing appearance. From all these perspectives of a woman by the different characters, a woman is regarded as inferior. Owing to the actions of these characters, emblematic of gender stereotypes, Belle epitomizes the role of an abuse victim, not only as a woman but also in her interactions with her male counterparts.

In the Beauty and the Beast, body language in shows a way in which closely related gender stereotypes becomes a substantial element of the structured gender constructions. In the entire presentation, Disney relates Belles feminine size to those of the male companions. Outwardly, Belles body assumes feminine characteristics and emphasizes on the viewers contemplation of her as a Disney model. Moreover, Belles feminine status further exposes her to gender discrimination. On the contrary, the body language of both the Beast and Gaston stresses on their masculinity and their ability to assume complete control of women.

As an outstanding victim of gender discrimination, Belles physique exposes her to subservience and inferiority from Gaston and the Beast. Body language entails an unspoken interdependence that relies on the body parts to pass information. Critically, Belles body language jettisons her in becoming a victim of gender abuse. Violence forms an integrated part of life and it gives a chronological justification of the need to maintain hegemony and control among the different gender. Typically, men hold powerful positions whereby violence is used as a strategy to access and maintain governance at the expense of women (Chow 2013). It is therefore true to say that women are common recipients of violence and this status reinforces inferiority.

Biological theory can be used to show gender orientation among female and male. Gender is perceived as a complex interaction that exits between an individuals construction of being male or female, ones internal sense of self as male, or female, and the external presentations and behaviors. Throughout the film, Belle is recognized as a female owing to her physical attributes. The psychological theory applies where male characters; Gaston and the Beast understand that their male position is permanent and stable.

The beauty and the beast present an analogy of how gender is structured between men and women. Through Belle, Gaston and Maurice, gender is constructed based on the notion of male hegemony and they believe that they were created to dominate over the female. Biological and the psychological theories help gender construction and stereotyping.



Chow, Jeremy. (2013). Beauty-ful Inferiority: Female Subservience in Disneys Beauty and the Beast. LUX: Transdisplinary Writing and Research from Claremont Graduate University, pp. 1-9.


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