Belle The Bookworm?

Disney’s version of Beauty and the Beast was touted as a modern feminist retelling of the ancient story, in that Beauty read (gasp) books. What a very emancipated and independent heroine she must be! But wait just a moment: was she reading works of great literature or mighty erudition? Or was she perhaps perusing practical manuals, such as might help her fellow-villagers grow better potatoes or save more women in childbirth? No, she was not. This great gift of literacy, that in her own eyes set her so far above the village swains who ventured to set their caps at her, was devoted to the consumption of romances.

So, let us see if we have this right: she scorned the very idea of a passionate love and marriage with the real blacksmith in favour of reading about passionate love and marriage with an as yet imaginary prince. But this is not an exercise of intellect, merely an obsession with social climbing; what she really wanted was not the passionate love and marriage, but the prince’s other accoutrements. For lack of proof that princes are better in the sack than blacksmiths, this has to mean his money.

It would have been only natural if the villagers, disgusted at this snobbish gold-digger in their midst, had burned all the books in the county. Instead, Beauty ends up in a position to say, “I told you so” to the peasants, because she does in fact land herself a prince. And no doubt she never opened a book again, since all she ever wanted to read about in the first place was now her reality – she was rich. We can only hope that she lived miserably ever after.

Posted on April 15, 2009 at 12:02 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink

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  1. Written by Urban Djin
    on April 16, 2009 at 01:41

    “We can only hope that she lived miserably ever after. ”

    How could it be otherwise? Just look at the prince’s top-heavy physique. How long can it be before he starts experiencing debilitating back problems? She’ll have to do EVERYTHING for him. He’ll just lay on his back, perfectly still, during coitus. And he won’t just die and get it over with. Soon she’ll be hanging around the stables towards evening waiting for the blacksmith and reading about poison in the castle’s library. They deserve each other.

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