Masculinity in Beauty and the Beast

Document Type:Thesis

Subject Area:English

Document 1

However, this perspective of men in the society has gradually changed and new developments made on the aspects that define a man. There have been texts and films that have conceptualized the idea of masculinity by explaining and defining the term in their own perceptions. Among these texts and films are Ken Gillam and Shannon Wooden’s “Post-Princess Models of Gender”, Michael Kimmel’s “Gender, Class and Terrorism” and the film Beauty and the Beast, which will be discussed in this paper to illustrate on the impact that masculinity has on the society and its effects on gender roles. Most lay man definitions of masculinity would simply identify it with being a man, however, at a deeper level; it is not just being male but having the attributes that make up a man, for example, physical strength, brevity, a sense of dominance among others. Others might define masculinity as being aggressive and a heterosexual. In the movie Beauty and the Beast, the concept of masculinity has been vastly explored, from the strength held by the beast to the dominating nature shown by Gaston. The story follows a prince who was cursed to turn into a beast until a time when he would find someone who loved him truly, despite his beastly features. Later on in the movie a new character named Belle was introduced, she lived with her father in a village where she was perceived as odd due to her love for books. Within the same confines of the village was a hunter named Gaston who had fallen in love with the docile Belle, although she did not harbor the same feeling as he did.

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Thus, whenever Gaston tried his advances in approaching her, she did not seem too thrilled and this irritated Gaston who felt that she should be his. While men are shown as strong individuals in the community, women are perceived as docile and dominated, who only are bound to the authority of men. In the movie the Beast is given a more domineering aspect of masculinity as compared to Gaston, despite the fact that masculinity is identified between the two. This super strength and aggressiveness that is beyond any man, gives Beast a more rationale of the alpha male which is a concept that Gillam and Wooden share. The alpha male concept is incorporated of an authority that is unquestionable, strength and dominance, competing for a position of social status in the society, lacks any emotions as well as isolation from the society (Gillam and Wooden 3).

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The Beast was not just any beast, he was a cursed prince, and therefore, he was a leader with some sense of authority and power. The belief that he could win Belle’s heart and take her from the Beast shows heterosexuality. In Michael Kimmel’s “Gender, Class and Terrorism”, the author wishes to express the issue of masculinity by identifying with three individuals Adolf Hitler, Timothy McVeigh and Mohammed Atta. These three radicles were driven towards their beliefs by the emasculation and marginalization that they had experienced. The changes in culture that are identified with shifts in gender roles were their major drive, especially to McVeigh and Mohammed. Kimmel says that the struggle for masculinity will with no doubt continue as the young men in the lower middle class in the society strive to become noticeable in a world that has changed the perspectives of gender roles and shift in economy (Kimmel 593).

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For example he challenges the Beast and rallies the village people against him, by saying that Belle was held captive in the castle, with hope that he could gain some attention from Belle when he saves her. However, since Gaston masculinity is driven by a need to satisfy his own ego and show that he is a better man he losses to the Beast. Unlike the Beast, he is not kind, and therefore, does not qualify as a worthy adversary against him. The male gender roles and female gender roles are represented in the movie with attributes that women play in the movie. For instance, Belle is shown as an inferior being who, does not hold any conviction or say to the aspects of her life.

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