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Belle, serving as the protagonist of the work, shows a continued distaste towards the masculine, and instead falls in love with the feminine aspects of the beast, hinting at feminine-feminine attraction as an acceptable mode of sexuality.
Gender is developed quite early in the film, and defined primarily by two characters, Belle and Gaston. The film depicts both as the pinnacles of their respective genders: an opening song notes that “Belle’s name means beauty,” while a song about Gaston point out that “there’s no man in town that’s as manly/ perfect a pure paragon” (Beauty and the Beast) Thus, from the opening of the film the feminine is identified with Belle while the masculine is identified with Gaston.
Using this association, it is possible to determine what the film identifies as being feminine or masculine characteristics. Belle, for example, is an incredibly caring person, taking care of her tottering father as well as caring for various animals around her such as her horse. She also enjoys reading and exploring the world of the mind. Physically, the feminine is defined by long flowing hair (as opposed to the tight pony tails often worn by men) and more delicate features. Gaston, on the other hand, demonstrates the film’s understanding of masculinity. The masculine consists of a series of valued behaviors, such as “drinking … hunting … fighting,” eating eggs and so forth (Beauty and the Beast). Furthermore, the song “Gaston” enumerates the aspects physical attributes associated with masculinity: incredible size, a thick neck, a cleft chin, strength (“biceps to spare”) and “every last bit … covered in hair” (Beauty and the Beast).
The problem, however, is that the masculine is incredibly repulsive to Belle. She has absolutely no attraction to Gaston, and has to turn him down as
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