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Beauty and the Beast - Essay Example

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Name C. Morando English 106 March 30, 2012 Beauty & the Beast: The Bath Scene I want to focus my queer analysis on the bath scene, for a very important reason. It is easy to look at the interaction between two lovers, or two lover candidates, and to analyze the obvious manifestation of gender and sexuality concepts we are studying in class…
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Beauty and the Beast
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"Beauty and the Beast"

Download file to see previous pages The cues are hidden in plain sight in childhood movies and cartoons by Disney, as safe and American as apple pie. When I watched the bathing scene before, I never noticed the many clues to what I am expected to believe, what I am expected to perform in heteronormative society. When I paused the film to look carefully, I was flabbergasted by what I found! As the scene opens, the big, ugly, hairy beast is taking a bath (Jazzbo). He is golden, in color, and his neck hair culminates in a frontal mane, like a lion, He is over-sized, sitting in a golden, claw foot bathtub with graceful scrollwork designs, and royal blue ceramic interior. Nearby is a golden hamper and on the wall is a golden mirror. These are obvious signs of wealth. In a heteronormative culture, wealth is something that particularly makes a male marriage candidate desirable, in that his role is to protect his woman and give his children a good life. When we look through the darkness (transparent black curtains) that separates the surface from more intimate access, we find gentleness (pink walls, pink floor, insecurity and an endearing lack of sophistication). We also find that instead of being consumed by the off-putting, objectifying lust we might expect, he claims that he cares for Beauty but is afraid to confess his love. This sweet sensitivity is something valued in a male, in heteronormative culture, only so long as male strength, fierceness and lion-like pride are firmly in place. Indeed, if sensitivity is present without the other qualities, the unfortunate fellow is labeled a sissy, a fag, a queen. It is imperative that, whatever gender identity is enacted in private, the heteronormative one is especially performed in public. The Beast, however, is able to socially construct his heteronormative male role performance sufficiently to counterbalance his more feminine and queer performance. In fact, there is a golden mirror on the wall and, counter-intuitively, it reflects nothing, suggesting the strong silent hero of heteronormative culture. The beast harbors an undiscovered depth. Discovering and nurturing his unseen depth will be the duty of Beauty, once she accepts his confession of love and proposal of marriage. The servants can bathe him, advise him, snip and curl his hair, and structure his days with a schedule, but they cannot co-constuct his gender identity as effectively as a woman can, as they perform together the dance of heteronormative cultural mythology. The water is white foam. His eyes are rolled back in apparent ecstasy. There is foamy white water spilling from the tub, onto the floor, from the vicinity of his reproductive organs. An octopus servant is bathing him, and bubbles float down from the brushes. A double bubble also drifts downward. We are thus reassured about his sexual vigor and potent fertility. The bubbles are a symbol of her eggs, her fertility, which his gender construction scripts him to long for. Two of the egg-like bubbles are joined, as though the egg is splitting to become a baby. A baby is absolutely necessary to the heteronormative recipe for happily-ever-after. Where there is no baby, there will be whispers of speculation, eventually, calling into question his potency, his heteronormative manhood, and her heteronormative womanhood. All of this imagery is carefully constructed to define an environment aimed at socializing us, and particularly young children, into ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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