I saw Beauty and The Beast 2017 in early April, and beforehand I had already read up on it (no spoilers here, I’ve seen the original at least a dozen times, if not more) and leading up to my viewing listened to the film’s official soundtrack since the movie’s release day on March 17th.
Whether Disney’s marketing plan to tout its first ‘exclusively gay’ character went completely wrong, having it edited and even banned in some countries, to its questionable authenticity to inquiries as to why now, Disney? When you have been subtly promoting LGBTQ+ rights for decades and featuring strong ‘outcast’ heroes and heroines who embody the struggles of marginalized and prejudiced populations, did you feel the need to turn this into a political statement? That being said, despite all it’s criticism for this public ‘outing’ of a character, I did think there were more hints into Disney’s first openly gay character than the critics let on.
But that’s not the Disney topic I came here to write about. I wanted to talk about the motherless ‘princesses’ and my own fight as a young woman without my mum. My Disney holy trinity of Jasmine, Belle, and Ariel have longtime been my favourites, all growing up without a mother, before I even knew I would be foraging into adulthood without my own.
Disney Dads do their best, and for the first time in BATB‘s live remake, we get a glimpse as to why, or rather what happened, to make Belle’s mother absent. Maybe it adds to the ‘damsel in distress’ aspect of these princesses, or maybe it’s a reminder of the fact of life that even the elite among us don’t go without pain and misfortune.
The ‘Disney generation’ provided girls in the 80s and 90s and forever after with a new array of classic heroines to choose from and grow up with. This father’s day is all about the Disney Dads and their relationships with their daughters.
Maurice just wants to do right by his daughter and offer a better life for her. Belle being the outcast of her village makes it just the two of them in their journey together. The Sultan in Aladdin wants someone to take over his legacy and make sure Jasmine is well surrounded for when he is no longer around. King Triton wants to protect his youngest daughter Ariel who is rebellious and very curious — “reckless and headstrong” in Sebastien’s words.
Their protective nature can sometimes come through in anger and maybe unwittingly drive their daughters away, but it is really out of concern for them. Their love can come off as harsh but they have good intentions to keep their daughters safe.
My own father and I have had a tumultuous relationship over my lifetime, and especially so since losing my mother. For all the arguments and disagreements there is a tremendous amount of love and support there, on both ends. My insistency on being treated as an adult and his want to shield me from all harms of the world definitely clash at times but it is a learning process, as is in any relationship. Having two siblings come before means that I am my father’s ‘little girl’ but I would much rather be seen as his grown young woman, competent and able in all my challenges.
Dad, we may not have had it easy, but we are much better off for having one another in each others’ lives. I love you so much, and I wish you the happiest of father’s days.