I didn’t want to write this article. Really, I didn’t. I was going to mind my own business, but this topic refuses to go away and, if there’s anything I CAN’T mind my own business about, it’s pop culture and representation–in this case, queer representation–so buckle up kids, because we’re going to talk about both for a minute.
In case you somehow missed it, Disney’s live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast features their first official gay character (Radcliffe’s assistant in Pocahontas was gay and no one will tell me otherwise). Not surprisingly, a good amount of people aren’t thrilled. Whether it be a blog post about canceling Disney world vacations in response, Facebook comments, or something else, it’s not hard to find the backlash or the central argument to most of them: Disney shouldn’t be introducing the concept of sexuality to children.
Never mind the fact that their biggest selling point is their celebration of straight sexuality and one of the biggest plot points of ‘Beauty and the Beast.’
Now, obviously, we’re not talking about actual sexual activity, but things like kisses, romantic dances on clouds, weddings, all that fun stuff, falls under the giant umbrella of sexuality, and there’s an abundance of it in a vast majority of Disney flicks. It’s been around since Disney’s inception and no one has ever suggested that their character’s display of said sexuality are actually sexual.
Yet LeFou’s giant crush on Gaston is?
So, when kids realize they’re gay in middle school or high school (heck, even earlier for some people), they’re feelings are automatically more sexual than their straight peers? Regardless of the fact that maybe, just maybe, they just want to go on dates, have a first kiss, and have crushes like said peers?
Sounds a bit more messed up when you apply it to real people, real children, who are going to watch this movie, doesn’t it?
The fact that there are people who don’t see the disconnect between how they interpret LeFou’s sexuality and those of the children who are going to grow up and possibly realize that they’re gay is exactly why we need more LeFous and we need them in more central roles. This whole idea that gay relationships only boil down to sex while straight relationships get to be mufti-faceted and complex has got to stop. A movie where a woman falls in love with a strange horned wolf bear creature sounds like a great starting point, to be perfectly honest.
I’m going to leave you with a little experiment. Below is a song from the Cartoon Network hit show Steven Universe where a female character mourns the loss of another female character, one she had romantic feelings for. See if you can find anything more suggestive about this song than any on the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack, despite it’s blatantly gay context. Go ahead, be my guest.
Also, have a good week. I guess this is just what I do on Sundays now 🙂
Image courtesy of disney.wikia.com