Beauty and the Freakout

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Everybody hold onto your socks. I’ve got some shocking news. Pour yourself a stiff drink and sit down. Go ahead and clutch your pearls right now, save yourself some time. You’re not gonna believe this.

Ready?

Beauty and the Beast is going to have an openly gay character.

I’m sorry, I know that’s not the proper nomenclature. I mean, Beauty and the Beast is going to have a character who openly struggles with same-sex attraction but not really struggles come to think of it, so it’s quicker to just say gay. Okay? He’s gay.

When I heard this, I assumed it was going to be Cogsworth, but I was living in a fool’s paradise. It’s LeFou. Yes, LeFou. The squeaky-voiced man who sings an entire musical number admiring the Gaston’s thick neck, cleft chin and excellent spitting abilities. He is, in fact, sexually attracted to Gaston. Who knew?

Now, when I heard that a fawning, enabling, evil nincompoop of a character, whose name translates as “the fool,” was going to be formally confirmed to be homosexual in Disney’s live-action re-make of Beauty and the Beast, I thought that gay people might be offended. This isn’t a very flattering portrayal, for the first ever openly gay character in a Disney movie. And, for all I know, gay people are offended, but I can’t really hear them over the outcry of the more reactionary conservative types. These people are furious that LeFou is out of the closet. They think it’s part of the “the gay agenda,” though I don’t know any gay people who have being portrayed as idiotic sidekick villains in a Disney re-make as part of their agenda. I guess these gay people really want impressionable children to think that they like to help well-built hunters abduct strong-minded women.

Just as I was reeling from the shocking revelation that LeFou is sexually attracted to Gaston, I was shown a critic’s breakdown of an advanced viewing of Beauty and the Beast.  He waited the entire film to get to the anticipated “gay scene.” The scene took place at the very end.

It involved LeFou dancing happily with a man for a couple of seconds.

Yep, that’s as explicit as it ever got.

So, now that we’ve all let go of our pearls… what’s a Catholic to do?

Well, it seems to me there are several things you might do.

You might take your family to see the film anyway, because it sounds completely harmless.

You might take your family to see the film, and on the off-chance that the hot man-on-man dancing makes your children ask you any questions, you can use it as an opportunity to talk about our faith’s stance on sexuality and how the secular world stands differently than we do. You can remind them that, as Catholics, we’re required to  stand firm in our own beliefs. You can tell them that the world has always been at odds with the Faith, and probably will be until Jesus returns. You can remind them that people who believe differently than we do are humans worthy of respect, just as we are, and that the best Christian witness we can give is to be loving and kind to everyone.

You might go and see the film yourself first, and then take your family to see it later. If the dance is something you don’t want your children to see, you can whisper to them to close their eyes at that point.

You might wait til the film comes out on DVD, watch it at home with your family and skip that part.

You might skip the film entirely, and go see something you’d like better instead.

You might read a book.

You might make your own film in the backyard, with a camcorder and a dress-up box. Your wife could play Belle like she’s wanted to since she saw the cartoon twenty years ago. You could glue yarn balls to your face and be the Beast. Your children could be the enchanted household objects. You can drape a pillowcase over the dog to play the part of that scary ottoman thing. Your neighbors can be Gaston and LeFou, and you can get LeFou to say whatever wholesome, family-affirming heterosexual lines you like while he plots with Gaston to throw Maurice in the madhouse, murder the Beast and carry Belle away to a life of rape and forced servitude.

I guess you could boycott Disney again, if it makes you feel better about yourself.

These are all things you can do, and I trust that you’ll pray for the virtue of prudence in helping you decide which is best.

Nothing has really changed.

Nothing really can change. The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony is still a sacrament instituted by Christ, and we still live in the world where everyone does as he or she sees fit.  The secular world simply doesn’t share our values, and it’s not likely to reflect values it doesn’t share in its art. I think the so-called gay scene in Beauty and the Beast is a particularly harmless example of this, more or less a non-issue.

How you respond is up to you.

(image via Pixabay)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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