Disney Takes Steps Towards Acceptance
After portraying Gaston's sidekick, Lefou, as gay, Disney is facing some major backlash internationally.
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On March 17, Disney released a remake of their beloved classic: Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast. Since the release of the original movie in 1991, many things have changed, and has Disney adapted its new movie to these changes. One of these changes is the growth of feminism in society. Belle is portrayed as a strong female character, who not only supports her father’s inventions like she did in the first movie, but is an inventor herself. With feminism also came acceptance for LGBTQ individuals, another change since the 1990s that has been incorporated into the new film.
In the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, Lefou, Gaston’s sidekick, is Disney’s first featured gay character. Surrounding this though, is controversy. While some people view the addition of Lefou’s sexual orientation as a sweet way to commemorate society’s progress, others view it as an egregious mistake that Disney has made. States such as Alabama are completely against the movie and countries such as Russia have even banned it for this reason. Many of the film’s actors though, are appalled by the extent of the controversy. They believe that the scene which indicates Lefou’s sexuality is very mild in its portrayal, and in it, Lefou could even pass for a character that is not gay.
While the remake for Beauty and the Beast may be a controversy for many across the United States and even the globe, students at generally Watchung Hills have a clear opinion: they wholeheartedly agree that this a prominent step that needs to be commended. When asked about her thoughts on the controversy, Anna DeLuca, a sophomore lamented over the homophobia exhibited when “people complain about [minor] gay characters in a love story between a woman and a beast.” DeLuca continued, saying, “In 2017, having homophobic beliefs just makes you seem cold hearted, uneducated and outdated. Welcome to 2017, where people will proudly choose and declare their genders, sexualities, and identities…”
Diana Sarrico, a junior, also believes that Disney has done the right thing. She “applaud[s] Disney for supporting the LGBTQ community and incorporating them into their new movies. This can be a step in the right direction to increase awareness and acceptance among all generations.”
Similarly, Eliana Sussner said, “It’s a big step for such controversial topics to finally become normalized enough to appear in [major motion pictures]. The younger audiences, such as the high schoolers in the crowd, as well as the younger brothers and sisters coming to watch the show, will benefit from having a more positive and casual view of LGBT people in their lives.”
The remake of Beauty and the Beast is still in theaters, and now audiences have the chance to show their support for LGBTQ groups by watching the show. Aid Disney in their fight for acceptance.