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In defense of Beauty and the Beast... - In Support of Hated Pairings [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
In Support of Hated Pairings

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In defense of Beauty and the Beast... [Nov. 2nd, 2011|03:07 pm]
In Support of Hated Pairings


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I often hear people saying that Belle has Stolkhome syndrome, and that her relationship with the Beast(or Prince Adam) is abusive. Luckily, someone else has already defended this couple; http://ladybastet92.livejournal.com/59348.html?thread=265428 I'm still going to try defending them as well.

Now, on the surface it may make sense to say Belle has Stolkhome syndrome if you take the movie at facial value---she, after all, grew to love the Beast even though she was a prisoner. However, I think an important point is that she wasn't abducted. She went to the castle out of her own free will to save her father, Maurice. If Belle hadn't become a prisoner, her father would have never gotten his own freedom, and would of probably been killed by the Beast.

Also, if people got the message that loving an abusive guy will change him, they missed the point. Never did Belle try changing the Beast, nor did she go to the castle because she wanted to save the Beast's soul. As I mentioned before, she went there for one reason only: to save her father. She never put up with the Beast's bad temper, and in fact left the castle when he became too violent. If Belle had Stolkhome syndrome, or if their relationship was abusive for that matter, she wouldn't of been capable of leaving the Beast. She would have been too afraid. And if she wanted to, she could have never went back to that castle, but she did because the Beast saved her from the wolves and she need to heal the injuries he had sustained from fighting them off; if she hadn't, the Beast would have probably died.

It might seem strange that she didn't ask to leave once the Beast's injuries were healed, but to be fair the Beast started to become much more friendly from there on; not only did he save Belle's life, he also gave her a huge library. And his bad temper decreased as well. And it's not Belle who brought upon these changes---the Beast, and only the Beast, did so. Belle was not willing to up with the Beast's brutish behavior, so he realized that he had to treat Belle right if he wanted her to love him.

Furthermore, the Beast let Belle leave the castle when she realized that her father was endangered. If he were abusive, he wouldn't have let her leave. He would have tried at any cost to keep her in the castle, whether she liked it or not. Also, once again Belle would not have been capable of leaving if she had Stolkhome syndrome. Stolkhome syndrome is an irrational illness, something that happens unconciously. It is a subconcioius defense mechanism used for survival. Belle's love for the Beast was rational---it was a concious choice that she made over time as the Beast gradually redeemed himself.

It is Gaston who seems like a potential abuser---he was very persitent in his desire for Belle, and tried to make Belle marry him by using blackmail i.e. kidnapping her father. This is a direct contrast to the Beast, who loved Belle enough to let her go so that she could save her father. If the Beast hadn't changed his ways, Belle would have rejected him just like she rejected Gaston. She was not willing to tolerate Gaston's behavior, so that to me shows she wouldn't be willing to tolerate that kind of behavior in general.


[User Picture]From: blackjackrocket
2011-11-02 10:09 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I've never gotten that interpretation either. If anything, it'd be Beast that would have...what's it called, the opposite of Stockholm, when the captor falls for the prisoner? Belle would have kept right on hating him if he remained the same.
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[User Picture]From: firehearts132
2011-11-02 10:18 pm (UTC)
I think it's called lima syndrome, and yes I think the Beast might have it. On the wikipedia, there is one case of lima syndrome described where the captors let their hostages free because they felt sympathy for them, which reminds me of how the Beast let Belle go.
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[User Picture]From: beccastareyes
2011-11-02 10:15 pm (UTC)
I'd argue that Belle may have entered the castle of her own free will, but she didn't remain there, at first, of her own free will: since her choice was 'leave her sick father there or remain herself'. (I'd have to re-watch the movie to get the details after that.)
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[User Picture]From: firehearts132
2011-11-02 10:21 pm (UTC)
Yes, that is a good point. But to be fair I don't think she really had feelings for the Beast at first; I don't think she started falling in love with him until he saved her from the wolves.
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[User Picture]From: rann
2011-11-04 01:26 pm (UTC)
My problem with Beauty & the Beast's romance message isn't even the whole "Stockholm Syndrome" thing. It's that the Beast and Gaston really aren't that different at the start, other than that one's pretty and one's not. They even take the same sort of action... using Belle's father against her to get her to do what they want! All of Beast's nobler stuff comes after he's associated with Belle for quite awhile and been changed for the better by her expectations of him and by Belle's efforts to make him see the way to be a good person... efforts she only really seems to make because, well, she's stuck with him.

Gaston is arrogant and plotting and a jerk... but so is the Beast, at the start, and Gaston's never had any of his traits tempered by a curse and long isolation from society. He also doesn't have anyone try to make him better... Belle just sort of exasperatedly blows him off as much as he blows off her ideas of what a relationship should be.

I mean, I don't harbor any illusions about who's the good guy and who's the bad guy in the story... the Beast is good, Gaston is bad, etc. But from an objective character development standpoint Gaston sort of gets the short end of the stick. Both he and Beast do some really jerky things... in at least one case the exact same jerky thing... but Gaston is left wallowing in mustache-twirling villainy while the Beast is hauled into goodness, so as to really drive home the whole point of "outward beauty doesn't equal inner beauty".
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[User Picture]From: firehearts132
2011-11-04 08:29 pm (UTC)
Well..it's true that Gaston is a somewhat one dimensional character, so I can sort of see what you mean.
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