Equality and the Beast

Holly Jacobson - India


March 20, 2017

As most of you know, Disney released their latest live action remake of “Beauty and the Beast”. Before the movie was out in theaters, I would see articles on the web explaining how Emma Watson (who plays Belle) wanted Belle to be an independent, strong, intelligent woman who could build her inventions comfortably. Emma specifically requested for Belle to have no corset and high heels, so she could be portrayed as less of a “helpless” woman and be shown as someone who was comfortable in her own skin. It was a message for all the people, showing the world that princesses don’t have to be dressed in heels and have their perfect curls. While reading these articles, I smiled and felt a sense of hope for the modern film/entertainment industry who has stayed on the same path for decades. 2017 is a year of change, no doubt, and good change has to come along with it.

As more of the films plot was released to the public, there were rumors of Disney having their first “openly identified gay character” on screen. I was sitting in my seat jumping in happiness! Even though there are a lot of problems with Disney, in my opinion, I was thrilled to see how they are straying from that heavily traveled path and going towards a new path of equality and representation for the LGBTQIA+ community. Disney is not there yet, not in the slightest. But through my eyes, it’s a step towards something good.

However, as these rumors were flooding the internet, there were mixes of positive and negative opinions about this. People bashing on the LGBTQIA+ community, saying how they have no place in Disney and they won’t let their children be exposed to such an atrocity and disgust. This wasn’t the tipping point for me. I have seen horrid comments speaking about the LGBTQIA+ community, and this sadly wasn’t a surprise.

The surprise for me was last week, as I’m reading an article stating how some states in the U.S are so angry that Disney would dare to have a character that represents the “gay community” on screen, some theaters even boycotted the film and removed it from their queue. This was a tipping point for me.

It wasn’t a tipping point for this specific reason, but it was the final drop of anger that I felt that made my bucket overflow and crash. Article after article people are hating on other human beings, people are screaming words of such hate and disgust for again, other human beings, and people are refusing to listen and refusing to understand that we are all just humans that live together.

I know I don’t know plenty of things in this world. Math will always boggle me, I don’t know how to change a tire, and cooking is a whole other world I have yet to understand. But if I know ANYTHING after living on this planet for 19 years, is that each and every human deserves the right to be themselves. To marry whomever they wish, to identify however they please, and to have the respect and understanding of others that it’s okay and this should not be something to fight against or question.

I know this will be a lifelong battle for me, my children and my grandchildren. I’m here to state my own public message that I’m not giving up on this ongoing fight for equality. I believe in it, and someday I hope the rest of the world believes in it too.

 

Holly Jacobson