Wow, it’s been a while! It’s been a busy few months since I last wrote here and while I am meaning to do a catch-up post, this is not that post. Sorry?
Ever since I saw Emma Watson’s speech to at the UN launching He For She, I’ve been a fan of hers. She seems eloquent and invested in social justice causes…particularly those relating to gender equality. I was a bit surprised when it was announced that Watson would be playing Belle in the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast. She is so careful about the roles she chooses, I couldn’t help but wonder “Why this one?”
While I certainly enjoyed the original Disney movie, it did not stay a favorite as I grew up. However, I decided I would see the live-action movie because Watson was in it. When I heard that La Fou had been reimagined as gay, I was more than a bit leery. Many people I know were displeased because he was gay at all…I was worried that he would be a negative stereotype and not represented as a three-dimensional character. As movie critics and I often have wildly different impressions of a film, I decided to avoid spoilers and speculation and make my own judgement after watching.
I’m glad I did. While the original film is, as I’ve said, not a favorite of mine, I adore the new version. It fleshes out the characters, fills in the plot holes and is just a lovely movie that I felt promotes empathy and compassion. And, to my great satisfaction, La Fou is presented as a whole character, with a satisfying arc and (I felt) a positive, if understated, representation.
My opinion was hardly universal. I like to read a wide spectrum of thoughts on any given issue, to make sure that I don’t fall into the trap of confirmation bias. In this case, I delayed my opinion sampling for a couple months, because I knew some were likely to be…fiery. After the digital download became available, I started my research.
“Fiery” is certainly a good way to describe the following blogger’s feelings regarding the movie and La Fou’s character.
Obviously, I disagree with them on many levels. Aside from simple disagreement, however, I thought their tone left much to be desired in the way of common courtesy. I left a comment detailing a few of my disagreements.
Three weeks later, my comment is still pending moderation and, as they’ve posted since then, I must assume they have no intention of letting my thoughts see the light of day. So…here it is, on my own blog.
Anti-bullying movie becomes the bully by presenting LGBT characters as 3-dimensional people? No.
“Bullying” is treating someone as less than human. Bullying is forcing them to hide for fear of being killed, tortured or shunned. Sorry, but these arguments sound just a bit too similar to ones that racists used. “Let’s not show the Arab as likable, because then our children won’t know to fear terrorists.” Yeah, no.
You say that children are going to come across a gay person eventually: very true. And that gay person is going to be first and foremost a PERSON, often a decent, compassionate human being.
Like the lesbian who brought me food after a tornado and stayed five hours to help clean out debris.
Like the gay man who paid for my groceries when my card was denied.
No matter what you believe about the spectrum of human sexuality, let’s not constrict any person to a single role just to make our lives easier.
As the sister of an autistic man, let’s just say I am leery of putting artificial binders on people and absolutely no patience for slanted portrayals that leave people with a false perspective. If you always show gay charactersas vile people, that is what you will expect to see in real life. If autistic people are always shown as weirdos, your children will be more likely to discrimate against them.
And this is something I will never be okay with.