What's Wrong With Beauty and the Beast?

Do I wish to criticize the Disney film, Beauty and the Beast? No, I feel it is one of the greatest Disney movies ever made. It is the legend I am concerned about.

My thoughts for this article began germinating recently when I heard a song by Stevie Nicks of the same title. One line in that song characterizes the legend perfectly. She wrote, after describing him as a beast, "My lover is a man that must be tamed." In the fantasy a beautiful, morally pure girl meets a raging, immoral beast of a man. She shows him love and goodness and soon he is "tamed" and becomes a perfect gentleman.

A cursory glance at society sees this attemped in far too many cases. In fact, it lies at the center of many a broken home and heart.

A preacher friend of mine whom I respect very much received a call from a young lady in palpable grief over her wayward husband. She was convinced that divorce was her only hope of finding peace. As she whined about his physical and verbal abuse, his drinking, affairs and refusal to attend worship with her, my friend developed an idea. He asked if her husband had displayed these behaviors before they were wed. As he led her through them, she hesitantly admitted that he had.

He realized two things. First, she wanted to divorce this man for all the same reasons she married him. Second, the best time to get a divorce is before one gets married.

The former may puzzle you. Why did she marry him for these terrible reasons? Surely, she didn't, you say.

Well, I have never met her. However, it is not that difficult to see that throughout history, girls have been drawn to "beasts". How many thousands of stories could we find where girls have left behind the "nice boys" to return to the ones who beat them or led them to get arrested or pregnant or addicted to alcohol and drugs?

A sage has said, "Be careful what you wish for, you may get it."

Fantasies don't exist. We can wish all our lives for our spouse to be otherwise, and die disappointed. Even if we get what we desire, almost never is it what we wished it would have been. USA Today ran a poll a few years back where YM magazine had asked 15,000 girls ages 13-20 about their sexual behavior. Of those who responded, 96% of virgins and 76% of non-virgins said they had to be "in love" with someone before they had sex with them. Not surprisingly, most of those who had had sex, said they were not. In this study over half of those who were sexually active said they were too young. Reality is much more cruel than fantasy.

Satan is the "father of lies" (John 8:44) and yet more people believe him than God, "Who cannot lie" (Titus 1:2). You cannot change a person. That is his responsibility and if he has not done so by adulthood, it is very possible he does not intend to.

God says little about dating in Scripture. However, He is clear that we need to be Christians and marry people of like faith (1 Corinthians 7:39). Amos wrote, "Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?" (3:3). Often, a Christian girl will date a young man who lives a wild life claiming that she can convert him later. A better plan would be to try to convert him BEFORE you get married! Better yet, do not date men that are not Christians and this will never be an issue.

Richard Mansel

Published in The Old Paths Archive