A look at modern day Disney

Shae Slaughter

It’s no secret that in this topsy turvy world we live in there are a lot of differences in opinion. For example, who’s your favorite Disney princess? Mine is Ariel because duh she’s a mermaid and she pulls off fire engine red hair, you go girl. That being said, I totally accept your right as a human being to pick Cinderella or Snow White or whatever floats your boat. (That being said Ariel doesn’t need a boat because she’s a mermaid so who’s the real winner?)

The point is, all of these Disney characters have their own pros and cons. It’s pretty hard for Ariel to walk, but it’s also pretty hard for Sleeping Beauty to be awake. You win some, you lose some. The original Disney princesses were white washed and bland in some ways, but Disney has grown to incorporate a much wider variety of characters over the years. For most people, this is a welcome change, but for others this advancement is practically blasphemy.

Recently, a live action remake of Beauty and the Beast was released causing a lot of positive stir until one of the characters, LeFou, was revealed to be gay. The first ever (openly) gay character produced by Disney. Though the moment is fleeting and he is by no means the main character, the introduction of a homosexual character is a huge step in the right direction. It is no surprise that some people disagree though.

Across the world, there are multiple theaters putting restrictive ratings on the film or removing it from their docket due to this very fact. To me, it’s amazing that in 2017 people are still debating the right of equality for gay people. A theater in Henagar, Alabama recently pulled the movie for this very debate. A Facebook post written by the business stated “If we cannot take our 11 year old granddaughter and 8 year old grandson to see a movie we have no business watching it.”

While I am accepting and appreciative of religion and those who practice it, I believe that this viewpoint needs to be adjusted. Though some people don’t believe in advocating gay relationships they have just as much right to publicity as straight relationships do. Taking your children to view a movie where a character is gay will not turn them gay despite what many people seem to believe just like them seeing Mulan will not turn them Asian. If anything it will simply give them an example of what the real world is like in all of its varying glory.

LeFou in Beauty and the Beast did not discredit this film, he simply made it more applicable to a wider audience. While some LGBTQ supporters believe the film does not give him a large enough role or a clear enough sexuality, it is a step in the right direction nonetheless. It is a foot in the door of a much larger battle. 

Disney and its viewers are changing, as they should. Modern day Cinderellas should not be so easily confined. We accepted Anna being saved by Elsa, Mulan dressing like a man and Snow White living with seven men didn’t we? I don’t think one gay character is going to ruin our happily ever after.