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Can there be a traditional “Beauty and the Beast” story that is not fundamentally heteronormative?

actualgothicheroine:

eshusplayground:

I’ve been thinking about “Beauty and the Beast” lately, and I’m starting to wonder if maybe there is something inherently heterosexist about the story and how a less heteronormative story would manifest in a faithful adaptation of traditional animal bridegroom (and/or deity in disguise) tales (i.e., things like Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s story and traditional folktales like “East of the Sun and West of the Moon,” “Cupid and Psyche,” and “The Serpent of the Sea.”)

While the heroine’s simultaneous fear and curiosity about the Beast could apply to the mysteries of sex and intimacy in general, there is something deeply primal and visceral about the Beast. It is vital that the Beast be a literal beast and not just a figurative one. As a result, what all the traditional stories have in common is their focus on a virginal woman’s anxieties about (cis) male bodies and (cis) male sexuality. Such things are so foreign to the heroine that they don’t even register as human. They are bears (“East of the Sun and West of the Moon”), beasts (“Beauty and the Beast”), serpents (“Cupid and Psyche” and “The Serpent of the Sea”).

If we remove the masculinity from the Beast, would the Beast still be the Beast? A creature simultaneously more than yet not quite human, a creature whose desires stimulate fascination toward the Other and the fear of being devoured? Is it really possible for a woman to relate to another woman the way that Beauty relates to the Beast and still have the same primal, visceral impact as the traditional story? Or is the Beast so closely aligned with maleness and masculinity that the most to be hoped for is, at best, an imitation, rather than a bold new telling?

This is why I’ve always preferred your concept of a Beauty and the Beast as a spiritual tale applicable to different kinds of protagonists with different spiritual needs, primarily in the case of BWOC Beauties, rather than a simplistic heteronormative/sexist idea about ~woman saving man~ or in this case a (white) woman’s venture into sexuality (with men). I don’t have the link to that post on hand, I’ll have to go looking for it.

I think that the Beast is often portrayed with negatively amplified masculine traits, and that rather than this being the sole way a Beast can be portrayed, it’s more the easy way people go about writing the Beast because it’s what we know the most, culturally. People aren’t trying. 

It would be interesting to see, for example, traditionally/stereotypically feminine attributes amplified in a otherworldly/frightening way, and to have the communion between Beauty and Beast be a celebration/exploration of the feminine.

So, in terms of “negative” feminine attributes, we have seductiveness, visible emotion/capriciousness, etc. For example, it would be interesting to see a Beast for whom emotion is power. She cries and the lands of her castle begin to become cold and dry and dead. She rages and the fury of the heavens open up and her lands are overtaken by thunderstorms. The castle could be changed as well. I think that while it’s a simple surface concept, it could work really well to inspire awe and thrill. We could have a Beauty who is normally afraid of opening up and showing emotion, however deeply she feels them, because society would shame her or otherwise cause pain, and the Beast’s nature both frightens and secretly inspires awe in her.

It’s funny you say the part I bolded because, in my own reimaginings of the story, that’s exactly how I imagine the Beast-figure. She’s beautiful, seductive, magical, passionate, etc.

PSA

queenshulamit:

Psychotic means “has a mental illness that causes hallucinations” not “evil person.”

manticoreimaginary:

Did you ever notice how in the Bible, whenever God needed to punish someone, or make an example, or whenever God needed a killing, he sent an angel? Did you ever wonder what a creature like that must be like? A whole existence spent praising your God, but always with one wing dipped in blood. Would you ever really want to see an angel?

Can there be a traditional “Beauty and the Beast” story that is not fundamentally heteronormative?

I’ve been thinking about “Beauty and the Beast” lately, and I’m starting to wonder if maybe there is something inherently heterosexist about the story and how a less heteronormative story would manifest in a faithful adaptation of traditional animal bridegroom (and/or deity in disguise) tales (i.e., things like Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s story and traditional folktales like “East of the Sun and West of the Moon,” “Cupid and Psyche,” and “The Serpent of the Sea.”)

While the heroine’s simultaneous fear and curiosity about the Beast could apply to the mysteries of sex and intimacy in general, there is something deeply primal and visceral about the Beast. It is vital that the Beast be a literal beast and not just a figurative one. As a result, what all the traditional stories have in common is their focus on a virginal woman’s anxieties about (cis) male bodies and (cis) male sexuality. Such things are so foreign to the heroine that they don’t even register as human. They are bears (“East of the Sun and West of the Moon”), beasts (“Beauty and the Beast”), serpents (“Cupid and Psyche” and “The Serpent of the Sea”).

If we remove the masculinity from the Beast, would the Beast still be the Beast? A creature simultaneously more than yet not quite human, a creature whose desires stimulate fascination toward the Other and the fear of being devoured? Is it really possible for a woman to relate to another woman the way that Beauty relates to the Beast and still have the same primal, visceral impact as the traditional story? Or is the Beast so closely aligned with maleness and masculinity that the most to be hoped for is, at best, an imitation, rather than a bold new telling?

My Least Favorite Trope (and this post will include spoilers for The Lego Movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Matrix, Western Civilization, and—cod help me—Bulletproof Monk*.) is the thing where there’s an awesome, smart, wonderful, powerful female character who by all rights ought to be the Chosen One and the hero of the movie, who is tasked with taking care of some generally ineffectual male character who is, for reasons of wish fulfillment, actually the person the film focuses on. She mentors him, she teaches him, and she inevitably becomes his girlfriend… and he gets the job she wanted: he gets to be the Chosen One even though she’s obviously far more qualified. And all he has to do to get it and deserve it is Man Up and Take Responsibility.

And that’s it. Every god-damned time. The mere fact of naming the films above and naming the trope gives away the entire plot and character arc of every single movie.

- Elizabeth Bear - My Least Favorite Trope (via feministquotes)

What are some things we can do for women of color in media to let them know that they are enough?

womanistglasses:

As Nicole Beharie explains here, she had once believed, and been told, that her work on Sleepy Hollow did not work without her white male counterpart. But she recently realized that she was indeed enough.

What are some things that can do, as women of color who consume and analyze media, to help women of color in media realize that they are indeed enough?

actualgothicheroine:

mirooku:

part 1 / part 2/ part 3 / part 4 / part 5

oh my god the Sesshoumaru ones

GOLDEN

(Source: houshisama)

Onyx Queen Masterpost: Season 2

eshusplayground:

For the first masterpost, go here. This continues where “Letter,” “Hero,” and “Hell" left off.

This masterpost is for the new “season” or what have you of Onyx Queen. These will also be grouped by theme as the “series” progresses.

New ones will be in bold.

The return of Regina Mills

  1. Dreams
  2. Monster
  3. D.O.A.
  4. Train
  5. Note
  6. Master
  7. Yuda
  8. Darkness
  9. Human
  10. Eyes
  11. Drawing
  12. Fire
  13. Poem
  14. Captive
  15. Bike
  16. Dormant
  17. Drive
  18. Storm
  19. Tithe
  20. Amulet
  21. Dora
  22. Abby
  23. Weird
  24. Rebirth

What has Kiki been up to?

  1. Absence
  2. Diary
  3. Friend
  4. Cake
  5. Horses
  6. Writing
  7. Novel
  8. Face
  9. Photo
  10. Mirrors
  11. Tunnel
  12. Laughter
  13. Why

Latest Onyx Queen in bold!

I liked “Better Than Chocolate,” but the lack of people of color was pretty glaring.

plasticlain:

Following yesterday’s book post (and mild rant against “bro lit about male novelists fucking their way through life on a drug bender and trying to make it seem like some transcendant, uber-deep and edgy experience”), I present this amazing reading titled “Male Novelist Jokes.”

I love The Toast.


Anjelica Huston by Annie Leibovitz

…and that is when I should have realized I was pretty goddamn gay.

Anjelica Huston by Annie Leibovitz

…and that is when I should have realized I was pretty goddamn gay.

(Source: fangirlside)

afrogothdiary:

stfu.

afrogothdiary:

stfu.

(Source: sherylveronicax)

“It’s not my job to educate you” & “Explain it NICELY”

racismschool:

This phrase (It’s not my job) gets thrown around, attacked and demeaned pretty often. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ve seen posts where I explain that part of the reason this phrase is used is because people often want the education from A) a person who: doesn’t want to/shouldn’t have to/never offered to give it or B) from someone they’ve just finished insulting and/or being bigoted towards.

In previous posts, I mentioned that part of the issue is that there ARE people who will answer your questions and explain things to you. The idea that you EXPECT this from any random person, specifically, a person who is upset with you because of something you’ve done to hurt them, is very telling of your aggrandized self view.  As well as how little you think of the person you’re demanding the education from.

What you should know, is that there is more to the story. 

Much of the disgust by people who’re being told they should just “Explain” or they should “Nicely tell the person blah blah blah” or even that they should “Educate so the person can understand” comes from the fact that the person being hurt and being MADE to educate has ALWAYS been in the position to explain, be nice and smile and dance for the person/people who have just put them down, stepped on or belittled them. 

Many people, genuinely believe, that if they’re “Polite” about something they’ve said, a question they’ve asked, you should be happy and willing to answer the question. That almost sounds reasonable doesn’t it? Now consider this, the “Polite” question they’re talking about is racist as hell. So-They don’t know it’s racist. Okay, fine. Let’s say I believe this. The very idea that they EXPECT an answer to a racist question, one they may or may not have known was racist, is considered PERFECTLY REASONABLE? Why? Okay, you didn’t “Mean” to say something racist. But if you did say something racist, why is it now the person who you were racist toward’s “Job” to “Nicely explain” things to you? 

This would be somewhat reasonable if and only if there were no other outlets to get your questions answered but there are many. No, not many. MILLIONS. Why does the person, the specific person that you’ve just insulted have to be the ONE and only ONE to “Nicely explain” your bigotry to you? That demand is unreasonable, hateful, ignorant, mean and abusive. 

In addition to all of this, you’ve first been bigoted, then you’ve demanded an education but not just any education. A “Nice” education. A “Calm” education.  A “Pretty” education. One that uses only the words you deem acceptable. Words that won’t ruffle your delicate sensibilities. 

You gave no concern for the person you’ve hurt with your racism but you demand that they show YOU concern when they explain to you the ABC’s of humanity.

So-You give bigoted insults, then show how little you think of the person by continuing to insult them by demanding an explanation, then you demand that when they give you the education, they only use the sweet and kindly words you’ve chosen…

You’ve made it clear that you have ZERO respect for this person as a human being. You’ve made it clear that you don’t care about their emotional well being, their time and in some cases, even their physical well being. You’ve put yourself above them in every way. Yet…you want more. You demand more. You continue to insult them if they don’t give you more. Right that second. Right when you ask.

We’ve all dealt with people like you all of our lives. You don’t want an explanation. You want to continue stepping on the same people you’ve always stepped on. A person who demands an explanation as to why the person they’ve just shot is bleeding, FROM the person they’ve just shot, isn’t looking for understanding. They’re looking for a loop hole. A small piece of ammunition that would make what they’ve just done okay. Those of us who have to deal with people like you all day, every day KNOW you when we see you. We know that if we make the mistake of “Nicely explaining” your reaction will NOT be understanding, discourse or even concern. It will be to search, desperately search for any hole, even the smallest opening where you can stick your foot in and say, “Oh yeah well if that’s the case then blah blah blah.” 

Yet, you don’t understand why people keep telling you it’s not their job to educate you. Well, I’ll tell you why. It’s because you’re a no account, good for nothing, malicious bigot. Nobody owes you shit.

Of the top of your head, do you have any romances in mind at fit that criteria?

Sure. Demetrius and Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Bertram and Helena in All’s Well That Ends Well. Also the fairy tale “Katie Woodencloak.”

Confession: I have a weakness for a certain type of romance.

It’s one where a woman falls in love with someone who spurns her affections for superficial reasons like status or race or whatever (yes, I have had this experience, and it still fucking hurts), but the rejecting party comes to their senses and then tries to win the woman’s love and trust by simply being kind, gentle, and patient with her.

It’s a strange kind of Beauty and the Beast story where a person’s actions marks them as beastly, and they become princely by changing their behavior.

Yup, I’m a sap.