Belle, the Beast, and Nietzsche’s Gaston

Beauty and the Beast might be the best traditionalist story dealing with the problem of marriage and women, even in its modern animated form – which is the only form I’ll be dealing with, as the original lacks Gaston. Most people who talk about Gaston, particularly women, pretend they are Belle – or that Belle represents all women – and that Gaston is some kind of anti-woman patriarchal demon behind an attractive mask. Clearly this isn’t the case – in fact, central to his character is his nearly ubiquitous female appeal; women want Gaston, and to pretend they’re all oblivious to his character, or that Belle’s refusal was even tied to character, is childish. Is there something to say about both this obvious fact, and the modern unwillingness to apprehend it?

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