The Ironic Truth About “Beauty and the Beast”

By: Anna Merezhko, March 31, 2017

In an extremely long YouTube video, Stefan Molyneux decided to open our eyes to the hidden meanings inside the new “Beauty and the Beast” movie starring Emma Watson. He named the video “The Truth About Beauty and the Beast.”

I didn’t come upon this video by chance. My husband recommended I give it a listen. Mind you, I was still riding the high of having seen a remake of a classic Disney movie. Still very much in awe of the beautiful graphics, songs, and choreography, I was not prepared for the onslaught of ill-conceived presumptions this man had.

Stefan Molyneux started off the video by admitting he has a problem with Emma Watson. He said he wasn’t planning on going to see the movie but was convinced to. Within the first minute, he stated his first criticism of Emma Watson’s character, Belle.

“One thing that’s conspicuous about Belle is that she has no faults or vices, whatsoever. She is a perfect human being,” he said.

Molyneux claimed that Belle represented “unbelievable flattery towards women.” He then continued to say that one of the things that has been historically considered a fault of women is vanity. He made the argument that young, attractive women have power over men that corrupts them and makes them vain.

At no point of the movie did I feel that Belle was portrayed as a perfect human being. Throughout the movie she displayed sadness, discontent, anger- all of which makes her very human and far from perfect. However, Molyneux believes that there is a lack of negative qualities, therefore this implies that Belle is perfect.

He then made fun of Belle’s choice of literature because she wasn’t reading about political theory or philosophy. She was reading “silly romance novels.” In the video, at 7:47, Molyneux says, “If you teach a boy to read, he can become an engineer and build farm machines,… If you teach a girl to read, throughout history, not in the present, she’s going to end up reading romance novels and not adding anything to society as a whole.”

According to Molyneux, there is a resentment that is sold to women that make them believe that the only reason they’re not at the top in STEM fields is because of male patriarchy. According to him, because most women are vain, they are susceptible to this resentment.

Molyneux said that, on average, male IQ is four points higher than female and men’s brains are 8% heavier than women’s brains. “So it’s not patriarchy, it’s brain mass. No one is holding you back, unless it’s mother nature. Men want women to do well. We love women, but it’s important to recognize the differences in male and female intelligence so that we don’t end up hating each other, not breeding, and tearing each other apart in divorce court.”

I should have known from the second he said “breeding” that the rest video would not bode well.

So according to him, the only reason women are not in STEM fields is because men are smarter because “mother nature doesn’t produce an abundance of women on the genius scale (his words, not mine.)” “It’s not men’s fault that there’s an IQ difference. If you’re less intelligent, you tend to be more prone to vanity, and to resentment. It’s not patriarchy, it’s brain mass.”

How does this tie in with Emma Watson? Molyneux criticizes her because she’s a feminist and fights for women’s rights. Part of women’s rights, is women being given the opportunity to pursue careers in the STEM field. He makes fun of this saying, “She wants more women to go into STEM fields, so naturally, she becomes an actress and capitalizes on looks and talent.”

In the scene with her father, where Belle hands her father the tools to fix his trinket, her father mistakenly says that he needs a different tool, but then realizes that the tool Belle was handing him was the correct one. Molyneux argued that this scene made it look like women are great at everything that men need to study for.

Apparently, it’s insulting that a daughter would know the correct tool needed to fix a trinket. I wonder if that would be the case if a son corrected his father. Belle didn’t even correct him, but merely handed him the necessary piece. Molyneux views this as a conspiracy to make men look inadequate and dumb.

Right after he criticizes Belle for knowing which tool to use, Molyneux says Belle’s father pumps up her vanity because he doesn’t say she’s not good at something (15:17.) Molyneux, apparently, praised the father-daughter relationship that the movie portrayed until the father tended to his daughter’s vanity. “She loves him because she’s broken him and made him into a slave to serve her own vanity (15:29.)”

Let me get this straight? Belle’s crime is that she’s not bad at anything and her father’s crime is that he doesn’t point out what she’s bad at?

I would love to know what part of the movie he’s talking about at this point. His biggest issue with Emma Watson’s character is her vanity, yet, there are no clear signs that she is vain. Meanwhile, the character that is profusely spewing vanity (Gaston) “has real achievements” so, his vanity is justified.

Molyneux reprimands the movie for not allowing Gaston to be vain. “Gaston is great at hunting, dancing, sword fighting… all of these things, but he’s not allowed to be vain. Now what’s Belle good at? Reading romance novels.”

After spending 20 minutes (ineffectively) lecturing about vanity, it turns out men are allowed to be vain because of their skills. Women aren’t allowed to be vain even if they are obviously well-read, ahead of their time, and know a thing or two about the mechanisms in trinkets. In fact, they’ll be reprimanded for their skills.

The next scene Molyneux had a problem with is the one where Belle’s father gets “lost in the woods.” Had he not been so eager to manipulate the movie scenes to fit his twisted worldview, he would’ve recalled that in the movie he is reviewing, Belle’s father did not get lost. Thunder struck a large tree, causing it to fall and block his path. He had no choice but to use the other path, that was ominously dark and creepy. There was no effort made to demean men or make them seem incompetent.

The next part of the plot Molyneux chose to discuss is the curse that the witch put on the beast. The witch put a curse on the entire castle because of the beast’s inability to be a decent human being. Molyneux called this curse “evil woman’s magic” and said that the beast did not deserve the fate he received at the hands of the “vicious witch.”

I’m sure if the curse was cast by a wizard, Molyneux would not have such strong words to say about a person who, (SPOILER) in the end, saved the beast’s life. The beast was clearly dead. The witch saw that his heart had changed and that he fell in love, and was loved in return, and brought him back to life with fireworks. Was it cruel to turn the entire castle into furniture because of one man’s actions? Yes. Was it cruel to turn a man into what he looked like on the inside? According to Molyneux, it was.

Now here is where we get into complete fabrications. Molyneux accused Belle of being a gold-digger because the beast is a prince. He claimed that if the beast wasn’t fantastically rich and if he lived in a shack in the woods, she would not be interested in him because “being a woman historically means being evolved to get resources from men.”

So, he’s saying that Belle’s sacrifice when rescuing her father meant nothing? Wait, he didn’t even mention that. No, Molyneux is convinced Belle had an elaborate ploy to trick the beast into falling in love with her so she could inherit his millions.

“This is like Fifty Shade of Grey,” said Molyneux, “He’s a monster but he’s rich, so I have to find a way to make him nice so I can get his stuff.”

Again, inaccurate. Belle did not know about the curse. Belle did not know that he could turn back into a man. She fell in love with the beast. There was no ploy to sucker him into marrying her and paying child support. If she, being the “vain” woman that she is, didn’t care what he looked like on the outside, why would she care what was in his wallet? At what point did it seem like she cared how much money he had?

The next scene he chose to misinterpret was the scene with the wolves. He criticized Belle for fighting for her life. He, again, made the argument that women were portrayed as some kind of superhuman race, that is smarter and stronger than men.

Belle’s father was being chased by wolves and he was running away from them. Turning around and facing them head on with a stick to try to fend them off would be foolish, would it not? So he ran away. Belle was surrounded by wolves on all sides. She had nowhere to run. I guess Molyneux wanted her to throw her hands up and be eaten alive by wolves because he didn’t like that she picked up a stick and tried to fight them off.

I’m not going to go into the whole her being fascinated by the singing and dancing plates during the “Be Our Guest” song because she liked the idea of servants to tend to her every whim. Molyneux made the argument that she enjoyed the servants catering her because she doesn’t want to work. That’s just absurd. If I was entertained by singing candlesticks and dancing teacups, I would be fascinated because they are SINGING CANDLESTICKS AND DANCING TEACUPS.

At 34:00, Molyneux decided to talk about the moment Belle falls in love with the beast. Apparently, it was right before the beast died because that’s when she got ultimate control over him. When the beast said, “At least I got to see you one last time,” Molyneux interpreted that to mean that the beast would rather see her one last time and die than continue to live as he is. Molyneux then says that “now that he’s been so utterly broken that he’d rather have one glimpse of her rather than a continued life” (By the way, he was never given the option to do so) “He has no thought for his own demise, just a ‘fetishistick’ desire to see her face, when he has ceased to exist, when he is so much cloven to her vanity, when he will never again pose a threat to her vanity, …remade into the cult of the vagina,… well then and only then can she love him.”

Where did he get this? There is simply no evidence of this.

In the last three minutes, he spoke a little of women emasculating men, stronger government, politics, and single-motherhood. Having heard this again, it is clear that we didn’t watch the same movie. His version of the movie is deformed. It is interesting to see how certain parts of the movie were twisted into specific ideologies that this individual had. It seems the mind see what it chooses to see.

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