What follows is only a small sample; listen to Episode 4 of the Pop Culture Coram Deo Podcast for a more detailed analysis of the good and beautiful found in Beauty and the Beast. You can watch Beauty and the Beast on Amazon.
“There must be more than this provincial life,” Belle sings to the joy of her hearers. What “more” does this woman living in a small French town in the 18th Century long for? More money? No. More health? No. More prosperity? No. She wants out of the small-minded patriarchal society of her youth. She longs for an egalitarian society, a society where men and women are equal. But, how can such a world be brought about? By men? No. Men produced the small-minded world in which she lives. An egalitarian world can only be brought about through the love of an egalitarian woman, an educated woman, a woman like Belle.
Beauty and the Beast begins with a beautiful kingdom, a handsome prince, and a room full of beautiful women who long to be married to the prince. Then, an “old ugly hag” crashes the party offering a rose as a gift for the prince. He tosses her gift aside, due to how little he values her as a person. But, the hag transforms into a beautiful enchantress. Due to his harsh treatment of her and his lack of kindness, she curses the prince and the kingdom. He is turned into a hideous beast. She also curses the servants of the Kingdom due to their neglect in properly teaching the prince to be kind; they are all turned into household items in the palace. And the rose she gave as a gift serves as a “running hour glass.” When the final rose petal falls, the curse remains forever and cannot be undone.
What can save the prince, his kingdom, and servants? Only the love of an educated woman. And there is only one such woman in the entire small-minded nearby town. Only an educated woman can see past the prince’s beastly exterior and love his cursed heart. Only an educated woman longing for an egalitarian society can transform the beast! If the curse of a patriarchal mentality, the curse of a patriarchal society is ever to be broken, only a woman’s love can do it.
Or so, that’s what the enchantress wants you to believe.
Yet, today in the United States, we have more of an egalitarian society than we have ever had. We have more educated women in the United States than we have ever had. In the Fall of 2017, there were 2,200,000 more women in College than men in the United States (56% women, Source). But, do we have “more than this provincial life” Belle sang about and longed for? Has the love of educated women overcame the curse brought about by male patriarchy? Consider these awful realities that remain in the United States:
- The most dangerous location in the United States for a human being is in his or her mother’s womb. And only women can legally choose to abort their babies in this country; men have no say-so. Yet, since the Roe vs. Wade decision of 1973, over 60,128,000 babies have been aborted in the United States.
- Pornography is the objectification of men and women. Both its production and its consumption continue to rise in the United States with no end in sight. And Game of Thrones is still the most popular television show in the United States and the world, even though it features the rape of women on a regular basis. Additionally, do I even need to mention the ridiculous success of the book series and movie trilogy 50 Shades of Grey?
- With all the advances feminists have made on behalf of women concerning being treated equal to men in education, vocation, voting, etc., many women no longer believe biology necessarily makes a woman a woman. Instead, a man can simply choose to be a woman, and “new feminists” argue that self-identification determines womanhood regardless what your biology indicates. In other words, women are helping eliminate femininity entirely.
Now, I am not suggesting that a more patriarchal society would fare better. If men still ruled the United States the same way they did 60 years ago, society may be even worse! What I am suggesting is that a society ruled by the Patriarch, not “a patriarch” or “matriarch,” is what men and women need. Sin, not powerful men, is our problem. Powerful women cannot fix our sinful hearts or their own sinful hearts. The only One who can fix our sinful hearts became sin for His people in order to give us His righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21).
More Beautiful Patriarch
To the chagrin of all feminists who place their hope in female saviors, it is a Man not a woman who has saved, is saving, and will save the world. He is not like Gaston or the prince; he is not a beast. He does not confuse male chauvinism with complementarianism or even with male patriarchy. He does not need the love of an educated egalitarian woman to “tame” Him. And the love of a woman did not remove his curse. No, it was his own obedience, love for His Father, and love for mankind that removed the curse. He did not need a savior; He came to be the Savior; He came to save! Jesus removed our curse by becoming a curse for us (Gal. 3:13). A patriarch, Adam, got men and women into this sinful mess, and only the Patriarch, Jesus Christ, will get men and women out of it.
And this King of kings will rule for all eternity with a queen, His church, by His side. But, the King is the highest human authority forever, and the queen submits to Him eternally. Yet, the New Heavens and New Earth will still be Heaven, even with all of mankind living in what some would call, “a patriarchal society.”
Beauty and the Beast presents a beautiful egalitarian, a mesmerizing story of a beautiful heroine who breaks a curse and saves a people with her love, but Scripture presents an even more mesmerizing story of a beautiful Patriarch, a story God has written in human history. This Patriarch’s name is Jesus Christ, God the Son Incarnate.
Men and women, bow to the Patriarch and your curse will be broken, and you will live forevermore with Him; He alone provides the “more than this provincial life” that you long for (John 14:1-7). Embrace Him and long no more.
Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him (Psalm 2:12, ESV).
This piece was originally published on our Patheos site.