05 May '17 — Unlearning a Disney lesson
Yesterday, it was raining all day. On my evening walk, I passed a girl huddled in a doorway. She looked as if she were newly homeless and didn't know where to go.
"In France, an enchantress, disguised as an old beggar, offers an enchanted rose to a young prince in exchange for shelter in his castle from the bitter cold, but he refuses. For his arrogance, the enchantress transforms him into a beast and inflicts a spell on the castle." - Beauty and the Beast (1991)
Is she an enchantress? My initial response was, 'oh no, she's here to me into a monster. Because why would I let someone random into my home.'
Why are enchantresses, with all their enchanting power, seeking shelter? They can turn anything into a house. Why are they going around punishing people?
There were magical characters in other stories I came across as a child who did the same. These characters would first appear disheveled, then they'd surprise everyone when they revealed who they were. People who helped them were handsomely rewarded, and the majority who didn't were punished. So much, that my initial reaction was to brace for my transformation into a beast.
I'm obviously effected by it. The policing mechanism of Disney stories still work but it's starting to become suspicious.
Can there be no joy in simply helping others? These lessons encourage people to be hospitable out of fear rather than kindness. It's taken me ages to consider the possibility that being kind can be a reward itself.