Romancing the Beast; The Sex Appeal of Vampires and Beasts
As I watched Disney's Beauty and the Beast for the one millionth time (if you think I'm exaggerating, you've never had a 3 yr old), I wondered what is the fascination with this movie? Why is it so enchanting? The beast somewhat scares, intrigues, and yet thoroughly delights my daughter to no end!
This popular story is one of the top 100 love stories of all times. It is translated and adapted in many countries and continuously throughout many time periods. Beastly will be a modern day adaptation coming to theaters next year, 2011. That's impressive considering the original version of this tale was written in 1740.
Remember Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt who played two stunningly handsome vampires in Interview with the Vampire. I know my generation will always remember it. The younger generations today have Taylor Lautner as a werewolf and Rob Pattison as a vampire in Twilight. This beast craze is more like a phenomenon.
So I put down my copy of Twilight by Stephanie Meyer, my third time reading it (if you think I'm exaggerating, you've never been a bored housewife), and I realized I am also keenly fascinated with romancing a beast- vampire or werewolf. I'll take either one. Women are especially beast obsessed; Vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters, pixies, giant gorillas (King Kong and Mighty Joe), warlocks, half human/half beasts, and the list goes on.
Concerning literature, the romance, sci-fi, and young adult genres are boasting with beastly titles that are enormously successful. This is huge! In fact, areas where no beasts have gone before are thriving now. For instance, I recently read two young adult books about evil pixies (that's evil fairies) and I didn't even know fairies got evil, pixie dust and glittery wings sure, but evil?
The recipe for an enticing beast tale is part damsel in distress, part beast, and part isolation. The beast must be able to have enough known powers to harm the damsel, but choose not to. In psychology, it is similar to the Stokholm Theory based on hostages held captive, but grow emotionally attached to their captors over time. It is an idea that someone is kind but doesn't have to be and can threaten our existence, but show pardon. A damsel in distress doesn't mean a weak woman necessarily, but just weaker than the beast. Also, isolation helps distort the reality of the situation. Even Twilighttook place in an isolated northern Washington town.
A beast exists in a world without rules. The beast usually makes the rules so you have to wonder what would most of us do with infinite power? It is proof or undying hope perhaps that humans, or in this case, beasts are innately good. The primitive savage inside man could actually be ruled by sympathy. Is it comforting to know that something otherworldly superhuman can still be good and not abuse his power? Oh yes, it is more than cozy-blanket-and-hot-chocolate comforting, it is fantasize-at-night-after-you-tuck-in-the-kids comforting.
There are definitely those that believe this beast idolization is harmful. The opposing sides don't view these simple tales of the beast as fictional. instead they are comparing it to rapists, serial killers, and domestic violence. Perhaps this real view of a beast is more real than we think. Do kind beasts actually exist in the real world or are we being misled?
Those that oppose Beauty and the Beast, and the other tales similar to it, are confused. In reality, it is more common for a beastly man to be handsome or extremely nice. One or both of these traits are manipulative tools used by a true predator.
In Beauty and the Beast, the beast was originally a handsome prince who wasn't very nice and that theme was carried out by an additional character, Gaston, in the movie who was desired by all women because of his looks, and yet he was a horrible man on the inside. I think it's harmless to read or view tales of someone falling in love despite looks or learning to love/accept someone for the good and bad within them.
Women are crazy about a good forbidden romance tale or an unlikely relationship with a happily ever after ending. Women also like to fantasize about a supernatural man with superhuman abilities that might fall in love with a simple and regular woman like them. Any way you view it, our lives in the real world can get dull and romancing a beast will always spice things up.