If people pay to watch the show, it must mean something to them, unless we decide that such a large amount of the population is just dull. That would be a stupid psychological conclusion. Truth is that we only do what is significant to us, even when we don’t understand our own reasons (and that’s the problem).
Beauty and the Beast is an instructive fairy tale that has a lot to say about our psychological reality.
Beauty is a “strange girl”, as her peers say. She’s always with an open book in her hands that makes her imagination fly and see other places, people, and marvels. She is as sensitive to this “other world”, which we can only call the “inner world”, as she is indifferent to the outside and its glamour.
Who would Beauty be today? A girl who likes to read and doesn’t fit in her group of classmates, who has a critical vision of Disney Channel and its stars. Someone who doesn’t like to spend her days in shopping centers. To the average teens this Beauty would look absurd, most certainly, she would not be considered “normal”. Her parents might even be concerned about her “introversion”, while her peers, mainly girls, would unmercifully bully her, for her being different functions as a smack in their face. Modern Beauty’s behavior would show to her peers that what is so important to them can be seen otherwise. And because the other girls may actually feel that their values are not so real as they think, they need to put down and shut alternative voices, such as Beauty’s. So, let’s (psychologically) kill the different.
In the musical everything shines melody and happiness because we are looking through Beauty’s eyes and are merged in her world and challenges. But from the outside, Beauty’s life would be miserable.
Beauties like this there are many around. They may not be glamorously looking and surely they are not popular. When they are beautiful they might believe they are ugly for this is how the world sees them. They have beauty inside, and often hold it tight to protect it, therefore they are shy, which doesn’t help with their “introversion” and “relationship issues”. These Beauties fight a solitary battle, and feel so desperately alone.
In the fairy tale, Beauty refuses Gaston who is the representation of the system itself. Gaston symbolizes the common mentality and the standard values. He’s the reflection of the average masculine figure in a highly extroverted society. Thus, Gaston and his followers (men and women) are as blind to the inner world as insensitive to other points of view. To them, everything must fit in the established pattern. He wants Beauty not because he loves her, but to conquer and dominate the one to whom he means nothing.
By despising Gaston, Beauty is courageously setting the standards for the life she wants for herself. That’s what any “good girl” in her individuation process do. Beauty wants to be herself and thus it’s crucial that she doesn’t accept Gaston. He tells her that he will make all “her dreams come true”. But which dreams? Whose dreams? Beauty’s inner deep dreams or the collective stereotyped ideals? Gaston, as the expression of masculine banality molded by the unreflective thinking, would actually kill Beauty’s dreams.