theharlotofferelden: (Beauty and the Beast 2017 - Gaston/Belle)
[personal profile] theharlotofferelden
Okay, while I'm vexed by BATB2017 fandom's response to this scene, I'm still able to appreciate the fuck out of it. 

let me explain 2 u my passions, friends.

I am not over the scene that follows after Belle getting bullied/ostracized for trying to teach a girl how to read. Like, legit. It's the best.

Like the first scene between the two, this is a moment where Gaston could've won Belle's heart, or otherwise gained her interest as prior to all of this Belle is pretty open to talking to him and giving him a chance (until he proves otherwise, at which point she makes a face and is like "why the fuck did I even bother" which I relate to greatly).

Gaston remarks that he heard she had trouble with the headmaster, and that he didn't like Gaston either (which I guess is his way of saying LOOK AT HOW MUCH WE HAVE IN COMMON AS PEOPLE HE DOESN'T LIKE lol gaston u idiot). But then he goes on to say that the village "won't accept the change she's trying to enforce." After which, he crosses into her garden and tramples 3 of her cabbages, which she notices but isn't really reacting to because she's more upset with the townsfolk being shitty towards her.

But like, throughout this exchange, he does shit like this where Belle is walking away from him, closing gates behind her, and he's reopening them to follow after. Which, alongside the thing with the cabbages, just goes to show you how much this guy really doesn't give a fuck about respecting her space. Yes, good characterization, thank u writers.

But what I find really interesting is that this is stuff that Belle isn't really perturbed about. Inwardly, she's probably taking notes. But I think the reason she doesn't call him out on this shit is because a) this is mainly for the audience to deduce that this guy doesn't respect her, and b) what matters most to Belle follows directly after he destroys those cabbages:

"All I wanted was to teach a child how to read."

To me, this is the moment where Gaston could've turned over a new leaf. This is the moment where Gaston could have won Belle over by supporting her, by saying she's right; they shouldn't be so prejudiced. Belle, in this moment, needs someone who understands her to stand by her and support her. Gaston could've easily filled that role.

But what does he do instead? 

"The only children you should be concerned about are....*gestures between him and her* your own...."

Like, not only is he being incredibly dismissive of what matters to her, he's also injecting what he wants into the conversation.

Belle notices this, and this is the first time she makes a face at him as an expression of discomfort. She tries to move past him, and he blocks her way, albeit briefly, and she says "I'm not ready to have children."

Again, this a moment where he could've listened and respected her wishes. But instead he says "Well maybe you haven't met the right man."

Which, btw, reflects a lot of RL bullshit RE: when women express not being ready for children (let alone wanting them) with "Maybe you haven't met the right guy" being the automatic answer. Yes, this is relevant to my life, thank you.

It's at this point that Belle starts countering his oblique arguments to marry her with her own, "It's a small village, Gaston. I've met them all"

And it's during this line there's another gate between them, and as she's saying this she's slotting the hinge into place. Seriously bro, she doesn't want to date u.

But he's not getting the picture, so as he's undoing the hinge he says, "Well maybe you should take another look. Some of us have changed."

Which, now that I'm thinking of it, is kinda an interesting to say as this implies that maybe Gaston at some point in the past asked Belle to marry him once before, or otherwise knew she wasn't interested prior to this. Which makes this current proposal a bit more interesting as it highlights just how much of a loser Gaston is lol.

But it's at this point that Belle just comes out with it outright. "Gaston, we could never make each other happy. No one can change that much."

Like, Belle really hits the nail on the head with this one, because the proof is in the pudding. This entire interaction hints at what kind of relationship they could have if they ever got married. Belle would essentially be married to a self centered, self absorbed, inconsiderate, rude, and disrespectful asshole. Like, at no point does Gaston ever indicate that he understands, let alone respects Belle. In fact, it seems like he doesn't want to understand her as the only thing he's interested in is having her as a trophy wife (because she's hot). 

And because Gaston wants her to conform, he'll never be happy with anything she does. Personally believe that if they were to ever get married, they would eventually come to resent one another. Nothing good in this relationship.

Though the second like about "no one can change that much" has been used as evidence for why Gaston is capable of change as this line is supposed to be ironic in light of Adam's development. But it's not, because Gaston has no interest in changing.

Like, there's a clear parallel between Adam's palace staff and the townsfolk/LeFou. The palace staff acknowledges that while Adam was raised poorly by his father, they also accept responsibility for how he turned out as they saw what was going on, yet did nothing to stop it. Meanwhile, everyone in town knows Gaston is an asshole, yet they enable him when he acts out of turn. 

Yet there was a moment when the townsfolk could've held him accountable, i.e. the moment Maurice comes back and tells him that he literally left him to the wolves. The folks in the tavern ask Gaston if it's true, because if it is, he'll be in trouble. There are only 2 witnesses to this; Agatha, and LeFou. Gaston immediately dismisses Agatha, taking advantage of the town's prejudice against those who have been othered (like Belle, and eventually, the Beast/Adam). This leaves LeFou as being the only reliable source to the townsfolk. 

LeFou, at this point, is feeling ambivalent about helping Gaston as he remarks prior to entering the tavern feeling guilty about leaving Maurice behind (like, he talks about seeing him when he closes his eyes, and is actually visibly relieved when he sees he's alright). This indicates that LeFou has the moral compass that Gaston lacks, and as Gaston is lying his ass off at this point, it's up to LeFou to do something to hold this asshole accountable. 

Except he doesn't because Gaston literally has his hands on him during this encounter. LeFou knows what he's capable of, and that if he doesn't lie, he'll probably get his ass beat (or worse). 

But I'm getting off track. The parallels between these two is the difference between the palace staff and the townsfolk. The main reason Adam tries to change is via encouragement from his staff, who tell him to be kind and gentle towards Belle. Whereas the townsfolk enable him; they appreciate him for who he is, without acknowledging there's a problem with a guy who doesn't care if he "shoots from behind" (double entendre aside ;)). 

Like, by and large, the reason why Adam gets a redemption arc is because he's been held accountable by other people who are trying to make him see why the Bad Thing he did was bad. They're trying to teach him how to Not Be An Asshole. And when he comes to care for Belle, he has better motivation to follow through with being kind towards her (and eventually, compassionate). Whereas Gaston doesn't see a reason why he should be nice to Belle because everyone in town accepts him for the asshole he is. Which makes Belle not being interested in him doubly confusing for him, because if the town can accept him, then Belle is an outlier and there's something wrong with her (and because she's the town weirdo, this is an easy conclusion to come to).

But basically, Adam eventually comes to treat Belle as a Person instead of an Object (which, now that I think of it, is kinda funny in light of the staff being Ikea furniture). Whereas Gaston never stops treating Belle like Property or Prey.

But after the "No one can change that much" line, Gaston gets into Fear Mongerer mode. Which, yo, is good foreshadowing given at the end of the film Gaston rallies the town to kill the Beast (which he does by tapping into their fear).

But yo, sexist line is sexist as fuck. Anyone excusing this line can eat a turd.

"Oh you know what happens to spinsters in this village after their fathers die? *gestures down the street* They beg for scraps like poor Agatha. This is our world, Belle. *reaches out and grabs Belle's skirts* For simple folk like us it doesn't get any better." 

Also, should note: this falls in line with Disney villains having a penchant for invading personal space. Yes, good.

But the line also suggests that at this moment he's actually considering killing Belle's dad, as he attempts this later on via literally leaving him to the wolves. Like, if he's not actually considering it, it's just a nice bit of foreshadowing because when you first hear it, you're like, "What, okay." But then it almost happens and you're like, "Oh...." 

I should also note that while Gaston killing Belle's father is fucked up because, you know, murder, it's also fucked up because her father is perhaps the only person in town who both accepts and understands her as a person. The fact that Gaston sees her father - the man she ascribes that "everything she is is because of him" - as a roadblock, and something to be removed, is unconscionably heartless. (Though I should also note, Gaston leaving Maurice to the wolves parallels Belle's choice guessed it, leaving Adam to the wolves - I seriously love this film omg.)

But the final line she gives him - and she does this as she enters her house and is closing the door - "I may be a farmgirl, but I'm not simple. I'm never going to marry you, Gaston."

Like, this scene is just so thoroughly well crafted in communicating who these characters are and why they're so different. And just...Belle understands Gaston enough to know it wouldn't work, and that he doesn't respect her. Whereas Gaston doesn't understand her and actually rejects everything she is, to the point where her refusal to marry him flies over his head. 

Another thing though: the reason Gaston loses it on Maurice is because, when Maurice finds out he wants to marry Belle, he literally tells him, "You will never marry my daughter."

Seriously, I love that. I love how Maurice uses the same line Belle used on Gaston. 

Fuck, I love this film.
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