Change in Gender Relations in Adaptations of "Beauty and the Beast"

Harris, Kelci

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, US.

Between 2010 to 2012 there have been a number of movies and television shows released that are based on fairy tales. At the same time, there has also been an increase in television shows featuring female leads and with women in positions behind the camera, such as writing or producing. These trends converge in ABC’s Once Upon a Time. This paper uses “Skin Deep,” the Beauty-and-the-Beast themed episode of Once Upon a Time to examine how the female voice has changed and developed the portrayal of the “Beauty”- character by comparing it to the original French version of  “Beauty and the Beast” by Madame Le Prince de Beaumont and to the 1991 Disney adaptation. Over time, the responsibility for making the relationship between Beauty and the Beast work, and in turn bring about the Beast’s transformation, has shifted from Beauty to the Beast. The modern Beauty is afforded more agency, that agency is limited. In all three versions she is treated as a commodity to be exchanged between men.