Social Ideologies: A Case Study of The Beautiful and the Beastly Messages Sent to our Children

by Heidi Cejka
Communication Studies
Faculty advisor: Dr. Elizabeth Lamoureux

Fairy tales are typically designed to provoke lessons of character and good will, although we generally ascribe our own unique and individual meaning to each story. As with Disney’s The Beauty and the Beast, children are taught the importance of compassion and a simple heart. Intentional or unintentional, The Beauty and the Beast also teaches children constraining societal expectations, including gender roles and physical image. Using George Herbert Mead’s Symbolic Interactionism Theory, Fritz Heider’s Attribution Theory, and Stuart Hall’s Cultural Studies Theory, this research identifies and examines our perceived meaning of The Beauty and the Beast and the potentially negative effects the story can have on a child’s interpretation of societal expectations.