Meaning and Messages from Disney

Is it only a story?

Well, this is the first content post in a series on Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”. Now, at first glance, one might assume that I have finally lost it, that spending all os those hours every week babysitting has finally gotten to me, and the 4 year old I affectionately call “Princess” has worn off on me. Well, if you said that, you probably wouldn’t be wrong, and I don’t blame you for thinking such. As my 16th birthday quickly approaches, my head is still encircled with Pixie Dust and Magic Spells and Princess Dresses and Happily Ever Afters. But, as the years have progressed and I have matured (I’m sure those of you who know me the best are laughing at that), I have developed a keen sense for looking beyond the seen, the surface, and the superficial-and that talent- more than that . . . that passion- is the driving force behind this post series. When most people see preschool entertainment, I see messages and meaning. Watch the below clip. . . the first two minutes of the movie, and then you might see what I mean.

I got three very important lessons out of the above clip. One dealing with self image and self worth (the prince’s vanity,insecurity and self imposed exile as a beast), the next with appearances (again dealing with the Prince’s beastly form) , and the third with first impressions (The prince’s judgement of the old “Hag”). However, I am only going to address one now. . . we will come back to the others later.

Look Away from the Mirror!
One of my very favorite things about Church is that most sermons begin with a funny, catchy story or joke that somehow ties into the day’s message. Unfortunately, I lack sorely in the comedy department, resulting in no opening story. Consequently, I am just going to jump right into my first point: Look Away From The Mirror!

The other day in my AP US History class, my teacher was talking about the importance of clarity and neatness in our writing. We are required to write in pen, and when under such time constraints, we all have a tendency to scribble out words, phrases, and in some situations, entire paragraphs that we deem unnecessary, poorly written, or off topic. Furthermore, when we forget an important fact or idea, we write it in the margin, and draw an arrow to the body of our essay where the quote should be inserted. Now, these things are well and good, encouraged, and even a strategy for acing the AP exam. But they could also be very detrimental. When the reader reads it through once in 2 or 3 minutes, they get the idea, give you the benefit of the doubt, and score you. But, if the paper is sloppy, poorly organized, and has arrows pointing all over the place, the reader has to slow down, and concentrate. As the reader slows down, they are more likely to pick up on crucial mistakes, bringing your grade down. The point to all of this is simple. . . the more time the reader takes reading your paper, the more they scrutinize it.

Less is More
The same can be said when it comes to self image and self worth. Those who spend hours looking in the mirror, doing their hair and makeup, and picking out just the right outfit are typically those who are the most insecure, and who have the longest list of perceived personal flaws. The more time you spend looking in the mirror, the more time you spend scrutinizing your appearance.

Now, I’m not at all saying that spending time in front of the mirror is a bad thing. Taking pride in your appearance is important- but, there is a very fine line between being comfortable in your skin and being so insecure that you feel it necessary to spend hours “improving” it, with makeup, a straightening iron, and Crest Whitening Strips. All of these are okay, but when used in excess they can become very detrimental.

Who are we really complaining too?
Now, lets go on an adventure, shall we? Lets travel to an art show, where the world’s best are proudly displaying their art work. There are oil paintings, clay vases, abstract, charcoal self portraits, and every other form of art you can imagine. They are all beautifully crafted, wholly individual, and very special to the artist who rendered them. Now, as you are walking down the aisles, you overhear a conversation. Phrases like “I’m so ugly” “My skin isn’t smooth enough” “I’m not curvy enough”, “I’m not strong enough” and “My hair isn’t straight enough”.

Now, as you move closer, you realize who is complaining. From the abstract painting, “I’m so ugly”. From the self portrait “My skin isn’t smooth enough”. From the porcelain vase “I’m not curvy enough”. From the Clay jug, “I’m not strong enough”. And from a statue “My hair isn’t straight enough”

How ridiculous does that sound! The creations had nothing to do with what they would look like, and the finished product has no say what-so-ever in what it would look like. But to the artist, they were crafted beautifully, and they were perfect.

The Point
It’s the same way with us when we complain about they way we look. God made us in his image, just the way He wants us. When we complain about how we look, we are really complaining against God’s handiwork. Mandisa puts it this way: “But God made me in His image, and that makes me a beauty queen”. How true that is. If only we lived like it.

Heres a song that I love listening too. More Beautiful You by Jonny Diaz. I wonder how High School would change if we lived like we believed this song.

Little girl fourteen flipping through a magazine
Says she wants to look that way
But her hair isn’t straight her body isn’t fake
And she’s always felt overweight

Well little girl fourteen I wish that you could see
That beauty is within your heart
And you were made with such care your skin your body and your hair
Are perfect just the way they are

[Chorus]
There could never be a more beautiful you
Don’t buy the lies disguises and hoops they make you jump through
You were made to fill a purpose that only you could do
So there could never be a more beautiful you

Little girl twenty-one the things that you’ve already done
Anything to get ahead
And you say you’ve got a man but he’s got another plan
Only wants what you will do instead

Well little girl twenty-one you never thought that this would come
You starve yourself to play the part
But I can promise you there’s a man whose love is true
And he’ll treat you like the jewel you are

[chorus]

So turn around you’re not too far
To back away be who you are
To change your path go another way
It’s not too late you can be saved
If you feel depressed with past regrets
The shameful nights hope to forget
Can disappear they can all be washed away
By the one who’s strong can right your wrongs
Can rid your fears dry all your tears
And change the way you look at this big world
He will take your dark distorted view
And with His light He will show you truth
And again you’ll see through the eyes of a little girl
[chorus]

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