Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication and Rhetorical Studies


Rachel Hall


Antifeminist, Beauty and the Beast, Belle, Disney, Feminist, Gender

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies


In this thesis, I investigate Disney’s positioning of the live-action Beauty and the Beast as feminist. Up to this point, Disney’s animated Beauty and the Beast has both been hailed as presenting audiences with an empowered princess and criticized for the Beast’s aggressive behavior and the positioning of Belle as a woman meant to propel the Beast’s story forward. I provide an assessment of the gender politics depicted in Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast, and I problematize the tendency to classify texts as either entirely feminist or utterly antifeminist. As a whole, this thesis provides an in-depth analysis of the gender politics of Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast to address the importance of acknowledging that popular culture texts are complex and cannot be reduced to an either/or binary opposition between progressive and retrograde. To label a film such as Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast as purely feminist or strictly antifeminist ignores the potential for contradictory messages to be communicated.


Open Access



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