AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 5, Number 1. February   2021                                Pp.126-143

Roses in Amber: Gendered Discourse in Disney’s 2017 Adaptation of Villeneuve’s Fairytale Beauty and the Beast

Department of European Languages & Literature, Collage of Arts & Humanities,
King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Department of European Languages & Literature, Collage of Arts & Humanities
King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia


This study considers the dialogic relationship between the 2017 Disney live-action film Beauty and the Beast with Gabrielle-Suzanne de Villeneuve’s fairy tale and Disney’s 1991 animated version. Drawing on cultural and feminist discourse, the study seeks to examine Disney’s live-action film for incidents of cultural appropriation of gender representation compared to Villeneuve’s fairy tale and Disney’s 1991 animated version. The Study argues that the 2017 film adaptation reverses the traditional patriarchal notions and embraces a transgressive feminist discourse/approach as part of Disney’s strategy of diversity and inclusion of gender, race, class, and sexual orientation as constantly evolving cultural categories.  This study finds significant alterations made to the physical and psychological attributes of the 2017 film’s three characters: Beauty/Belle, the Beast, and the Enchantress, changes that align with the film’s gendered discourse. By reversing the characteristic privileging of the male and the empowerment of the female, the live-action succeeds in addressing the contemporary audience demands of diversity and inclusion. The study concludes that the changes made in the 2017 film adaptation displace the oppressive patriarchal notions and stereotypical modes of representing the male and female as they have been perceived in the original fairy tale, for they are no longer compatible with contemporary cultures’ assumptions on gender.

Cite as:

Rashed, A. A., & Al-Sharqi, l. M. (2021).  Roses in Amber: Gendered Discourse in Disney’s 2017 Adaptation of Villeneuve’s Fairytale Beauty and the Beast. Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 5 (1) 126-143.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awejtls/vol5no1.9


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Atoof Abdullah Rashed received her MA degree in English from the Department of European Languages and Literature at King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia in 2020. She wrote a number of short stories and adaptation scripts of original plays. Her research interests are in the area of postmodern literature and adaptation theory. ORCID ID.  https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0381-6366


Laila Mohammed Al-Sharqi is an associate professor of English in the Department of European Languages and Literature at King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia. She received her Ph.D. in Cultural Studies from the University of Nottingham. Her research interests include postmodern literature, literary theory, gender studies. “Magical realism as a feminist discourse in Raja Alem’s Fatma” and “Twitter Fiction: A new creative literary landscape” are examples of her research.
ORCID ID.  https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8142-1525