When I was a little girl, I absolutely loved watching Disney movies. The beautiful princesses, the charming princes, the talking woodland animals, and the catchy music – it all enthralled me. It created such fantasy to dream about.
As I grew older, Disney movies continued to hold a special place in my heart, but the fantasy soon gave way to reality. Unfortunately, the world does not work like Disney movies. But that does not mean that the movies do not hold value. As I have come to realize, Disney movies and, in particular, the movie Beauty and the Beast, can be analyzed under the lens of the Information Measurement Theory in order to gain a better understanding of IMT concepts.
In the movie, Belle is a book-loving beauty living in a small French town where the townspeople view her and her father as odd and eccentric outsiders. When her father gets lost in the woods and stumbles upon a castle, the castle’s owner, a volatile beast, keeps him prisoner. Belle ultimately sacrifices her own freedom in exchange for her father’s in order to protect him. This sacrifice begins her unique relationship with the Beast that transforms throughout the movie from being his prisoner to his friend and, ultimately, his love.
It is within the juxtaposition of the characters of Belle and the Beast and within their relationship that the IMT concept of Type A and Type C individuals can be seen. The Beast is a Type C individual. His life is ruled by fear. Having been turned from a prince into a beast after offending an enchantress, he is tasked with earning another’s love or else remaining a beast forever. In his fear of permanently losing his humanity, he acts out aggressively and with anger. He isolates himself from even his closet friends and treats all people who cross his path with contempt and egotism. He also attempts to control Belle and to force love between them. He processes information slowly, not understanding that attempting to change Belle and dictate her life will only push her away, rather than bring her close to him.
Belle, however, is a Type A individual. She does not attempt to change those around her, learning to love the Beast as he is and accepting her own father for his kookiness. She also refuses to change for others. Even though the Beast, along with the townspeople and Gaston (who are also all Type C) all want her to be a different person, she remains true to herself and only changes herself as she sees fit and as she gains more information. She cares about others as much as herself, coming to the rescue of her father on multiple occasions and helping the Beast learn to love himself. As a faster processor, Belle is more perceptive and understands that events can only occur in one way. This is seen in her recognizing that she cannot change her situation when imprisoned by the Beast, but can only control her own actions and perspective during her imprisonment. In her relationship with the Beast, Belle, despite seeing his negative Type C characteristics, focuses on bringing out the positive characteristics and capabilities he has. Ultimately, this helps the Beast to become more of a Type B person, moving away from his fear, anger, and need to control and developing into a caring and loving person.
Overall, Beauty and the Beast, while seemingly a simple fairytale on the surface, actually contains an important message regarding the dominant and non-dominant character types described by the Information Measurement Theory. In finding these characteristics in well-known and well-loved movie characters, it becomes easier to relate ourselves to IMT and see how these concepts might fit within our own lives.
Kashiwagi, D. (2015). 2015 Information Measurement Theory with the “Kashiwagi Story” Mesa, Arizona: Kashiwagi Solution Model.