Nigerians never disappoint, honestly truly. If I could trade Nigerians on the stock market and make money off predicting their behaviour, I’d be a billionaire. We are reactionary, often responding with ‘righteous’ anger at anything that we think disturbs our myopic views of what is normal or acceptable. And this week our culprit is live action adaption of the Disney classic, “Beauty and the Beast”.
A few months ago, as Disney, the company behind the film began to aggressively promote their hundredth adaptation of classic fairytales from the 16th century, rumours began to swirl that the studio was making one major change, they were adding homosexual subtext to the relationship of one of the film’s major villians Gaston and his side kick Le Fou. There was some outrage globally, the major gist being that this subplot was deviating from the previous adaptations and their ‘original’ storyline. “Children dont need to see gay characters in beloved children’s classics”, they said; you know, the usual.
But as the film got Nigerian release dates, Nigerian commentators began to add their voices to the dissent over the film’s new changes. As usual, they lamented about how Hollywood has been trying to push a gay agenda on Africa for decades and how children dont need to be exposed to gay people, especially in children’s film. And of course, the ever reliable ‘End times’ conspiracy theorists. It was a bloodbath in the Bella Naija and Linda Ikeji comment sections.
I can’t tell you what to allow your children watch, or what to tolerate in your life; but I can tell you this for free (disclaimer, I will get paid for writing this anways): nothing you can do will prevent your children from being exposed to homosexuality. A modest estimated 10% of the human race is not heterosexual, that’s like 1 in 10 people. So yes, your child already knows and regularly interacts with an LGBT person.
Secondly your child’s morality should come from you, not from commercial adaptations of classic fairytales made with the primary purpose of making a profit. Beauty and the Beast is literally about a woman enduring abuse from a self centered, cantankerous wild animal who kidnaps her against her will, and she marries him because ‘love’. And this is the watered down version of the story. It is your responsibility to raise your children, not Genesis Cinemas.
Are we ever going to outgrow this selective morality that victim blames, slut shames and mainsplains rape culture and then vilifies sexual minorities? Because I am tired of waiting.