The malign influence of Beauty and the Beast

I’m always suspicious about deterministic claims for the malignant effects of fiction, which were rife in the eighteenth century with the rise of the novel and its effects on women and which have accompanied the emergence of new media ever since (and probably way before). Whether from right or left, such accounts have little empirical evidence to support them, undermine the autonomy of readers and viewers, and ignore the power of people to interpret and reappropriate texts in undetermined ways. I was convinced this story by Robyn Pennacchia was a spoof at first: ‘Pastor Fears “Beauty And The Beast” Is Slippery Slope To Co-Ed Naked Lady Bison Orgies‘. But, no; the far right really are that disturbed and paranoid.

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