Once upon a time, in a faraway land, a young prince lived in a shining castle. Although he had everything his heart desired, the prince was spoiled, selfish, and unkind. But then, one winter’s night, an old beggar woman came to the castle and offered him a single rose in return for shelter from the bitter cold. Repulsed by her haggard appearance, the prince sneered at the gift and turned the old woman away, but she warned him not to be deceived by appearances, for beauty is found within. And when he dismissed her again, the old woman’s ugliness melted away to reveal a beautiful enchantress. The prince tried to apologize, but it was too late, for she had seen that there was no love in his heart, and as punishment, she transformed him into a hideous beast (- Narration that introduces the film Beauty and the beast)
1) Media primarily informs our notions of what is beautiful. Our idea of beauty is (re)defined by what is (re)presented and promoted in the Media. How is beauty understood in our contemporary world? What do you think about these?
2) Would you agree that beauty is to be truly found in the inner self? Why?
3) Would you agree that we are increasingly being defined by our looks? Why do you think so many girls and boys are undergoing cosmetic surgery to improve their looks?
4) There are many people who are not happy about themselves, particularly about the way they look. In what ways do we contribute to their low self-image?
5 ) The prince was turned into a beast because there was no love in his heart. It symbolizes his loss of humanity. Why do you think ‘love’ is such a key aspect of being human?
6) What do you think makes us ‘repulsive’ to the idea of good, true and beautiful? Why can’t we see ‘the good’, ‘the true’ and ‘the beautiful’ when it stares us in the eye?
7) How do we (re)capture the idea of ‘beauty’ in a world that (mis)understands it purely in physical terms – ‘good looks’, ‘great body’ and ‘winsome persona’? How do we grow love in our hearts so as to reach out to those who don’t make it to our ‘bold and beautiful’ list?
8) What is the one thing that you don’t like about yourself? What is the one thing you wish you had?
9) What is the one thing you learnt about what is true, good and the beautiful from our conversations ?
God has a radically different idea about what is ‘beautiful’. For God, beauty is not skin deep. He looks deep into our hearts. The LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (I Samuel 16:7). We must challenge the ‘look-good, feel-good’ understanding of beauty.
We must let love grow in our hearts so that we would embrace those who don’t make it to our ‘bold and beautiful’ list. To challenge popular notions of beauty is easier said than done. It is really a formidable challenge.