While conservatives got busy banning Disney’s new live-action version of Beauty and the Beast from drive-ins and entire countries over the film’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it “gay scene,” they completely ignored the film’s overtones of zoophilia and bestiality.
Seriously, the film depicts a woman falling in love with a wildebeest. Considering that an estimated 4.9% of men and 1.9% of women have sex with animals, you’d think that our moral guardians wouldn’t want kids to seeing a small-town woman kissing a humanoid yak, but alas….
Perhaps they don’t care because Beauty and the Beast comes from a long tradition of “animal groom” tales that involve humans getting hitched with creatures. These tales tended to see women as property (ugh) and viewed animals as magical symbols for our unknown fears and wild urges.
Just to be clear, we’re against sex with animals, something we discussed in our listicle about unusual fetishes. But even still, here’s five human-on-animal tales you can share and annoy conservatives with.
1. The Little Mermaid
Most everyone knows that the original version of this fish tale (written by probably bi, asexual author Hans Christian Andersen) was much darker than Disney’s 1989 animated film. The original sea witch cursed the mermaid’s legs so that every step hurt like sharp knives, and in the end, the witch encouraged the mermaid to kill the prince (though the mermaid refrains).
Despite the original’s oh so sad premise, it’s still kind of weird. A woman rejects her entire family, culture and everything she is to throw herself at a animal of an entirely different species. It’s about as romantic as the dolphin rape episode of King of the Hill.
2. Pasiphaë and the White Bull
Pasiphaë, the witch-queen of the isle of Crete, married King Minos and bore him many children. Minos prayed to the ocean god Poseidon to send him a white bull as a sign that he had the god’s support; Poseidon did, under the condition that Minos would slay it, but the bull was so pretty that Minos couldn’t. In revenge, Poseidon gave Pasiphaë an insatiable lust for the bull. She and the bull hooked up — it involved a cow decoy that she crawled into — kinky!
After that, she bore a kid who was later known as the Minotaur (a man with the head of a bull) who her husband hid away in a large maze called the labyrinth. The 2000 postmodern horror novel House of Leaves suggested that the Minotaur was merely Minos’ son who had a facial physical disability and that Minos hid him away out of shame — pretty sad, especially considering that a warrior named Theseus later kills the minotaur because of its fearsome reputation for devouring young, nubile sacrificial youths.
In Japanese folklore, tanukis are mischievous “raccoon dogs” that live in the mountains, have ridiculously large testicles and dress up as men to marry women and drink all their sake. Several tales depict tanukis as slinging their nuts over their backs like large napsacks and playing them like drums. They’re also often depicted as having big bellies, rice hats and large smiles.
It’s been said that if a male lover is a booze-hound, he might be a tanooki. Nevertheless, they’re considered playful, nomadic, wealthy and lucky, so you’ll often see tanuki statues near Japanese restaurants’ entrances and cash registers.
4. The Frog King
To be clear, this tale differs from Disney’s 2009 film, The Frog Princess. In the original Brothers Grimm tale, the frog rescues a princess’ golden ball from a well in exchange for her love and friendship. When he returns the ball, she’s disgusted, runs back to the castle and tries to ignore him. But then the frog comes calling at the front door and the King forces the Princess to keep her promise.
The frog eats with the royalty and then asks to rest in the princess’ bed. Angered, she throws him against the wall and he transforms into a beautiful prince. He explains that he was cursed by a witch and the next morning it turns out that he has his own lavish carriage and a devoted man-servant who both come calling the next day. That’s great and all, but why did the king force his daughter to hang out with a reptile? Perhaps dad is a little too open-minded.
5. The Woman Who Married a Fish
Our last tale is a bit like The Little Mermaid in reverse, but it comes from the Native American Salish tribes of the Pacific Northwest. In the story, a woman refuses all of her suitors until a mysterious man shows up. The woman and mystery man hang out all night, but he refuses to meet the girls’ parents in the morning, worrying that they’ll dislike him because he’s poor. So he hand each night and disappears each morning
This understandably pisses off her parents and, in retaliation for their anger, the mysterious man causes the local waters to dry up, causing the local animals to wander off. Completely deprived of food and water, the parents apologize and then reunite the man and woman at the ocean’s edge.
The man reveals himself to be a fish-man, promises to keep the tribal lands awash in food and then takes his lady-friend to live with him under the waves; according to her, “The houses there are just the same as here, and the people live in the same way.” The woman returns twice, once with food and twice to show off her new baby, but then leaves never to be seen again. Let’s see Disney animate that.
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