Beauty and the Beast, or the Stockholm syndrome in fairy tales.

10 years, 2 months ago 42
Posted in: New Doll, show


Beauty and the Beast, or the Stockholm syndrome in fairy tales.

The Stockholm syndrome is a human defense mechanism in life-threatening situations. Medical dictionaries define Stockholm syndrome as “an extraordinary phenomenon in which a hostage begins to identify with and grow sympathetic to their captor, essentially mistaking a lack of abuse as an act of kindness.”

In my opinion, the fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast is a romanticized hostage situation, where the Beast is a narcissistic sociopath, while the Beauty is his vulnerable hostage who is losing touch with reality and “falling in love” with her captor to survive a deeply traumatizing ordeal.

Moreover, the very act of romanticizing a fundamentally disturbing account of a woman’s abduction, subjugation and unlawful imprisonment into a pretty fairy tale to teach girls compassion and kindness towards monsters, seems to be a manifestation of a Stockhom syndrome in itself, perhaps to facilitate survivial in a world of systematic abuse and violence against women.

Materials and Construction:
Ball jointed, porcelain doll, unique steel spring articulation, permanent China paint finish, hand cast limited edition Sterling Silver helmet with one of a kind accents of Bali silver, detachable French bridal veil with Swarowsky and Cubic Zirconium crystals, hand cast Sterling Silver stilettos, Grey Moonstone cabochon pendant, Bali silver accessories, floral motif engraving on arms and abdomen inspired by William Morris print, removable magnetic wig of ultra-fine natural Mohair, genuine leather lining in the joints and a custom welded steel stand.

Available for sale at the SHOWstudio gallery in London.

42 Responses

  1. daniseyu says:

    sooooooo beautiful!truely fairy.i do want more pic

  2. Annina says:

    aah moonstone, lovely!
    i love this new angle of her in the first pic, she has many faces!

  3. Hazel says:

    I just adore this doll! Oh, how I wish I could at least come to London to see her!

    That is an interesting take on the classic fairy tale. I must admit, it is a disturbingly accurate way of looking at Beauty and the Beast and the odd thing is that most of us never think of the Beast as a romantic fairy tale hero.

  4. Hazel says:

    My bad: *as anything other than a romantic fairy tale hero.

  5. Crystal says:

    Gee, I had always thought “how nice she was able to look past how he looked and see the good within” but now I realize there was much more to this story. I totally over looked those negatives about it. Food for thought!
    She is still breathtaking!

  6. I love the depths you read into fairytales. I love that you actually do it, read past the glitter and gloss intended for little children and take a different angle at the meanings presented and apparent within.

    I’ve always marvelled at your views on the Snow White story and Necrophilia, and I love this one even more.

    I’m utterly in love with this doll. For everything that she represents as much as for the amount of work, and her chilling beauty.

  7. I like the way you psychoanalyse classic fairy-tales. The necrophilia in the Snow White tale and the the Stockholm syndrome in Beauty and the Beast, makes sense. You take the fairy out of the tales.

    Your Beauty shows vulnerability and a deep sense of sadness. Her headdress and engravings gives her the fairytale look.
    I wonder how the Beast alias narcissistic psychopath would look like if made by your hand.

    Your work is truly impressive!

  8. Biscuitbear says:

    I had read about Patty Hearst’s case, but I had never thought of the Stockholm Syndrome in relation to Beauty and the Beast. Now that you’ve said it though, it sounds very convincing.
    This doll is really magnificent!

  9. […] full post is on her site here though I’ve reproduced most of it above. Brilliant, […]

  10. […] full post is on her site here though I’ve reproduced most of it above. Brilliant, […]

  11. Jenny H says:

    Ditto for Phantom of the Opera.
    This doll is absolutely amazing; she is so expressive she seems alive. Truly incredible… congratulations Marina!

  12. Eva says:

    The gallery shop site has been down all day (at least when I’ve tried to get to it). Clearly Beauty is attracting so much attention that no one can get to them! :P

  13. katui says:

    Gorgeous..always <B

  14. natascha says:

    the eyes! she´s so beautiful!

  15. Jenny says:

    I love this doll, I love the expression captured on her face. I have never thought of Beauty and the Beast in such a way but it rings true doesn’t it?

  16. Rachel says:

    My most favorite fairy tale was Beauty and the Beast but now that I am an adult I see now that it’s very much like Stockholm syndrome. It’s very sad and tragic.
    I really like this dolls eyes, and facial expression. But I’ve always imagined Beauty a brunette, perhaps chestnut or black.
    But this silky white is stunning also.

  17. This doll is incredible. I don’t know that I have seen anything so tragic and beautiful before.

  18. Orangey says:

    Oh woww, I think the gargoyle shots are just extraordinary! How she is slouching over in despair, amazing! Your take on the classic story is really interesting. I have never actually watched that particular Disney movie, and I certainly don’t know the classical tale, but I know the gist of the story, and yes, the Stockholm syndrome theory is fascinating. In situations of desperation, your mind frame can contort and distort in such ways to let you see things based on that driving fear inside, the desire to survive. Wonderful doll, she looks -so- alive!

  19. iki says:

    i truly don`t thik this be a case of stockholm syndrome, because she was who desided to go to the best and have a life with him because, in the truth history, bella wanted a rose and her dad went to the castle of the best and stole a rose from de garden, then the best told him that he was going to kill him , then beauty dad say to the beast if he let him see her daughters by the last time and the beast told him that he can, but the only if he brings him back one of hers daughters, and beauty offered herself to go arguing that a promise have to be complished and that anything of that,was happened if she hasn´t request for a rose, then she go to the castle of the best, and stay in there, he give to her a lot of wonderfull things, then beauty dad get sick , for that reason she request to the beast to let her go to see her father by the last time, then the beast say to her that she was able to go, only if she get back home in less that seven days, then when she go with her dad her sisters was married and poor and her sisters tend her a tramp for that reason she come back to the castle 8 days before even she promise to the beast that she will come back seven days before she go, when she get back she find the beast deadly on the gardens grass and was begging to him that he dont get dead´, because she love him then he became a prince and they two live happily ever after, and her sisters became a statues who was punished to see the happines of beauty and the beast.
    for that i don´t thik this be a case of stockholm syndrom

  20. Marina says:

    I think you are failing to read between the lines of the tale, Iki. You’re refusing to see the implications of it. Please inform yourself of what Stockholm syndrome is and how it works before you argue your point. Once you read about the cases of the syndrome, you will see the parallel between Beauty and the Beast and this phenomenon.

    I am however, very familiar with how the fairy tale goes, you didn’t have to paraphrase it for me.

    Don’t you think that the Beast’s reaction to a stolen rose is a little disproportionate?
    “AHH, You took my flower and now you must die!!! I don’t care if you have a family, in fact, give me one of your daughters or die!!!”

    Beauty was a hostage at Beast’s castle because she was afraid that he would kill her father otherwise. Don’t you think it’s kind of cruel to threaten someone to kill their family unless they live with you?

    Also, Stockholm syndrome is so overpowering, that real life hostages have married those who’ve kidnapped them, mistreated them and held them at gun point.

    You should read about it.

  21. iki says:

    marina, i have also read about it, i am not talking without know what the stockholm syndrome is, like you said i dont need you paraphrase it for me.
    But the beast was in all his own right to decide what kind of punishment will receive Beauty’s dad.
    i understand your point of view i am not stupid but i truly disagree with you, if she doesn’t want to go she will simply not go, she offer herself to go with the beast.
    As an example if i go to your house and stole one of your doll hands, you won’t get angry with me, and will have the desire to kill me? that’s almost the same maybe the beast have to work a lot to make that flowers bloom or grow. and when Beauty’s dad cut that flower, maybe the beast wasn’t able to control himself and for that reason the beast say that. And now that i have your attention, i would like to talk about the Louis Vuitton problem, well i will be fast, what would you prefer to say?
    i have the honor that one of my dolls wear a dress who was made by Louis Vuitton, or to say

  22. HerPocket says:

    Actually, the original story of Beauty and the Beast possesses no implications of Stockholm Syndrome whatsoever.

    In the tale, Belle’s father, a merchant, loses his way in a forest before finding a castle. After eating an elaborate meal located in the dining hall, he ventures to the castle’s garden; it is filled with roses. Belle had asked for a rose as a present from her father earlier, as roses were rare, and he picked the most beautiful for her from the garden. He was then confronted by a beast, the owner of the castle, and commanded to stay as a prisoner for his ungratefulness. The merchant begged to be set free, saying the rose was for his daughter. The beast said he could leave if he were to receive his daughter as collateral, and Belle’s father reluctantly accepts. After the merchant returns home and tells Belle of the bargain, due to her constant prying, she willingly leaves to the beast’s castle.

    Once she arrives, the beast treats her beautifully, showering her with luxuries, such as lavish clothing and exquisite food. The two also engage in lengthy conversation frequently. Each night, the beast asks her to marry her, and she refuses. She only dreams of marrying a handsome prince.

    After many months, Belle finally becomes homesick. She asks the beast if she may leave to visit her family, and he allows her to do so, but only if she promises to return after a week. She promises, and he gives her a magic mirror and ring; the mirror allows her to see the beast each time she gazes into it, and the ring allows her to return home instantly after she turns it three times around her finger. She returns home and her two sisters are surprised by how well she looks, as well as her stunning garments. Out of envy, the two sisters beg her to stay, going so far as to use onions to feign weeping. Belle’s sisters hoped that by doing this, the beast would become angry with Belle and eat her alive, leaving the two to indulge the fineries Belle was given. Belle, touched by her sisters’ love, chooses to stay.

    However, as the days go on, she begins to feel more and more guilty for breaking her promise. She uses the mirror to see the beast and is mortified to discover that he is lying half-dead in his castle (near the rosebush her father had stolen from), due to heartbreak. She quickly returns and cries over him, saying she loves him. The tears turn him into a handsome prince and then the two wed.

    That is the original story. There are not even far-reaching implications of Stockholm Syndrome located within it. However, I believe you could say this for the Disney animated feature of Beauty and the Beast, considering he abuses her verbally throughout the movie.

    On a separate note, this doll is absolutely gorgeous. The detail in the headdress is fantastic, and the shape of the eyes, as well as the face, convey a strong sense of hopelessness and loss of direction. You did such a beautiful job. Even the photographs are spectacular! One of my most favorite pieces of yours thus far.

  23. HerPocket says:

    P.S. I’m terribly sorry for the very, very, very long post. But this is the story. The beast doesn’t abuse her at all during her stay. In fact, he treats her incredibly well. Neither does he threaten to kill her father, rather he desires compensation for her father’s ill manners. Though his reaction is, admittedly, a bit much. But then, that is why it’s a fairytale lol again, my sincere apologies for the long post.

  24. Saskia says:

    Now I want to read a re-telling of Beauty and the Beast. I disagree with the notion stated in the comments that Beauty wasn’t a hostage because the beast wasn’t openly abusive. That is exactly how Stockholm Syndrome works. But I do wonder whether this tale was supposed to teach girls compassion, like you said. I like to think that the audience was able to look through the veil required to talk about these serious matters.
    I’m looking forward to more dolls based on fairy-tales, I love all of them so far. Beauty’s head piece is absolutely stunning, I love that it looks like horns.

  25. HerPocket says:

    To Saskia:

    If I may use an analogy, we all know dogs are capable of comprehending when their name is called. They are capable of comprehending the name given to them, for that matter. Humans are also able to do this. However, this does not mean that a dog is human. It is obvious that though humans and dogs share many attributes, the two are most definitely different. As Aristotle said,”One swallow does not a summer make.” Because Belle is a hostage and falls in love with the beast does not mean she is a victim of Stockholm Syndrome. This simply cannot be argued for the original tale because the beast treated her beautifully and a relationship developed between the two as the story progressed, albeit very slowly. We are also going out of our way to paint the beast as a horrible and disgusting creature. To begin, the beast laid out a lovely dinner for Belle’s father (a lost stranger at the time), who then proceeded to betray this act of kindness by stealing from the beast’s garden. The beast was clearly offended and required compensation for his actions. Belle is not captured by the beast, she is used as payment, in place of her father, for the stealing of the rose. If anything, one should be upset with how horribly this tale portrays the female character. The beast is kind and caring to Belle, but she is shallow, wanting only to marry a prince, going so far as to searching the castle for him dimwittedly. Her sisters, the only other female characters present, are rude, snobby, and cruel. This is obviously an anti-feminist story, but for different reasons.

    Now, saying Belle from the Disney movie is a victim of Stockholm Syndrome is understandable because he does treat her terribly numerous times throughout. But it cannot be argued for the original tale. If you do this, you are changing the story.

    I’m terribly, terribly sorry Marina. I feel awful for spamming your blog with these comments. But as a double major in Psychology and Neuroscience, this is something I am incredibly passionate about and am willing to defend until the end. I hope you can understand. Thank you.

  26. Beatrice says:

    The concept behind this doll is absolutely fashinating…

  27. darkcountess says:

    I agree with HerPocket that this is NOT Stockholm Syndrome, but for a different reason.

    Note the conditions necessary for Stockholm Syndrome [listed below], and why it doesn’t work with the Beauty and the Beast story:

    1. A hostages views the perpetrator as giving life by simply not taking it. In this sense, the captor becomes the person in control of the captive’s basic needs for survival and the victim’s life itself.

    There never was a direct threat to Beauty’s or her father’s life. Remember, the Beast sent the father home to send Beauty to the palace; and within the duration of her stay in his palace, the Beast never threatened Beauty with death.

    2. The hostage endures isolation from other people and has only the captor’s perspective available.

    Beauty was allowed to go home. Enough said.

    3. The hostage taker threatens to kill the victim and gives the perception of having the capability to do so. The captive judges it safer to align with the perpetrator, endure the hardship of captivity, and comply with the captor than to resist and face murder.

    As stated in number 1: the death threats never happened.

    4. The captive sees the perpetrator as showing some degree of kindness. However, captives often misinterpret a lack of abuse as kindness and may develop feelings of appreciation for this perceived benevolence.

    Note that in Stockholm Syndrome, it is clearly stated that the perpetrator’s “kindness” is not kindness at all. He’s just not killing the victim. However, most victims consider this “kindness” enough.

    In Beauty and the Beast, the beast was genuinely kind, even kinder than most humans treat their fellowmen; he made sure that her needs were taken care of, that she is not left wanting of anything, even letting her enjoy the luxuries of the castle.

    Anything else?

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    Hi, I was wondering when the winners of your birthday contest from seven months ago would actually receive their prizes???????

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  40. Catherine says:

    Stockholm Syndrome is technically a defense mechanism: simply put, an unconscious way the brain reacts in order to protect itself from any potentially harmful feelings or situations. In other words, it’s a survival mechanism. In order for a defense mechanism to come into play, the subject has to feel threatened enough to where the mind’s only interest is that of protection and survival, and all rational thought is put to the back of the brain. Now, this is important – Stockholm Syndrome is, first and foremost, an irrational mental condition: “This condition does not result from a conscious decision or a rational choice to befriend a captor.” Someone who consciously decides to befriend his or her captor does not suffer from Stockholm Syndrome. All of its power lies within the unconscious mind, when it pulls out this defense mechanism at a desperate attempt for survival.
    When Belle is made a prisoner of the Beast, befriending the (rather horrifying at the time) creature is clearly the last thing on her mind: “I don’t want to get to know him! I don’t want to have anything to do with him!” All throughout the first act of this story, as the Beast continues to be rude and unkind, Belle is unbudging in her feelings of hatred towards him. Although she is obviously afraid of him, fear does not push her into submission, as she outright refuses to be pushed around (as when he “asks” her to go to dinner); with Stockholm Syndrome, the hostage’s behavior is very much the opposite: “Hostages are encouraged to develop psychological characteristics pleasing to hostage takers, such as dependency; lack of initiative; and an inability to act, decide, or think”. Not only does Belle never act this way to begin with, but as the story continues and she and the Beast’s bond grow stronger over time, if Stockholm Syndrome were to be present in Belle, she would eventually become submissive and weak due to fear. But there is no evidence of her lacking any sort of emotional or psychological independence as the story goes on: although she grows fond of the Beast, she obviously has enough independence and sense of self to leave when the Beast lets her go, which most of those with Stockholm Sydrome, due to the strong mental constrictions of the defense mechanism, are simply unable to do. With most cases of Stockholm Syndrome, the hostage takes small acts of kindness that the captor does for them, and unconsciously over-exaggerates them in their mind – for example, the captor gives the hostage a balloon, as s/he sincerely considers them Mother Theresa for doing so. In other words, the reaction to the captor’s “gift” is not equal to the action of the hostage giving it – and in the eyes of the hostage, the captor’s “gift” is often just allowing them to live: “Captives often misinterpret a lack of abuse as kindness and may develop feelings of appreciation for this perceived benevolence.” Belle at this point of the story does not befriend the Beast because he’s allowing her to live (and she believes there’s a true risk of him killing her, which is only how Stockholm Syndrome can be manifested), or even the fact that he saved her life (though that probably helped him gain enough of her trust to stay). It’s when the Beast actually shows his affection for her by giving Belle a certain something that things start to turn around. And I don’t know about you, but I think Belle’s reaction to the Beast giving her an entire library to be pretty damn appropriate, especially for a bookworm whose only previous source of books was a small-town peasant library. Also, in order for Stockholm Syndrome to be a factor, there has to be a constant awareness in both of the position of “captor” and “hostage” – one always has to appear more dominate than the other. Thus, the weaker of the two befriends the dominate more out of fear that the dominant with use their power against them. This is not the case in this relationship. In fact, Belle is the one who takes the Beast’s ego down a few notches (“And you should learn to control your temper!”). Perhaps the most obvious example of this is the Beast’s line to Belle when he lets her go in the stage version: “You’re not longer my prisoner…you haven’t been for a long time.” Except for Belle’s loss in her father, which cannot be forgotten about since it’s the factor that separates them at the end of the film (and the fact that Belle actually leaves furthermore proves that her attachment to the Beast hasn’t overridden her responsibility for her father; the Beast is obviously important to her, but her sense of duty and love for her father comes first in her mind, and she acts as any sensible and loving daughter would act), the two of them seem to have mostly forgotten who is the master and who is the prisoner in this relationship in their mutual happiness and possibly of love.True, she is kept away from her father, an important factor in her life, as well as the rest of the outside world, but it’s rather obvious that Belle wasn’t very involved with her surrounding environment to begin with: having virtually no friends and hardly taking the time to take her nose out of her books, she lived much more in her mind than through social interactions. In truth, she interacts with more people in the castle –and has more, um, “options” – than she ever probably did in her hometown (most didn’t think very highly of her thanks to her love of reading). So then…why didn’t Belle fall in love with Lumiere? Cogsworth? If she could fall in love with a Beast, it wouldn’t be unusual for her to fall for another …inhuman personality. But obviously, love has something more to do than who you’re trapped with, with real love has anything to do with it.
    So your wrong.

  41. […] of “beauty and the beast” and boom, you get all these angry, sad, reviewers playing the “victimization of woman” and “male domination” card, trying to ruin another great movie (RIP Ghostbusters). During […]

    • Suzie F. says:

      LOL. No, the new Beauty and the Beast is not just Stockholm syndrome; I think it’s Stockholm syndrome mixed with a whole new level of degenerate morals..while shoving homosexual ideology down the throats of children… from a children’s platform… the high dive into desensitizing and degenderizing our youth. SPLASH.

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