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Nobody Warned Me About the Gun: The Discussion We’re Not Having About ‘Beauty and the Beast’

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The Disney movie of 2017 is a whole different beast than the Disney movie of 1991.


The original  film has often been regarded as a symbol for stigmatized love. Howard Ashman, who co-wrote the film’s iconic music, lost his battle against AIDS before he was able to see the movie released. His art speaks to his individual experience as “being both gay and sick in the early 90s”.

Criticism and praise have abounded as Disney admits that the 2017 incarnation of LeFou is now their first openly gay character, paying tribute to Ashman. Disney also presents us with not one, but two interracial relationships. While these can only be seen as baby steps, Disney is making strides towards representation. But it wasn’t the love that left its spell on me. It was the hate.

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Disney’s 1991 “Beauty and the Beast” has been my favorite movie since I watched the ending credits sung by Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson in the movie theater at the age of five. The highlight of taking my children to Disney World was meeting Belle and eating at Be Our Guest.

The 2017 remake released on my half birthday (yes, I celebrate half birthdays), so I took my four-year-old daughter to one of the first showings on Friday morning. We went in knowing the story, having watched the animated version countless times. We talked a lot about what to expect, as this is my parenting approach to most things.

My daughter prepared herself for the tense moments, when we’d see real wolves attacking and a very angry Beast, and she let me know that she was ready to be brave. She told me that she didn’t want to watch when Gaston sings and kills the Beast. “Mommy, I will just close my eyes for that part, and you can tell me what happens.”

As the fateful scene approached, I held my daughter on my lap as she covered her eyes with her hands. I narrated the actions of Gaston throwing fire onto a wagon, of villagers breaking off parts of buildings to wield as weapons, of the castle objects preparing to keep the castle safe. I prepared myself for the moment when Gaston would draw his bow. Only it wasn’t a bow. It was a gun.

I didn’t see it coming until after I heard that shot. I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready to hear that unmistakable sound. I wasn’t ready to feel my entire body react, to feel the emotional kickback of the gun violence that permeates our society, nor was I ready to teach my daughter about it. I wasn’t ready for this social commentary.

At that moment, I was no longer transported into a tale as old as time, suspended in Disney magic. I remembered Trayvon Martin. I remembered Srinivas Kuchibhotla. I remembered that I live in a country where countless men are emboldened by the power of a loaded gun and the ideology to ‘kill a beast’.

As Belle grappled with Gaston and the gun fell into the snow, I tried to allow myself to pay attention to the movie again. My narration had fallen flat after “Gaston used a gun to hurt the Beast,” and my daughter waited to hear what happened next.

I explained the ensuing fighting, processing the scene for her, preparing us both for the Beast’s death. Again, I naïvely assumed the weapon of choice would follow the original. The gun was done.

My husband and I have taught our children that guns are for hunting. While one can argue that Gaston was, in fact, hunting a beast, by that point in the movie the viewer recognizes the Beast as a man.

Before his end, in a moment that echoes the original film, the Beast releases Gaston, demonstrating his assertion: “I am not a Beast.” And while I waited for a knife to be drawn, Gaston shot him again. And Again. In the back.

Why was I warned about ‘the gays’ as a child, but nobody warned me about the gun? Why is it that trans students cannot use their appropriate gender bathroom, but their bullies – students and professionals alike – can walk into those same bathrooms with loaded guns and kill them? Why is it that the supposed biggest threat to my safety is someone assigned the wrong gender at birth and not the person in the next stall, her gender correctly assigned, concealing a loaded weapon in her pants?

My oldest child is four, my youngest, two . My husband and I try to approach social issues in a developmentally appropriate way. Our children understand that a family can have one mommy or none, one daddy or two. They understand that some boys have vaginas and some girls have penises. They know that some of our neighbors and friends speak more than one language and have lived in different countries. They know what a hijab is and why some women wear it.

We talk about how Daddy has peach skin with lots of freckles, that Mommy’s skin is tan, and Opa’s is brown. All of these understandings are the basis of our parenting. Fostering understanding has been our goal in the hope that our children will never join the angry mob, singing “We don’t like what we don’t understand. In fact it scares us.”

The House of Representatives voted last month to overthrow rules restricting gun sales to the mentally illAs gun laws continue become more relaxed around the country and guns become increasingly accessible, I find myself seeing the second amendment in direct challenge of the first. We are living in a time when, like Gaston, anyone can wield a gun, point it towards an assumed adversary, and proclaim, “It’s hero time!”

Riz Ahmed, in an incredibly powerful address on diversity to British Parliament, explainedthe mentality of an ISIS recruit: “In their mind everyone thinks they’re the good guy.” All over the news, I see U.S. citizens adapting this same ideology. Gaston never sees himself as the “bad guy.” Does it matter that we do?

It’s not guns that kill people, but the people who pull the trigger. In the legislative push for every emblazoned “good guy” to have the right to carry, where does that leave us? Reality is not that black and white. Deciding you’re a “good guy” does not make you one. It took Gaston’s fired shots to force me to accept that I no longer have the privilege to shelter my children from this issue.

In my search for guidance and parental support on how to approach this topic, I found nothing. Resources touch on gun safety (i.e. “don’t touch the gun,” and we know how well that works with birthday cake…) and mass shootings. Where is my guide for how to explain to my kids that some people use guns to kill people because they look different, because they love differently, because they just don’t like their choices?

The U.S. Concealed Carry website offers an interview with a four-year-old, in which both parent and child uphold the playground ideology of “good guys” verses “bad guys.”  Where does this leave Gaston, a “bad guy” who fully believes himself to be the “good guy”?

Disney creates characters that paint a richer picture of reality. It’s only appropriate that they give us representative villains as well. Gaston’s misogyny is often the focal point of his villainy, especially juxtaposed with Belle’s iconic feminism. When Disney puts a gun in the hand of a xenophobe, we understand that there’s more to Gaston than hating women. There’s more to fight for than the mistreatment of white women.

Had I read warnings about Gaston’s final scene, I would have seen the movie without my children. I would have put off the conversation yet another day, comfortable pretending to live in a different world. I’ve offered a content warning to other parents who agree to hear the “spoiler,” because everyone should have a choice, especially those more personally affected by gun violence.

Personally, I’m thankful for the change to the ending. It was the wake-up call I needed. Tonight begins the start of some very complicated conversations.

In the words of LeFou, “There’s a beast running wild, there’s no question. But I fear the wrong monster’s released.”

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Pop quiz, mama! How many different types of car seats are there? If you guessed three, you're partially correct. The three main types are rear-facing car seats, forward-facing car seats, and booster seats. But then there are a variety of styles as well: infant car seats, convertible seats, all-in-one seats, high-back booster seats, and backless boosters. If you're not totally overwhelmed yet, keep reading, we promise there's good stuff ahead.

There's no arguing that, in the scheme of your baby and child gear buying lifetime, purchasing a car seat is a big deal! Luckily, Walmart.com has everything you need to travel safely with your most precious cargo in the backseat. And right now, you can save big on top-rated car seats and boosters during Best of Baby Month, happening now through September 30 at Walmart.com.

As if that wasn't enough, Walmart will even take the carseat your kiddos have outgrown off your hands for you (and hook you up with a sweet perk, too). Between September 16 and 21, Walmart is partnering with TerraCycle to recycle used car seats. When you bring in an expired car seat or one your child no longer fits into to a participating Walmart store during the trade-in event, you'll receive a $30 gift card to spend on your little one in person or online. Put the money towards a brand new car seat or booster or other baby essentials on your list. To find a participating store check here: www.walmart.com/aboutbestofbabymonth

Ready to shop, mama? Here are the 9 best car seat deals happening this month.


Safety 1st Grow and Go Spring 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

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From rear-facing car seat to belt-positioning booster, Grow and Go Sprint's got you covered through childhood. Whether you choose the grey Silver Lake, Seafarer or pink Camelia color palette, you'll love how this model grows with your little one — not to mention how easy it is to clean. The machine-washable seat pad can be removed without fussing with the harness, and the dual cup holders for snacks and drinks can go straight into the dishwasher.

Price: $134 (regularly $149)

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Baby Trend Hybrid Plus 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat in Bermuda

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When your toddler is ready to face forward, this versatile car seat can be used as a five-point harness booster, a high-back booster, and a backless booster. Padded armrests, harness straps, and seat cushions provide a comfy ride, and the neutral gray seat pads reverse to turquoise for a stylish new look.

Price: $72.00 (regularly $81)

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Baby Trend Hybrid Plus 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat in Olivia

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Looking for something snazzy, mama? This black and hot pink car seat features a playful heart print on its reversible seat pad and soft harness straps. Best of all, with its 100-pound weight limit and three booster configurations, your big kid will get years of use out of this fashionable design.

Price: $72.00 (regularly $81)

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Evenflo Triumph LX Convertible Car Seat

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This rear- and forward-facing car seat keeps kids safer, longer with an adjustable five-point harness that can accommodate children up to 65 lbs. To tighten the harness, simply twist the conveniently placed side knobs; the Infinite Slide Harness ensures an accurate fit every time. As for style, we're big fans of the cozy quilted design, which comes in two colorways: grey and magenta or grey and turquoise.

Price: $116 (regularly $149.99)

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Disney Baby Light 'n Comfy 22 Luxe Infant Car Seat

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Outfitted with an adorable pink-and-white polka dot Minnie Mouse infant insert, even the tiniest of travelers — as small as four pounds! — can journey comfortably and safely. This rear-facing design is lightweight, too; weighing less than 15 lbs, you can easily carry it in the crook of your arm when your hands are full (because chances are they will be).

Price: $67.49 (regularly $89.99)

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Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

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We know it's hard to imagine your tiny newborn will ever hit 100 lbs, but one day it'll happen. And when it does, you'll appreciate not having to buy a new car seat if you start with this 4-in-1 design! Designed to fit kids up to 120 lbs, it transforms four ways, from a rear-facing car seat to a backless belt-positioning booster. With a 6-position recline and a one-hand adjust system for the harness and headrest, you can easily find the perfect fit for your growing child.

Price: $199.99 (regularly $269.99)

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Graco SlimFit All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

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With its unique space-saving design, this 3-in-1 car seat provides 10% more back seat space simply by rotating the dual cup holders. The InRight LATCH system makes installation quick and easy, and whether you're using it as a rear-facing car seat, a forward-facing car seat, or a belt-positioning booster, you can feel confident that your child's safe and comfortable thanks to Graco's Simply Safe Adjust Harness System.

Price: $149.99 (regularly $229.99)

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Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Platinum XT Infant Car Seat

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Making sure your infant car seat is secure can be tricky, but Graco makes it easy with its one-second LATCH attachment and hassle-free three-step installation using SnugLock technology. In addition to its safety features, what we really love about this rear-facing seat are all of the conveniences, including the ability to create a complete travel system with Click Connect Strollers and a Silent Shade Canopy that expands without waking up your sleeping passenger.

Price: $169.99 (regularly $249.99)

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Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat

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With just one click, you can know whether this rear-facing car seat has been installed properly. Then adjust the base four different ways and use the bubble level indicator to find the proper position. When you're out and about, the rotating canopy with window panel will keep baby protected from the sun while allowing you to keep your eye on him.

Price: $129.99 (regularly $219.99)

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This article was sponsored by Walmart. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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If I ever want to look alive before dropping my son off to school, there are two things I must put on before leaving the house: eyeliner and mascara. When using eyeliner, I typically use black liner on my top lid, a slightly lighter brown for my bottom lid, and then a nude liner for my water line. It works every time.

My mascara routine is a bit different. Because my natural lashes are thin and not the longest, I always opt for the darkest black I can find, and one that's lengthening and volumizing. For this reason, I was immediately drawn to It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara. The new mascara is developed in partnership with Drybar (the blow dry bar that specializes in just blowouts) and promises to deliver bold and voluminous lashes all day long. I was sold.

Could this really be the blowout my lashes have been waiting for? It turns out, it was much better than most volumizing formulas I've tried.

For starters, the wand is a great size—it's not too big or small, and it's easy to grip—just like my favorite Drybar round brush. As for the formula, it's super light and infused with biotin which helps lashes look stronger and healthier. I also love that it's buildable, and I didn't notice any clumps or flakes between coats.

The real test is that my lashes still looked great at dinnertime. I didn't have smudges or the dreaded raccoon eyes I always get after a long day at work. Surprisingly, the mascara actually stayed in place. To be fair, I haven't compared them with lash-extensions (which are my new go-to since having baby number two), but I'm sure it will hold up nicely.

Overall, I was very impressed with the level of length and fullness this mascara delivered. Indeed, this is the eyelash blowout my lashes have been waiting for. While it won't give you a few extra hours in bed, you'll at least look a little more awake, mama.

It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara

It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara
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Here's how I apply IT Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara:

  1. Starting as close to lash line as possible (and looking down), align the brush against your top lashes. Gradually turn upwards, then wiggle the wand back and forth up and down your eyelashes.
  2. Repeat, if needed. Tip: Be sure to allow the mascara to dry between each coat.
  3. Using the same technique, apply mascara to your bottom lashes, brushing the wand down your eyelashes.
Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Having children isn't always as easy as it looks on Instagram. There's so much more to motherhood than serene baby snuggles and matching outfits. But there's a reason we've fallen so deeply in love with motherhood: It's the most beautiful, chaotic ride.

Every single day, we sit back and wonder how something so hard can feel so rewarding. And Eva Mendes just managed to nail the reality of that with one quote.

Eva, who is a mama to daughters Esmerelda and Amada with Ryan Gosling, got real about the messy magic of motherhood in a recent interview.

"It's so fun and beautiful and maddening," the actress tells Access Daily. "It's so hard, of course. But it's like that feeling of…you end your day, you put them to bed and Ryan and I kind of look at each other like, 'We did it, we did it. We came out relatively unscathed.'"

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And just like that, moms all over the world feel seen. We've all been there: Struggling to get through the day (which, for the record is often every bit as fun as it is challenging), only to put those babies to sleep and collapse on the couch in sheer exhaustion. But, after you've caught your breath, you realize just how strong and capable you really are.

One thing Eva learned the hard way? That sleep regressions are very, very real...and they don't just come to an end after your baby's first few months. "I guess they go through a sleep regression, which nobody told me about until I looked it up," she says "I was like, 'Why isn't my 3-year-old sleeping?'"

But, at the end of the day, Eva loves her life as a mom—and the fact that she took a break from her Hollywood career to devote her days to raising her girls. "I'm so thankful I have the opportunity to be home with them," she says.

Thank you for keeping it real, Eva! Momming isn't easy, but it sure is worth it.

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My labor and delivery was short and sweet. I started feeling contractions on Monday morning and by Tuesday night at 8:56 pm my handsome baby boy was born. Only 30 minutes of pushing. Afterward, I was still out of it, to be honest. I held him and did some skin to skin and handed him off to my husband, my mother held him next.

When he was in my mother's arms, I knew he was safe. I started to drift off, the epidural had me feeling drowsy and I had used up all my strength to push this 7 lb baby out. My son's eyes were open and then I guess he went to sleep too. My mother swayed him back and forth. The nurses were in and out, cleaning me up and checking in on us.

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When yet another nurse came in, my mom said to her, "He wasn't latching because he wanted to sleep."

The nurse yelled, "He's not sleeping!"

The next 25 minutes happened in slow motion for me.

After the nurse said these words, she flung my son onto the little baby bed. I looked over and he looked a little blue. Then I heard the loud words of CODE PINK. In matters of seconds about 30 nursing staff descended into my room and crowded around my baby.

I couldn't even see what was happening. I tried to get out the bed but they wouldn't let me and after a couple of failed attempts one of the nurses look at me and said, "He's fine, he's breathing now."

Breathing now? He wasn't breathing before? Again, I tried to push my way to my baby, but once again I was told to not move. They had just performed CPR on my 30-minute old newborn and I couldn't understand what was happening even after a pediatrician tried to explain it to me.

I just started crying. He was fine in my stomach for 39 weeks and 6 days and now I bring him into this world and his heart nearly stops?

I was told he needed to go to the neonatal intensive care unit. I was confused, as I thought the NICU was only for preemies and my son was full term.

After what felt like an eternity we were finally allowed to see our son. My husband wheeled me there and we saw him in the corner alone. I saw the incubator and the wires, he's all bundled up.

The nurse explained all the beeping and showed me the heart rate monitor. He's doing fine. We go over the feeding schedule. I'm exhausted still. I stay with him until about 1 or 2 am. They all suggest I get some sleep. There's no bed in the NICU, so I head back to my room.

The next day was better, he doesn't have to be in the incubator anymore, but the wires remain. By that night or early the next morning, the wires in his nose come out and I try feeding him. I try pumping. It was painful.

He gets his first bath and he loves it. The nurse shampoos his hair (he had a lot!) and he seems so soothed. The nurse explains that because he's full term he doesn't need the same type of support in the NICU. She tells me my baby's strong and he'll be fine.

I look around. I see the other babies, the other moms. They could be there for weeks. And unlike me, the moms have to go home—without their baby.

Friday comes and by now he's done all his tests, blood work came back normal, all tubes have been removed and I get it. I get my going-home package. Finally. I get my instructions on doctor follow-ups and we finally get to go home.

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There have been a lot of iconic entertainment magazine covers featuring pregnant women over the years. Who can forget Demi Moore's bare baby bump on Vanity Fair or Britney Spears' similar nude pose on Harper's Bazaar?

Pregnant women on a magazine covers is nothing new, but a visibly pregnant CEO on the cover of a business magazine, that's a first and it happened this week.

Inc. just put The Wing's CEO Audrey Gelman on the cover and this is a historic moment in publishing and business.

As Gelman told Today this week, "You can't be what you can't see, so I think it's so important for women to see that it's possible to run a fast-growing business and also to start a family."

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She continued: "It's so important to sort of burst that bubble and to have new images of women who are thriving and working professionally while balancing motherhood … My hope is that women see this and again feel the confidence to take greater professional risks while also not shelving their dreams of becoming a mother and starting a family."

The Wing started in 2016 as a co-working space for women and has grown rapidly. As Inc. reports, The Wing has eight locations in the U.S. with plans for more American and international locations by 2020.

Putting Gelman on the cover was an important move by Inc. and Gelman's honesty about her early pregnancy panic ("I can't be pregnant. I have so much to do." she recalls thinking after her pregnancy test) should be applauded.

Gelman says pregnancy made her slow down physically, and that it was actually good for her company: "I had this realization: The way to make my team and my employees feel proud to work for me and for the company was actually not to pretend to be superhuman or totally unaffected by pregnancy."

We need this. We need CEOs to admit that they are human so that corporate leadership can see employees as humans, too. Humans need things like family leave and flexibility, especially when they start raising little humans.

There are a lot of iconic covers featuring pregnant women, but this one is different. She's wearing clothes and she's changing work culture.

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