The woman is life, and the man is the servant of life. . .

Joseph Campbell, explaining why tvomen are in the center of a tribal dance, why they control the dance, and why men dance around the women.36

Beauty power: the biblical story of Rachel and Jacob[1]

Jacob lived with his uncle Laban. Uncle Laban had two daughters: Leah, who was homely, and Rachel, who was beautiful. Jacob fell in love with – guess who? But when Jacob asked for his beautiful cousin Rachel’s hand in marriage, his unde required that he work seven years for him to earn Rachel as his wife.

When Jacob completed the seven years, the wedding took place. But when Jacob’s bride removed her veil, Jacob realized his uncle had tricked him by substituting his homely cousin. Leah Jacob was told he must work yet another seven years to earn the beautiful Rachel. Must he remain married to the homely Leah? Yes. And she will remain his first, the most – honored, wife. So it cost Jacob fourteen years of working for Uncle Laban to earn the right to continue supporting both Rachel and Leah.

Rachel, however, could not have sons, so she told Jacob to have sex with her maidservant so she could have sons whom Rachel would raise as her own.27 Leah then got Jacob to create two more sons with her maidservant. When the process ended, Jacob was supporting four women, twelve sons, and a daughter38

Why is God blessing bigamy, sex with maidservants, and first-cousin incest? Because, in each case, what God blessed created offspring who were protected. Morality was not the issue. Immorality was. As a result of the first – cousin incest, for example, instead of Uncle Laban’s family line dying out, twelve sons were bom, from whom came the twelve tribes of the Jewish people.39

How did God get Jacob to support four women and thirteen children? The answer tells us a lot about the purposes of female beauty. Rachel’s beauty served as a magnet to get Jacob to create offspring with three women who might otherwise be left out of the process of passing on their genes: one woman who was homely, and two of lower-class status. By having sex with a reliable man of a higher class, the maidservants were creating offspring who were likely to be protected.

God did not bless Rachel and Jacob with sons right away because that would have given Jacob little incentive to have children with the maidser­vants, thus Rachel’s beauty would have stopped short of getting many different women involved in the process of raising children with a man who was hardworking and successful enough to support all of them.

Beauts’ was God’s gift – or the gift to the species – to Rachel; it was meant to be used by Rachel to serve God – or serve the species. When a person served God, then, he or she was serving humans. When God gave a blessing, that was God s way (or society’s way) of instructing humans as to how to continue surviving: by having children. This is why the first of 613 com­mandments (mitooth) in the Torah is "Be fruitful and multiply."40 What I began to see as I researched this chapter was how biology and the Bible shared the same first commandment: Be fruitful and multiply.”41

Beauty and the Beast at the modern-day version of Rachel and Jacob

Beauty and the Beast is to fable what Rachel and Jacob are to the Bible. Both Rachel’s beauty and Beauty’s beauty are used to attract a man who will save

her family from starvation. The man who does this might be a beast to the world, but to the woman, he becomes a prince.

Before Jacob could become a husband or a beast could become a prince, they had to be willing to give the fruits of their labor to the beautiful woman’s family with no guarantee the beautiful woman would marry them, or that they would get along, or that she would still be beautiful when they had completed the process.

Are there modern-day remnants of this? Yes. The man buying the woman dinners, drinks, movie tickets, flowers, and an engagement ring which the woman is not required to return if they do not get married. Both historically and currently, the woman learned to ask for guarantees, the man learned to take risks.

This was not the woman’s fault. In Stage I, she needed guarantees – guarantees were functional for her children to survive. But in Stage II, she needs preparation for risk-taking to survive. In Stage I, the beast became a prince by offering the beautiful woman guarantees; the Stage II prince is the man who does not seduce the woman with guarantees. I le is secure enough to be the prince within; she is free to find a man who is a prince inside exactly because he did not become a prince of bribes.