Wednesday, April 2, 2014

B for the Beautiful Belle

Is it redundant to say beautiful Belle? I'm doing it anyway..

Belle! The INFJ bookworm of the Disney princesses. So much love for this lovely young woman let me tell you.

Similar to Arya Stark from yesterday's post, Belle does not want to live the simple quiet life the people around her expect her to. She does not want to simply marry a man and settle down for the rest of her life. She has bigger dreams than all that.

I love Belle because she is the girl that doesn't quite fit. She loves to read and is passionate about things that people consider strange. This is something I relate to all too well. I belong with the people who are passionate about stories and get emotionally invested in the lives of fictional characters. This is something that some people really click with and some people really don't. We're either gonna be best friends or you're gonna think I'm the biggest weirdo you've ever met; there really isn't any in between.

I love Belle because I appreciate characters who share this little dilemma; she reminds me that there is nothing wrong with being different and that there are always people who will love you for it.

I also love Belle because she is a huge middle finger to traditional patriarchal society she is living in.

Gaston, and basically everyone else in town, expects Belle to fall head over heels at the opportunity to marry him. What more could a girl possibly want, after all?

She despises the idea of becoming Gaston's pretty little housewife. She knows she wants more and despite pressure people calling her odd she refuses to settle for less. When at the end of the movie she does get married, it is her choice. It is the decision she made based on what she wanted, not what anyone else thought she should do. That's a major part of Belle's story, I think, is emphasizing a woman's right to have control over her own life despite a world that is constantly telling her otherwise. Belle reaches her happily ever after because she specifically chose it. And that I think is a very important lesson.

Belle teaches us not to settle for anyone who doesn't respect us. She shows us that girls are more than just a pretty face, that they are intelligent and that anyone who says otherwise is the real villain. Belle reminds us that it is okay not to fit, that life is about finding the people who appreciate you for who you are, not about changing or hiding to make others happy.

What do you think about Belle? Would you have chosen someone else for B? Let me know in the comments!


  1. I do love Belle. She was probably my favorite "princess", though really, she's a Queen once she marries Beast, and was never a princess, haha. I know there is a lot of controversy on the Disney front lately, and yeah, there are problems, but it's a movie, and no story is going to answer every societal concern on the table. It just can't happen. :P

    Great post!

    Alex Hurst, fantasy author in Japan. "B is for Books" is my current post.

  2. Awesome theme and good pick for B. :)

  3. I love Belle. She's one of my favorite Disney princesses. That said, I kind of feel like she gave up her dream of exploring the world to settle with Adam. I hope she's happy, especially because she has a major case of Stockholm Syndrome.

    But I forgive her. Adam will probably be more than happy to take her all over the world. Also, I just love Belle. She's the closest Disney has ever come to basing a princess off of me. ^_^

    1. I really love Belle, but I will say that I feel like a lot of her story got lost in Disney's translation. The actual fairytale is meant to be a metaphor for a woman claiming control over her own sexuality. So like we see at the beginning Belle is feeling pressured by society. And then being taken by the Beast was representative of the cage women were forced into in regards to their sexuality- hidden away and to be controlled by men. And then her decision to stay marks her taking control of her own life and taking power over her own decisions.
      Is any of that going to make sense to the average 7 year old watching the movie? Nope.
      Disney has a tendency to pick apart fairytales. They make good movies but often lose the initial message. I'm just glad Belle's strength and intelligence made it through to the final version, if nothing else.

    2. I should say **her decision to leave the Beast marks her taking control over her own life and opened the way to let her choose whether or not she wanted to return, giving the power back to her.

  4. How do I love Belle? Let me count the ways! I wasn't a huge fan of the Beast when I was little - I was more of a Gaston girl, because the dude could eat raw eggs and that was damn impressive to a nine-year-old - but MAN, did I adore Belle. The love of books! The twirling! The kindness to otherwise-inanimate objects! The dedication to her dad! The raging feminism!

    Sigh. She's amazing. I think, as you said, she taught me when I was little that it was okay not to fit in, and to want more than a simple life. Great choice of B, twinsie! :D

  5. This was my favorite movie when I was little, and to tell you the truth in some ways it still is, I think because I always related to Belle, both in looks and personality. (There were so few brown haired princesses!)