With the release of the new ‘Beauty and the Beast’ only weeks away, I thought it was about time we talk about possibly one of the greatest princesses (in my opinion) of all time; Belle. Known as the strongest, most intellectual and independent princess of them all, Belle is a symbol of a strong women – and Emma Watson definitely does her justice in the remake of this classic fairytale.
To me, Belle will always be a character who mirrors a strong feminist and a lady who isn’t afraid to do as she pleases. Despite the typical Princess having a pretty face, a pretty voice and the destiny of meeting her Prince, Belle wanted love but didn’t let it dictate to her, she loved to learn and so she read to her hearts content and she didn’t need to be saved – in fact, she saved her father. Belle is what we’d nowadays call, a bit of a #GirlBoss!
1. Belle was relatable to all those who grew up with her
Not to downplay the passions of the other Disney princesses, but being obsessed with forks, your hair (and brushing your hair with forks) were all a little less relatable to us growing up compared to Belle’s passion for reading – something many of us bookworms genuinely loved which made her a lot more real and relatable to the young girls looking up to her. She made a point of showing that it was acceptable to be intellectual and enjoy reading!
2. She didn’t need a man to define her (and she didn’t settle for just any man)
Her love story is a classically beautiful one; not only because she found a true and pure love but because she didn’t need the love to define her. Belle is known as a well balanced character who was satisfied with her peaceful life before she met the Beast, which is just why it made their love that much more pure, it wasn’t love at first sight, they grew with each other. Belle reflected the independence and passion that we felt on our own, without a relationship to “validate” it.
3. She isn’t the one who needs saving
Belle never really needed saving, in-fact it was her who saved those around her: her father, the Beast, and all of the servants in the castle. When finding her father trapped in the Beast’s dungeon, Belle wasn’t about the leave him behind and in a flare of protectiveness she reassured her father saying “I won’t leave you.” Belle said goodbye to the “damsel in distress” stereotype that never failed to be a reoccurring theme in other Princess storylines, Belle made it clear to the young girls who looked up to her that it is okay for a female character to save and not be saved.
4. She never fails to say what’s on her mind
Belle sure as hell never failed to say exactly what she pleased, as she pleased. Whilst other princesses were modest, shy and sweet (especially with men) Belle was always the princess who spoke her mind the way you wanted to growing up, whether it be against Gaston or the Beast – Belle wasn’t one to shy away!
5. Belle is courageous.
Belle is shown time and time again to be a character who doesn’t let fear play a part in her life. Even after observing the Beast in his full grisly bearing, Belle agrees to play ‘prisoner’ to give her father freedom. Whilst most would have been terrified by his external appearance, Belle wasn’t frightened by this and proved that there is more to a person than outward appearances. Despite not knowing what giving up her freedom would mean for her, or whether she’d ever escape, she agreed for her father’s safety. She proved her courageous nature yet again when she and her horse were attacked by wolves and instead of running she grabs the nearest sturdy stick and goes after the wolves to defend herself and her horse. And lastly, knowing a crowd of bloodthirsty townsmen are on their way to kill the Beast, she rides after him to warn him anyway. All of these actions (though seeming reckless) prove and explore another worthwhile character trait of Belle that makes her as special and different as she is.
Words by Maija Lily