First things first: yes, I identify with Belle. No, that’s not a bad thing. No, it has nothing to do with her being white. Her skin color is representative of the culture she and her story are from; it would be weird if Tiana or Jasmine were white, just like it would be weird if Belle were something other than white. I know people want to argue the whole Stockholm Syndrome and bestiality thing, but have those people stopped to consider that both Sleeping Beauty and Snow White are kissed awake without their consent? Glad we got that out of the way.
Ross tried to tell me that if I were a Disney princess, I wouldn’t be Belle because I’m not enough of a ditz to be her. Although he was technically complimenting me, I argued that Belle is not a ditz, and in that moment, I realized that I needed to defend Belle as the best Disney princess once and for all. And so was born this list:
Okay, first of all, Belle defies the damn patriarchy. Gaston is literally the epitome almost to the point of the personification of the patriarchy. As Belle rejects him, she rejects everything that he stands for: women shut up in a house married to the macho-est man she can find, popping out his kids and then caring for them and him. Belle wants so much more than this: adventure, education, true love. None of this “men are superior” bullcrap. This isn’t merely admirable considering the time period in which her story was written, but it’s still relevant today in the twenty-first century as women still struggle to be seen as equals with men.
Belle also is willing to sacrifice anything for the ones she loves- especially her family. She trades her freedom for that of her father’s, and we already know that freedom is the exact thing that she wants so desperately! Hello, she literally got done singing an opening number about all of the adventures she’s dreaming of having only to turn around and give it all up in order to save her father. She is completely selfless in this love, putting the needs of her father before her own, and that’s what makes her so great.
Not only is she not selfish, but she’s not shallow either. Throughout the story she falls in love with a beast. He’s hideous, not to mention rude and gruff at first. It’s obvious that she doesn’t fall in love with him for his looks or status or power or wealth. She actually takes the time to get to know him, falling in love with the man behind the monster, the him that he has hidden away from the rest of the world.
Belle is also well-educated. She loves reading books, and even if she doesn’t have her nose stuck in chemistry textbooks, fictional reading still sharpens the mind. Learning is clearly important to her, which we see not only through her profile as a bibliophile, but also in the way she seeks adventure and gets to know the beast. Belle is on a thorough quest for knowledge.
And, finally, (and I think this really seals the deal) Ross saw the error of his ways without ever even having to read this post.
So what do you think? Are you #TeamBelle?