A friend of mine mentioned today that she dislikes Belle the most of all the Disney princesses because she is “completely shallow.” If we had not been friends for such a long time, I might have stormed away right then and there. (I am a huge Disney geek.) Belle, shallow? Those two words should not even be in the same sentence! Belle is not shallow and the film certainly did not depict her as such. She was smart, reading books which only confused the “Gastons” of her town; she was selfless; sacrificing herself for her father twice by separating herself from her old life and then from her true love; she was perceptive, finding value within an individual scorned by regular society and seeing past the arrogant facade of another idolized by society; finally, she knew who she was as an individual, never hiding her passion for books and her quirky humor from the judgmental townspeople. Sure, she might have had the occasional princess tantrum (throwing herself down in tears, somehow without messing up her hair) and yes, she was beautiful, leading many to accuse her of setting an unrealistic ideal for young girls. But are we really going to ignore her praiseworthy qualities due to shallow accusations? Isn’t that contradictory to the entire moral of the story of Beauty and the Beast? No. Belle was certainly not the shallow, ditsy beauty stereotypical of many fairy tales. (Ironic isn’t it, that we tend to judge the Beauty more than the Beast in this instance…) She was and is, although fictional, a loving, intelligent, and courageous character that I am proud to have admired as a little girl.
Okay, rant over. Time to settle down with a novel… 🙂