5 Reasons Belle Was Disney's Best Heroine

by Tracy Dye

A selection of lucky fans were treated to an exclusive first look of the upcoming live-action version of the animated hit, Beauty and the Beast, during Disney's D23 fan celebration on Saturday, August 15. The reel featured Emma Watson as Belle — the film's iconic heroine — taking to a grand staircase for the movie's pivotal ballroom scene. There's no doubt that Watson is likely going to slay as one of Disney's most beloved princesses. Not only has the actress showcased some truly inimitable acting chops since her childhood days in Harry Potter, but the feminist icon's prowess, inspiring activism, and overall fabulousness are perfect for playing a heroine who upended so many tropes. As Disney princesses go, Belle was one of the first who deftly challenged stereotypes and balked at being placed in a category of typical ingenues.

While everyone in town gave her a side-eye over reading books (a woman likes to read?! THE HORROR!) and being disinterested in a brash misogynist, Belle was too busy not giving one single F about what anyone thought of her. She was self-aware, independent, and possessed a shrewd intuition that allowed her to see past appearances.

In celebration of the upcoming live-action film — and feminist princesses who don't give an ounce of notice to the haters — let's take a look at the reasons Belle was Disney's best heroine by far.

1. She Taught Us Why Being Called "Bookish" Isn't A Bad Thing

Reading is the bomb.com, y'all. Not only does voracious reading build your knowledge base and imagination, it is arguably one of the best pastimes to escape your stresses. Is the office grind getting you down? Pick up a copy of Harry Potter or Game of Thrones to be magically transported.

2. She Shut Down Misogyny Like A Boss

Ugh, Gaston. While other townswomen were awestruck by this buffoon's bulging biceps and lush locks, Belle was having none of it. She shut down his advances like a true pro, further cementing her status as the quintessential badass.

3. She Taught Us To Dream Big

From the beginning, Belle was avid in her stance of seeking something more fulfilling "than this provincial life." Her yearning for "adventure in the great wide somewhere" showcased this heroine's ability to dream big — even when she didn't necessarily know which route those dreams should take.

4. She Didn't Settle

I know, I know. The Beast was holding Belle prisoner for the majority of Beauty and the Beast, and there were definitely a few themes of Stockholm Syndrome peppered into the film's fabric. Oomph. Those facets aside, the Beast truly understood — and accepted — all of Belle's characteristics. From that view, she chose someone who met all of her qualifications for the perfect bae, as opposed to settling for an agro chauvinist like Gaston.

5. She Looked Past The Superficial

Belle was haughty toward the Beast during their first interactions — and rightly so — being that the guy held her father captive before allowing a switcheroo where Belle was his prisoner. Belle's initial distaste toward the Beast, however, had nothing to do with his appearance. Even as a voracious reader, she never judged a book by its cover in any circumstance.

The live-action Beauty and the Beast will hit theaters March 17, 2017. I suggest we all re-watch the original animated feature ad nauseam, being that we have a couple years until the new installment.

Images: Walt Disney Pictures; Giphy (5)