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Emma Watson Made Some Fresh Feminist Changes to Princess Belle

By Kelsey Duchesne

 

With the holidays and new year celebrations behind us, some of you (and okay, us) may be in a bit of a post-holiday slump. But fear not! We’re here to remind you that the Beauty and the Beast remake will be in theaters in less than two months, and most importantly, Emma Watson has taken a classic Disney character and given her a fresh feminist spin. Are your ears perking up yet?


Watson will be starring as the iconic bookworm Belle in Beauty and the Beast in March, and shared how she’s helped make Belle a more dynamic and modern character.


“In the animated movie, it’s her father who is the inventor, and we actually co-opted that for Belle,” Watson told Entertainment Weekly.  “I was like, ‘Well, there was never very much information or detail at the beginning of the story as to why Belle didn’t fit in, other than she liked books. Also, what is she doing with her time?’ So, we created a backstory for [Belle], which was that she had invented a kind of washing machine so that instead of doing laundry, she could sit and use that time to read instead. So, yeah, we made Belle an inventor.”


Watson does have a point-- in most classic Disney films, the princesses don’t have a passion for their work (and most of them, being Princesses, didn’t seem to have anything resembling an actual job.) Belle being an inventor-- a job that calls for lots of patience, imagination, and creativity-- seems like the perfect job for her.


“In Emma’s reinterpretation, Belle is an active princess,” costume designer Jacqueline Durran added. “She did not want a dress that was corseted or that would impede her in any way.


Amen! Not only does this choice seem more practical and functional for a princess, but it’s also a nice nod to body positivity. As corsets are often known for minimizing the waist and pushing up the bust, it will be nice for young female audiences to see that Princesses bodies are just fine on their own-- no corset needed.

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