When children are young, there's nothing wrong with a good bit of Disney but as they get older, you need to consider the influence these characters have on developing personalities. Even Disney understands that perhaps their early princesses don’t make the best feminist role models for young girls. Slowly but surely, Disney have been trying to turn their Princesses into better examples for our children and what better way than to cast a young woman that has already inspired an entire generation of people.
Emma Watson is truly a feminist hero. She is an accomplished actress, a graduate of Brown University (an Ivy League school) and has been a UN Goodwill Ambassador since 2014.
And if bringing ‘Hermione Granger’ to life wasn’t enough, she’s now been charged with bringing an iconic Disney Princess to our live action silver screens.
The highly anticipated cinematic release of the new ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is set for March 2017 and details are being heralded in tantalising trickles.
The latest news to come our way involves Belle’s backstory.
At the end of the day, the original animated version is a love story taking place in an isolated castle but the details of Belle’s life beforehand are rather sparse when you think about it.
The town thinks she’s beautiful but too weird to actually bother all that much with, her father is an inventor and she loves him dearly, and she likes to read. Did I miss anything?
How such a two dimensional character became iconic in the first place is actually a little baffling. It must have been the songs.
'We tried to tweak things to make her more proactive, and a bit less carried along by the story,' says Watson in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, 'and a bit more in charge of — and in control of — her own destiny.'
This is remarkably refreshing from an industry that still overuses the ‘Damsel in Distress’ trope but what else could we expect once Emma Watson had been confirmed for the role.
'She’s very practical, she’s a very good horse-rider,' Emma continued. 'She always has these pockets on her where she’s carrying tools and books. In the movie, she wears these little ballet shoes, and I knew that they had to go, because if you’re going to ride a horse, and tend your garden, and fix machinery, then you need to be in proper boots. So, Belle’s got proper boots, and she’s got pockets which sit outside of her skirt that kind of works like a tool belt, and she’s also got bloomers on underneath all of her skirts, so she can get on and off a horse and she can run. She looks quite grounded and earthy and practical, as far as possible.'
It is ultimately only a small step in terms of forwarding equality but it is a giant leap when it comes to, once again, making Disney Princesses valuable role models in the modern world.
'I think Belle as a character represents a woman who is willing to stand outside of what is expected of her, and chase her dreams, chase her intuition, and I think that will really resonate and really appeal.'
Well, it certainly appeals to us here at Women in Business and we suddenly can’t wait to see for ourselves what Emma has achieved with such a character.