From Disney’s Dreams Come True: The Art of Disney’s Classic Fairytales:
“Arthur Rackham, the famed British illustrator of children’s fairytale books, said that there is no doubt that ‘we should be behaving ourselves very differently if Beauty had never been united to her Beast.’
“In Belle, Disney had its first independent female character, one who enjoyed reading and learning, and who lived her life according to her standards. Longing for substance in her life, she shunned the vacuous Gaston, over whom all the other ladies in town swooned. Belle’s genuine selflessness also distinguished her from the other women in town, including, most particularly, the ladies who pursued Gaston.
“While anyone else would have been overcome with fear, Belle’s devotion to her father gave her the courage to stay alone with the fearsome Beast in his remote castle.
“Her strong will earned the respect and devotion of the Beast.”
While some would say the Beast is the Disney equivalent to an emotionally abusive boyfriend (watch this space), this description of Belle shows that you have to love yourself before someone else will.
Plus, it proves that Belle is the most bitchin’ of the Disney princesses.
Related: Drug of Choice: The Disney Heroine.