“Be Our Guest” to a New Feminist Beauty and the Beast

Be Our Guest to a New Feminist Beauty and the Beast

Mica Chesshir, Staff

The live action movie, Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson, has been much anticipated by Disney fans. Since the original film, Belle has been admired as a feisty, independent, and not to mention, intelligent young woman. In the upcoming adaption of the classic tale, this Belle will be portrayed, but with some new changes influenced by Emma Watson.

    Emma wondered what Belle did with her time since the 1991 version didn’t really focus on Belle’s backstory. Watson told Entertainment Weekly that Belle is now the inventor in her family. If you remember in the 1991 movie, Belle’s father invents contraptions and displays them at fairs. In the new Beauty and the Beast, Belle invents a type of washing machine to do her laundry, allowing her more time to read.  In the new adaption, Emma creates a Belle who is equally as concerned about teaching other girls to read than just reading herself.

     Like Belle, Emma has recently been hiding books in New York and London subway stations for others to find and enjoy.  Bill Condon, the director, said this new Belle is inspired by Emma Watson’s work for feminism in real life. Emma Watson is passionate about gender equality and today is a renowned feminist figure. In 2014, she became a U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador, and in 2015, she was named on the Time’s 100 list of world’s most influential people. Emma Watson is passionate about the feminist movement and has made many steps to promote the cause. In a speech she gave at the United Nations Headquarters for the HeforShe foundation, she said, “I am inviting you to step forward, to be seen to speak up, to be the “he” for “she”. And to ask yourself if not me, who? If not now, when?”

    Living by these words, she selects the roles she plays on screen carefully wanting to impact women and men alike to support the cause. In 2013, she declined the role as Cinderella in the live-action remake that came out in 2015 because the passive character didn’t resonate with her. When she heard of the remaking of The Beauty and the Beast, after she turned down Cinderella, she felt that Belle resonated more with her personality. Talking about her character Belle, Emma said,She remains curious, compassionate and open-minded. And that’s the kind of woman I would want to embody as a role model, given the choice.”