Princesses, Fairy Tales, And Positive Role Models
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Princesses, Fairy Tales, And Positive Role Models

How “Beauty & the Beast” made me who I am today.

Princesses, Fairy Tales, And Positive Role Models
Mary Newton

When Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” premiered in 1991, I was not alive. Since it predates me by five years, I have been watching this movie for my entire life. It was not until recently, however, that I began to realize just how much this movie has shaped my experiences as a person. My hope is to share this growth with you, that you might see the positive sides of princesses as role models in children’s lives.

One of my absolute favorite things to do is read. Practically since birth, I’ve been a reader. I memorized a book as early as two years old. Not only is this love of reading basically genetic, but it was also furthered by positive role models in my life, such as Belle, who read all the time. My favorite line from the movie’s opening song is “with a dreamy far-off look, and her nose stuck in a book,” because, though the townspeople found this behavior odd, it summed up everything I strove to be. I still make a habit of walking around in my free time with a book in one hand, especially if it’s a well-written book. Having a role model who did what she loved despite her town’s view of it kept me reading, which I will forever be grateful for.

I also learned a lot about people, and how to treat them, from this film. The most glaring of examples is Belle’s relationship with the Beast, and how a little time, patience, and understanding can turn hatred into love. Of course, as life has continued, I have learned that love does not necessarily have to be romantic love; only that sometimes, loving a person for who they are takes a bit of time.

Along this same vein, this movie taught me that it is not just someone’s ability to be lovable that makes love possible, but also my capacity to love.

Furthermore, and on a larger scale, I learned an important lesson about society and popularity. Consider the character of Gaston: while he is certainly not the dastardliest of Disney villains, he has one power many of them lack, which is his extreme popularity. The very idea that a whole town would show up to see him married before he’s even proposed seems absolutely preposterous, and yet it happens. The same townspeople also follow him into the frightening forest to kill a supposed monster with very little provocation. And while this may seem more like a caricature of regular society as opposed to a direct observation of it, I can think of several examples I won’t name in this article that prove just how accurate Gaston’s character is.

Finally, this movie taught me a lot about family. We have Cogsworth and Lumiere, who, despite their differences and arguments, remain quite close. We have Mrs. Potts and Chip, who provide not only an example of a mother-son relationship, but also act as step-in family members for Belle alongside the other enchanted objects. And we even have Maurice, who embraces both his and his daughter’s oddities, and who would even brave a snow storm and subsequently risk his own life just to rescue her.

I could name a million more things I learned from this movie if I had all the time in the world. Every time I watch it – and I watch it a lot – I learn something new. The film has provided a whole crowd of positive role models for me throughout my formative years, and I continue to strive for those positive traits displayed by the characters to this day. I will forever be grateful for its existence.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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