"Beauty and the Beast" is not just a classic, but it is the most important Disney princess movie of all time. From a strong female lead to important messages on body image and learning, this masterpiece has it all.
1. Belle is the best heroine.
Belle is everything I aspire to be in life. She's strong, selfless, determined, independent, and she didn't need a boy to make her feel complete. She loved her father and her books so much and she was perfectly fine not fitting in. She knew how the people of the town viewed her: odd. And she didn't care. She was shamelessly herself despite what others thought of her.
2. Belle never gave into Gaston.
I've never met someone who genuinely liked Gaston. What was there to like? He was rude, sexist, overbearing, and overall just a bully. He harassed Belle constantly and her dislike of him may have been what made him want her so badly. He thought she was playing hard to get, while the other girls in the town were throwing themselves at him. But Belle saw who he was, how he treated others, and she knew she wanted nothing to do with him, and despite his persistent advances, she never gave into him and that's totally admirable.
3. It reinforced that enjoying reading is great.
I love reading. Belle loves reading. When I was younger, most girls were jealous of Belle getting the handsome guy in the end, but I was envious of the library. One reason everyone found Belle to be so odd was her love of books. As an avid reader today, I sometimes get some of the same looks and replies when I say I love to read. It definitely isn't for everyone, but Belle shows us that just because it isn't "normal" doesn't mean it isn't okay.
"A well-read woman is a dangerous creature." -Lisa Kleypas
4. It shows looks don't really matter.
Even as an animated person. Gaston isn't that bad looking. His personality sucks, yes, but if Belle were looking to settle and just focus on looks, she could have easily chosen Gaston. Girls in the village Belle lived in would have killed to have Gaston want them the way he wanted Belle. When Belle was in the castle with the Beast, despite the way he looked, she found solace and something more to him. Even though he had a terrible temper at times, it was obvious he tried and managed to learn to control it for Belle's sake. Underneath his appearance, Belle found a caring, gentle, loving, misunderstood boy who was desperate for love.
5. The prince gets saved in this one.
This might be my favorite aspect of Beauty & the Beast that so often gets overlooked. In stories like Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Rapunzel, the princess is saved, whether it be from poison, eternal sleep, or a castle tower. Though Belle is the "trapped" one in Beauty & the Beast, the Beast is, too, maybe more so than Belle. Belle's selfless, unyielding love and the fact that she came back for him despite the danger that was waiting at the castle ultimately saved the Beast.