Is Emma Watson’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ faux-feminist?


We’re not gonna lie, we’re SO EXCITED for the live action ‘Beauty and the Beast’. Just hearing the music gives us goosebumps and maximum nostalgia. But critics, journalists, bloggers, the casual internet peruser… Not one seems to be able to agree on what the heck Emma Watson’s reincarnation of Belle actually is.

Emma Watson has recently spoke up about the issue of ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ in the story. Some call it feminism. Others call it bollocks. We call it as we see it and you can make the decision for yourself.

The question of the corset.

The costumer says:

“In Emma’s reinterpretation…Belle is an active princess. She did not want a dress that was corseted or that would impede her in any way.”

Ok, so no constricting, teeny weeny waist corset for this Disney princess. But there will be a big floofy prom dress. How active can you actually be in something like this, we wonder?

Why gotta be a dress? Why not take it one step further and go for a pant suit? Speaking of prom dresses…

QUIZ: Which character from ‘Beauty and the Beast’ are you?

This Zoella book club film just got a trailer and we literally can’t

Emma Watson turned down ‘Cinderella’.

We won’t deny that Belle is our fave Disney princess. However, it doesn’t seem fair to assume Cinders is less of a role model.

She says of Belle: “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,”

Cinderella, however, is a story about a girl in an impossible situation. Abused domestically and surely suffering some psychological after effects. What happens after she gets her HEA? Doesn’t she make more of her crappy lot by breaking the rules and having the goddamn time of her life?

Belle falls in love with her captor… Is it Stockholm Syndrome?

“Belle actively argues and disagrees with [Beast] constantly. She has none of the characteristics of someone with Stockholm Syndrome because she keeps her independence, she keeps that freedom of thought.”

Emma Watson talks in length to EW about the subject. On a basic level though, Stockholm Syndrome can be described like this:

[It] is a condition that causes hostages to develop a psychological alliance with their captors as a survival strategy during captivity.

All righty then. Belle may be argumentative and seeking an escape, but she does become more reasonable in her behaviour (in the Beast’s eyes). And the Beast himself, although a bit rough by nature, can also be seen to be quite manipulative…

If the Beast had not shown that glimmer of humanity and empathy by letting her go when her father needed her it would be much harder to forgive their relationship.

But wait! This new Belle HAS A JOB!

So Emma Watson’s Belle will be the inventor instead of her father.

“What is she doing with her time?” asks the actress. Well, let’s not forget Belle in the Disney animation is 17 years old. If she were in our world she’d prolly be studying for her A-Levels. Why can’t reading be enough?

And what does she invent? A washing machine.

Really. Belle the feminist role model creates something that make her domestic life easier so “she could sit and use that time to read instead.”

We would have liked to see “crazy old Maurice” scrubbing the linens while Belle gets smeared in motor oil creating a cock-blocker or a steam powered rape whistle (because let’s be honest, with a douchebag like Gaston around you need it).

But you apparently can’t have everything.

Watson goes on, saying “there was never very much information or detail at the beginning of the story as to why Belle didn’t fit in.” Hence she’s now the inventor. We wonder if it is actually more shocking that a village finds a girl reading and dreaming a strange thing. Because inventing is actually a little odd, even by today’s standards.

Reading is a goddamn right. Everyone should be able to access literature. So to condemn a woman’s intellect on that basic level is more effective, surely. Engineering, though?

Does this make Belle more inspirational for young girls, or is it selling an impossible vision?

This provincial life is not enough for Belle. It wasn’t enough in the cartoon, and we assume it’s not enough for the live-action version either. Why then does she settle to be locked away in a castle only a few miles outside her hometown?

It’s great that Belle has been given more of a backstory in the new film, more of a motivation and a logic. But what about her future? We want to know what happens after she gets that HEA with her newly-human Beast.

Let’s recap. In the 2017 movie, we know this of Belle:

  • She still wears the iconic yellow prom dress
  • She has a job (or an active hobby because who knows if she’s getting paid for those domestic appliances)
  • She still falls in love with her jailor
  • She is the only significant female character other than a teapot and a wardrobe
  • Bitches still love libraries

Do you think the character could have been pushed further? Are you still excited for this film? Share you thoughts with us!


Leave a Reply




Written by Sarah Clare

Sarah is the Lead Writer and Design Queen here at Maximum Pop! Sarah holds an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University, and a BA in Creative Writing with English Literature from Marjon (BIG UP THE MARJON MASSIVE!). Sarah joined MP! after seeing an advertisement for writers on Instagram – because where else would a design master find their dream job?

Sarah is currently working on an expose on Draco Malfoy in her spare time. But not if his father hears about it.

[g1_socials_user user="149" icon_size="28" icon_color="text"]

The real reason Starbucks calls their smallest size a ‘tall’ will BLOW YOUR TINY MIND

29 tumblr posts about Dobby that are just plain weird