I saw the teaser trailer for the new live action Beauty and the Beast this morning (shown above) and it’s twinged my feminist radar. Regular readers of my blog know that after the birth of my daughters I’ve become more and more of a feminist. Not the exactly the bra burning type but more towards making sure the influences in my girls lives don’t subtly tell them they are less than a man. This extends from the toys they play with, the books they read, and the movies they watch. I don’t need to be a research scientist to know that watching a princess wait around to be rescued over and over again will give any girl a complex.
Two years ago I saw an advanced screening of Disney’s live action Cinderella movie. After I got past the beauty of the set and costumes, I realized that poor little Cinderella was still stuck in the Dark Ages in terms of using her own strengths to rescue herself.
Then I heard about Emma Watson staring in a live action version of Beauty and the Beast. The cartoon it’s based on already has a lot more going for it in terms of strong female characters. Belle is surprisingly independent for an early Disney princess between staying strong to her beliefs and fighting to save her father and the beast. On top of that, the fact that Emma Watson is Belle will hopefully guarantee that the writer/director will not be allowed to make her character too subservient/helpless. Emma is a outspoken feminist herself having helped launch the UNs HeForShe campaign. It would be hard to imagine that she would tie herself to a movie that was anti-feminist in any way.
So Disney, please don’t let me down again. Please have listened to people like me that complained about the message Cinderella was telling our young girls. Please have Belle be the strong independent woman I know she can be portrayed to be.
And while your at it, can you make the new live action Tinkerbell movie have an engineering minded Tink and not just a funny fluffy headed fairy? Pretty please?