Belle from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

I didn’t have many friends growing up. I went to a small school in Connecticut where if one person didn’t like you, the other 30 kids didn’t either: they either ignored my existence entirely or picked on me for being different than them. My classmates would rave about Green Day, and I’d geek out over books and movies. The girls were all skinny and shopped at Hollister, and I was heavy and wore nothing but dresses. I was weird, obsessive, and quiet.

Belle showed me they were wrong.

In Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Belle was an outcast. With a passion for books and a wanderlust that pulled her forward, the people in her small, provincial town judged her every day. They called her funny and odd, and different simply because she had no interest in being just like everyone else. None of this fazed her. Every day, she read, and worked, and never once compromised herself for the sake of fitting in. She was fearless in the face of ignorance and judgment. She showed compassion and understanding, even sacrificing her dreams to save the one thing she loved more than books and adventure: her family. When her story ended, she not only fought for what she believed in but found the adventure she longed for in the most surprising of places, never once changing deep down who she was.

Belle was my hero. Like her, my family was my everything. Like her, I escaped into books and dreamed of adventures I would one day have. Like her, I forged my own path, fought for myself, and found a place where I could belong. I am who I am today because of a girl with a dreamy, far off look and her nose stuck in a book. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

-Madison Becker
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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