The character of Belle from the 1991 Disney film Beauty and the Beast was, throughout my childhood and even today, one of my all-time favourite heroines.

Disney Princesses tend to get a bad reputation, as many of the storylines can be seen as anti-feminist, where a woman needs saving and isn’t capable of much else other than singing and looking pretty. However, I always felt Belle was different. The daughter of an inventor, she is always reading, learning, and thinking. She loves to escape into a good story and ‘(wants) adventure in the great wide somewhere’. More recently, in the 2017 live-action version of Beauty and the Beast, Belle herself is an inventor, coming up with clever mechanisms to make everyday work easier.

I grew up in an old, working class area where learning isn’t a priority, and people still look down on women with ‚Äòtoo many ideas‚Äô. I loved nothing more than to lose days with my nose stuck in a book, thinking of great places to visit and adventures to go on.

Belle taught me that being odd is ok, that being myself is ok, and that nothing beats a good book! I‚Äôm the first in my family to go to university, and I‚Äôm looking to immigrate to Canada in the near future to go on some new adventures of my own. I can’t help but think that maybe Belle had a little bit to do with it.

-Sarah Froggatt
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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