On Feminism and Beauty and the Beast

Can I talk about Beauty and the Beast for a second? I’m no movie critic, but let me just say: magic.

This story has always been my favorite. For starters: the music. Just magical. Every time I hear the score of this movie I get chills. The chills are for real people. And then there’s Belle. Strong, independent, smart, adventurous, fearless, book lover, convicted…she is a winner. I have been anticipating this remake since it was announced, and I was not disappointed. But when it comes to Disney Princesses, I’m difficult to disappoint.

I’ve followed Emma Watson for a while now (big Harry Potter fan too) and I have a lot of respect for her. She really is a lot like Belle. One of my favorite things Emma (we’re on a first-name basis here) has been doing is hiding books around the cities she visits for people to find and enjoy. Because I follow Emma and her endeavors, I find myself pondering the issues she is so passionate about. Feminism is a hot topic today, and I will in no way claim to be an expert on the issue, but I do my best to understand both sides to the argument, and ultimately I believe that both men and women have something to bring to the table that is unique. There are things men can do that maybe women can’t do as well, and inversely, things women can do that men can’t. (Birth...hello.) I find this beautiful. I love the way God created us so differently because we need these differences to complement each other. I don’t know that I would consider myself a feminist in the way that it is typically defined, but I do believe in the power of a woman, her influence, her mind etc… I believe there is beauty in mutual submission, and I certainly believe that people should be treated with love in all circumstances. Anyway, this blog post isn’t meant to be a tribute to Emma or a debate on feminism, she just inspires me. 

So. As I left the movie today, I dreamt about the woman my daughter will become and the qualities I hope she has. I have always loved Belle because she wasn't a damsel in distress. She did need saving in her own way, but she was a strong, intelligent woman, who saw beauty within.  (No, I don't want my daughter to BE Belle. Just saying, she's awesome.)

1. Love

For me, feminism isn’t the issue. Love is. It always is. Learning to love one another, celebrate our differences, respect one another, propel one another into greatness … I believe these are the actions that will change the world. Not comparison. Not hate. Not trying to bring others down to get to the top. Simply loving those around us. I have to admit, I am not always the best at doing this, but by the grace of God I pray I can become better at it, so my daughter can learn it well.

2. Fearlessness

As someone who deals with anxiety, and has spent many years making decisions based on fear, I hope my daughter lives a fearless life. When I got pregnant, my determination to fight my fears and anxiety became all the more real because I didn't want my daughter to learn that from me. I want her to be fearless in following the Lord wherever He will have her go and fearless in following her dreams. 

3. Passion

I hope she never feels like her thoughts and opinions don’t matter. Because they do and because changing even one person’s life can make the world of a difference. I find myself often getting stuck there. Do you? What difference can I really make? No one cares what I think. I don’t have a platform like Emma to change history. Isn’t that where Satan would love to stop us? If we believe no one cares, eventually I believe that we stop caring. And if we stop caring, who will? We need to be an influence wherever we can. Whether it’s with 5 people or 5,000 people. So I hope Brighton is passionate about making a difference and being faithful in the small, so God will trust her with larger territories. 

4. Love for learning

I feel like wishing intelligence on my daughter would imply that there is an option for her to be unintelligent, but I think that being intelligent is the willingness to keep learning. For example, my husband was never good in school. He doesn't consider himself the best reader, and didn't excel in a classroom, but the man is by no means unintelligent. His willingness to learn new things, try new things, and refine his skills is what has made him who he is. And he is dang good at what he does. So I hope the same for Brighton. She might not be good at math like her mom, or reading like her dad, but I hope she never stops learning, and always seeks to grow. 

5. God fearing

Above all, I hope Jon and I can leave a legacy that encourages Brighton to love the Lord with all her heart. To pursue Him, His heart, and His desires for her because He has the greatest plans in store for her if she would only be fearless, passionate, loving, learning, and God-fearing!

Funny how a fairy tale can actually make you think about real life issues and the legacy you are leaving, huh?