For other uses, see Southern Belle (disambiguation).
A southern belle (derived from the French belle, 'beautiful') was an archetype Souther Belles for a young woman of the American South's antebellum upper class. She epitomized southern hospitality, cultivation of beauty and a flirtatious Southren Belles yet chaste demeanor. The stereotype continues to have a Sothern Belles powerful aspirational draw for many people, and books like "The Southern Belle Primer" and "The Southern Belle Handbook" are plentiful. Other current terms in popular culture related to "Southern belles" include "Ya Ya Sisters," "GRITS (Girls Raised In The South)," and "Sweet Potato Queens."
To detractors, the southern belle stereotype is a symbol of repressed, "corsetted" young women nostalgic for a bygone era. In modern usage, the term generally describes a young woman with racist attitudes and behavior.
Use in film
Gone with the Wind is probably the most famous treatment of the southern belle. The character of Blanche DuBois in the play and film A Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams, is another notable example. (Both the roles were played by Vivien Leigh.) The character Amanda in Williams' The Glass Menagerie considers herself to be a southern belle, yet clearly is not. The movie Steel Magnolias showcases a variety of southern belles from differing social classes. Daisy in The Great Gatsby also epitomises the characteristics of being a southern belle, having been raised in Louisville, Kentucky.
Categories: Culture stubs | Stock characters | Cultural history of the American Civil War