Lyons: Well, Miss Devereaux! And how is the fairest flower of the South?
Diana: Senator Lyons, that's the prettiest thing been said to me since I left Louisiana. I sure been gettin' pow'ful homesick.
One of the Girls: She sure is getting pow'ful Southern.A character archetype of an upper class rich girl from the Deep South — or Sweet Home Alabama. She usually wears a Pimped-Out Dress to every dance or party, carries a Parasol of Prettiness in the daytime, and speaks in the most profound Dixie accent. May be subject to fainting or saying, "Well, I do declare!" A trope that grew out of the South during The American Civil War, there are two versions of the historic Southern Belle: the Bonne Belle ("good beauty" in French), who is loyal to her husband and family even as she sees them off to war, and the Mauvaise Belle ("bad beauty" in French), who is selfish and vain and manipulates those around to her get what she wants. In terms of behavior, the Belle of either flavor exhibits an outgoing and gregarious personality, in contrast to her stoic foreign counterparts the Yamato Nadeshiko and the English Rose. Southern hospitality is essential, with the Belle always willing to offer a nice pitcher of sweet tea or mint juleps to any guests that might arrive. She is witty and charming, but never oversteps the boundaries of her station, gender, or race. While always polite, she will not hesitate to call someone out for violating the rules of the cotillion. Modern Southern Belles are an entirely different creature; the term is used to describe a woman from the rural South in a non-Southern settingnote who's proud of her heritage, and usually has a sweet nature but a feisty temper. Her southern accent and sensibilities may mark her as a Country Mouse to those not close to her, but it gives her a unique charm and she may very well be academically smart and resourceful even if others underestimate her. The historic Southern Belle is now a Dead Horse Trope, usually limited to parody and historical romance novels. Compare Southern Gentleman (the Spear Counterpart), Princess Classic, Proper Lady (the Japanese, English, royal, and general European counterparts of Bonne Belle). In Real Life, they sometimes go by (according to The Other Wiki) "Ya Ya Sisters," "Sweet Potato Queens," and "GRITS (Girls Raised In The South)." note
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- A southern accent turned Shizuru Fujino into one in Mai Hime and Mai-Otome's English dub.
- The same goes for Ranamon in Digimon Frontier.
- Kiel Heim & Lilly Borjarnon from Turn A Gundam appear to have been designed after this archetype.
- In one episode of Pokémon, James returns home to his blue-blooded family, who promptly inform him of his engagement to a woman named Jessiebelle, a perfect example of this trope. Or at least she would if she wasn't such a domineering bitch - one of the reasons that led James to run away from home in the first place.
- In Fairy Tail, the alcoholic and uncouth Cana Alberona's Edolas counterpart is like this.
- In The Firesign Theater's album Everything You Know Is Wrong the wire recording of the medicine show features one of these. Celebrating that the South won the Civil War:
Beulah Belle: Think of those balls you'll have!
Dad: You're too young to think about that, Beulah Balls. Er, Belle.
- Rogue in the hands of Chris Claremont originally was an aversion, as her lower-class origins and tomboy youth on the Mississippi made her more similar to Huckleberry Finn than anything. In later story she still subverted the trope as she only dreamed of being a Scarlett O'Hara-type belle, while in her everyday life wearing pretty unladylike, sometimes masculine clothes and leading the life of a superhero.
- Bunnie Rabbot from the Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog is said to be this. There was a scrapped plotline about her origins that would have revealed her real name as Scarlet O'Hare. While that went nowhere, it's become official canon that while the name has always been spelt "Rabbot", it's actually pronounced "Rah-boh". Nobody calls her that because A: it's only evident in Bunnie's Dixie-ish accent, B: it's spelt Rabbot, and C: her Hollywood Cyborg nature makes "Rabbot" too much of a pun to pass up. Her uncle, also a Hollywood Cyborg, notes his name got the same treatment.
- Gail Simone and Jim Calafiore's original graphic novel Leaving Megalopolis featured a heroine named Southern Belle who started out as a Bonne Belle until she was corrupted along with the majority of the city's heroes when they fought an Eldritch Abomination. She was part of a superhero team alongside Tom-O-Hawk and his son, Scout, but according to Scout she was actually a Mauvaise Belle who butted in on their partnership and treated Scout like crap. She's slated to be a main character in the sequel series Surviving Megalopolis and is described by Simone as "An incredibly horrible person."
- April Kane from Terry and the Pirates is a junior version.
Films — Animation
Films — Live-Action
- Julie Marsden (Bette Davis) in Jezebel. Very much mauvaise until her Heel-Face Turn at the end.
- Everyone from Venus in The American Astronaut, seriously.
- Rosemary Bartlow in The Bad and the Beautiful.
- Gone with the Wind:
- Scarlett O'Hara is quite possibly the definitive example of the mauvaise. Scarlett turns out to be a bit of a subversion later on, as after the war she shows qualities very unbecoming to a classic belle, such as readiness to do hard work herself and an almost Yankee-like business sense and enterprise.
- Scarlett's rival Melanie providing the definitive example of the bonne.
- Phyllis in Excision is a modern-day Southern housewife who aspires to this. She wants to enroll her daughter Pauline in cotillion classes in order to teach her how to be a "proper" lady.
- Calvin Candie's sister Lara Lee in Django Unchained is a Deconstruction of this type of character. While she does appear to be polite and dedicated to her brother, she is also approving of slavery and has a Fate Worse Than Death organized for a main character at the end, putting her in stark contrast to how she might otherwise be.
- Melanie Hamilton (Bonne Belle) and Scarlett O'Hara (Mauvaise Belle) in Gone with the Wind.
- Daisy Buchanan and Jordan Baker in The Great Gatsby are Western Belles.
- Mary Johnson of Fellow Travelers. She's rich, from New Orleans, and well-educated for the time period (McCarthy-era Washington). She's also strong-willed and independent, and like so many of the belles on this page, that gets her into trouble.
- William Faulkner is especially fond of this trope, although his characters tend to be deconstructions.
- Zin of Everwild is the inverted version of this.
- Claire Goodman of Lynn Austin's Refiner's Fire trilogy is a Mauvais Belle.
- Aramat Drawdes in one short novel in Caitlin R. Kiernan's Alabaster is an especially dangerous (and insane) Mauvais Belle.
- The short story Witch War by Richard Matheson describes a group of very young Southern Belles (all teen or pre-teen girls) who are sitting on a porch, drinking lemonade, gossiping and other such activities associated with the trope ... until it's revealed they are a secret weapon to be used against enemy soldiers, whom the girls rapidly massacre with horrifying powers of telekinesis. They then return to gossiping and giggling, with a murmur of "aren't we awful!"
- The title character in Hortense Calisher's short story "The Rehabilitation of Ginevra Leake" is a deconstruction. Ginny Doll, a Southern girl who's moved to New York, has been raised like this by her very proper mother, but is unattractive, unable to get any male attention, and accordingly ends up with insanely high-strung and romantic ideas about men. She eventually ends up joining the Communist Party and finding happiness, without ever ditching the lace towels and fancy hats.
- In Leverage, Sophie Devereaux pretended to be one in "The Two Horse Job."
- In The Drew Carey Show, Drew dates a Southern Belle in the later seasons.
- Charlotte from Private Practice starts off as the mauvaise variation. And continues and continues and continues...
- Blanche Devereaux on The Golden Girls.
- The ladies of Designing Women
- An episode of The Twilight Zone entitled Jess-Belle, has examples of both. Jess-Belle would be Mauvais, while her rival Ellwyn would be an example of Bonne.
- Farscape: Aeryn is one of these in an AU episode. It is freakin' terrifying.
- Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick) in The Closer. She's a Southern Belle detective from Georgia who really stands out working in the Los Angeles police department. Her Southern charm and accent are actually a part of her interrogation tactic on suspects - although, as her husband Fritz points out, at heart she's "a bit of an old-fashioned girl."
- Maude Standish in The Magnificent Seven- although, since she is a con artist, her credentials may be slightly suspect.
- Calleigh Duquesne from CSI: Miami has elements of this.
- "Colonel Daddy's daughter" on Hee Haw.
- Lemon Breeland on Hart Of Dixie.
- JAG: Harriet Sim's mother Lydia Beaumont Sims.
- One appears on Good Eats, and shares her (breakfast) grits with an Italian man who is enjoying some polenta (which she calls "dinner grits.")
- House of Cards (US): Claire Underwood is a Texas Belle. Nonetheless, she buries her accent quite effectively.note
- In the Frontier Circus episode "The Courtship", the T & T Circus arrives in New Atlanta, a town run by a pair of southern belle sisters, one of whom attempts to inveigle Casey into marriage.
- GLOW once featured a team called the Southern Belles. Their names were Scarlett and Tara.
- Amber O'Neal, when not playing up her love of motor cycles or rap music, such as her Women Of Wrestling tag team "The All American Girls", though while she's a "good girl" in WOW, she's usually of the bad beauty mold, especially after aligning with Bullet Club.
- Lady D's gimmick, being a classy lady who loved everyone and everything. Simply D'Vyne instead identifies with Philadelphia (and is a lot less loving)
- The Southern Belles of Wrestlicious, Charlotte and Savannah, were a deliberate pastiche of the earlier GLOW team.
- Mister Gently Benevolent posed as one in Bleak Expectations. Not a spoiler because he wasn't even bothering with the accent most of the time...
- I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again did a parody of Song of the South featuring Lady Constance as "a real Southern Belle", leading to the pun: "She shore is shaped like one!"
- Played with in A Streetcar Named Desire. Blanche is a Southern Belle in the 20th century, a fading relic of a bygone age.
- Every Tennessee Williams play? Or at least every second Tennessee Williams play? In The Glass Menagerie Amanda (mother) is a former washed-up Southern Belle.
- Diana Devereaux in Of Thee I Sing, who was "the most beautiful blossom in all the Southland" until Wintergreen jilted her.
- Magnolia in Show Boat.
- Cindy Lou Bethany in Kiss the Boys Goodbye.
- Cho Chang in A Very Potter Musical and A Very Potter Sequel.
- As is Miss Cooter in Me and My Dick. Same actress even.
- Alche-Miss from Freedom Force is Southern Belle crossed with Dirty Hippie in a hilarious manner.
- A horrible, horrible subversion greets you near the beginning of Uninvited. For the uninitiated ones... well... early in game, you meet a Southern Belle, or certainly looks like it from the back, described to be similar to the aforementioned Scarlett O'hara. Unless you do one certain thing and made preparations beforehand, however, she will reveal her face being devoid of flesh and there's nothing but skull in her head, and she starts ripping you away while screaming maniacally. Satisfied yet?
- Billy Jean Blackwood.
- Pokémon has Lilligant, a plant Mon that looks like one. It's always female.
- Kingdom of Loathing gives us "Diving Belles", southern belles who drowned themselves and came back as zombies that roam the depths of the Marinara Trench. Parodies of Scarlett O'Hara, their most dangerous attack is kissing the player really hard after mistaking him for an ex-boyfriend.
- The President of the United States in Saints Row IV, if you pick Female Voice 3.
- Bree Kay in Webcomic/Kurami is a more modern Southern belle. It was hard to tell until September 2015, when she was given a mild Funetik Aksent to make it more obvious.
- Faye's mother in Questionable Content is something of one (at least compared to her daughters, the elder of whom chose to make her life in darkest Massachusetts and the younger who came out as a lesbian not long after). Faye herself also lampshades this somewhat by jokingly referencing herself with common southern belle stereotypes, such as getting "the vapors" and referring to Massachusetts as the "Godless north." Conversely, she's quite defensive of other people making fun of southern culture.
- King of the Hill:
- Luanne is a modern take on the belle.
- Bill Dauterive's relatives qualify.
- In Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation, Buster and Babs meet three Southern belle alligators. They all try to marry (and possibly eat) Buster.
- In the Futurama episode "The Deep South", Fry meets a mermaid Southern belle in the ruins of the legendary lost sunken city of Atlanta. Fry settles in to enjoy his life with Umbriel, but upon encountering the Mermaid Problem, he runs to try to catch his friends.
Fry: Turns out I loved her, but I wasn't in love with her.
Amy: (to Leela) Trouble in the bedroom...
- Penelope Pitstop, first in Wacky Races and then in her own series The Perils of Penelope Pitstop.
- Clarice Cow in Science Court. Granted, Clarice is a puppet that one of the main cast uses for their in-universe children's show.
- Annabelle in Eek The Cat.
- Tex Avery's Red Hot Riding Hood was depicted as a Southern belle in the cartoon "Uncle Tom's Cabana".
- Tara Belle in Beverly Hills Teens.
- In Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, one of Bloo's Imagine Spots portrays Frankie as one, much to her confusion.
- Truly from My Little Pony.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- Rarity herself has slight shades of this.
- Cherry Jubilee.
- Applejack once pretends to be one ("Apple Jewel") in response to Rarity pretending to be a country bumpkin.
- Her brother Big Macintosh also pretends to be one ("Orchard Blossom") to participate in the Sisterhooves Social with Apple Bloom.
- Bones' cousin Lucy Belle in the Donkey Kong Jr cartoon "Double Or Nothing" from Saturday Supercade.
- The Critic: Alice Tompkins has a sister named Miranda who acted like this. It didn't do her much good in New York.
- In 1940s Looney Tunes short Confederate Honey, Elmer Fudd tries to woo one of these.
- Sonic Sat Am has Bunnie. Although more of a tomboy then most examples, she still counts.
- Veronica Lodge is portrayed this way in The Archie Show.