Southern Belle. Ahhh, those words can either make a woman cringe or smile with pride. What is a true Southern Belle and does she even exist anymore? Is that a term of endearment or a death sentence?
Where you are in this great country of ours will probably determine the answer to those questions. As I sat in my Victorian Literature class at the great University of South Carolina, I could’t help but notice the wide array of pearls, sorority letters, and southern drawls. Myself included. Many of these young women born and raised under the Mason Dixon. Yet what truly constitutes a Southern Belle? Is it your hometown? The way you dress? Or is it more than that…
I’m 19 years young, and in these few years, I have come to realize that the Southern Belle still does exist. She can be found all over the south. She is characterized by not only her charm and poise, but also her manner of speech. As well as the way she conducts herself in social settings, the way she is kind and hospitable at all times, and the way she respects herself and others, all the while holding true to Southern traditions, are key aspects of a true Southern Belle.
The term Southern Belle can bring flashes of pity and and even anger from some women in fields of feminism. Yet, contrary to their perceived negative notions about us Southern Belles, it’s not a term of constriction but rather a model of womanhood to strive for. One thing to remember, a Southern Belle is not a pair of pearls or sorority letters on your car, but rather the manner in which you carry yourself and display the true qualities of a young Southern woman.
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