"Insisting upon the narrative of the Belle is identical, is the flip side, to insisting upon the narrative of slavery. The Belle is not a quaint or cute cultural artifact—the Belle is failed propaganda. However much it shocks us, there is true advancement in acknowledging Southern women are no more beautiful than any other population of women, no more graceful or virtuous or charming. Instead, they need to be praised for what they really are: the unaware key holders of the unnameable thing we lose the moment we let a societal fiction prescribe who they, or we, are supposed to be. (And if Southern women aren’t strong enough to own up to flaws, we are doing no more than playing the longest-running—and soberest!—game of cultural dress-up ever known.)"
-Natalie Elliot, who says in the same article that Maggie the Cat just taught her to be desperate.