If you’re anything like me, you probably grew up watching Disney movies. Disney will always have a special place in our hearts, but as young girls grow up, it’s important for them to see where Disney may fall short.
If you’re any sort of Disney fan, you were probably really hype about the new Cinderella movie (and of course you would be). Helena Bonham Carter is in it and have you seen that dress? It’s stunning.
But that dress, I’m afraid, has gotten the attention of not just Prince Charming, but critics all over the world.
Disney has always been criticized for drawing its women with exceptionally tiny waists and flat stomachs (was Jasmine living on the parrot’s crackers?), but there is an immense difference between a cartoon with a thirteen-inch waist and an actual human being with those measurements.
So what does this mean? Is this all bad?
First and foremost, the actress, Lily James, had to be on a liquid diet for her to fit into that dress. That’s an enormous red flag right there. Now, it’s not unheard of for actors to change their diet to look the part for a role, but when Anne Hathaway did this, she was trying to look like she was starved, not like she was going to a ball.
Realistically speaking, there was no need for her to fit into a size that small. Why not just alter the dress? The answer, of course, is obvious.
Corsets, by nature, are designed to make waists look tiny and like they naturally taper down into wider hips, which creates more dramatic curves. But did we learn nothing of the corset’s evils from Elizabeth Swann?
The obvious point is that we shouldn’t be teaching little girls– or big girls– that in order to turn heads, your waist must be microscopic.
But, as one article from Huffington Post Women pointed out, we need to be careful who we fault in this dress debacle. This was Disney’s call, not James’s call.
James, as anyone can see, has a naturally thin body. But critics are coming at her from all sides, accusing the body in the dress of being “freakish,” “unnatural,” and photo-shopped.
People are shaming James for having her body, which is wrong. It’s a common issue that comes up when we discuss body love.
In an effort to combat fat-phobia, people often turn around and shame the bodies that do happen to fit society’s mold for beauty– which isn’t fair to those bodies. Skinny people by no means get as much shame and hate directed towards their bodies as “larger” people do.
But body-shaming won’t go away if we just swap fat-shaming for skinny-shaming.
Should Disney have considered maybe nixing the corset and going for a more natural shape? Probably.
Should they have at least given James a corset that didn’t put her on a liquid diet? Absolutely.
But should we be criticizing James’s natural body because the role she is playing was designed to set an unhealthy standard for girls to look up to? Absolutely not.
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