life stuff

Why I’m really not OK with this film

This week the new Cinderella film is being released, and I’ve been reading a lot about it. Not about how skilfully the old fairytale has been converted to live action, or the quality of the acting, or the sumptuousness of the sets – it’s all been about Lily James’s waist in that ball gown.

Image - Disney

Image – Disney

The actress is already incredibly slim – she couldn’t get away with those flapper dresses in Downton if she had any curves – but the dress has been designed to give her a mind-bogglingly small waist. She admitted that she was laced into an extremely tight corset – so much that it was hard to eat even soup when she was in costume – all to make her as close as possible to the Disney figure we all remember. The design of the dress also helped, with the flare of the full skirt accentuating the microscopic span of her middle.

And I’m really not alright with that.

Cinderella is a film aimed at kids (it has a U rating), and the kids of that age today are pretty savvy about what they see. They watch enough cartoons to know that when something lands on Wile E Coyote he won’t get hurt, or that Marge Simpson’s hair is impossibly high and can’t really conceal the family cat. But this file is live action, not a cartoon. The kids watching will see Lily go from the dowdy cleaner (probably wearing some sort of sack) to the princess of the ball with the tiniest waist in the ballroom. And who gets the handsome prince? Is that really the sort of message we want to give out?

Lily is a beautiful girl and would have looked stunning in whatever dress they put her in – and I bet she still looks stunning in the sack outfit too. The director has made the choice to make her cartoon-like, into an image which no girl could – or should – hope to achieve.

I wasn’t bombarded by these sorts of images when I was younger, but I still spent my teenage years on a perpetual diet, trying and failing to achieve a flat stomach. It wasn’t until much later I realised that I was the shape I was, and learned to accept it as my healthy norm. If I’d been a kid today I think I would have struggled horribly, and films like Cinderella would only have made things worse.

What do you think? Does seeing this make you feel bad about how you look? I hope not.

11 thoughts on “Why I’m really not OK with this film

  1. Don’t forget what else they are seeing, that if while you are emaciated if you also endure abuse with a smile on your face and a song on a lips, it will all be rewarded with . . . a magical party. Part of the abuse package is teaching women to inflict harm on themselves. But that magical party, and that man who doesn’t even know her name but LOVES her . . . can’t say I am alright with it either. Kids do learn from movies, let us all stop pretending they don’t. It was a waste of time to ask that actress to endure that crapola with the soup considering they can PHOTOSHOP her hips at no harm to her. Makes me wonder about that director and even more un-okay with this.

  2. Thanks for posting this, Sue. Sometimes it feels as if we’re going backward, but as long as we keep talking and not letting things just slide, we WILL get the astonishing message across that girls and women are people, not just bodies.

  3. Thank you so so much for writign this. I’m absolutly on your side! The pictures we confornt our children with are mostly unrealistic and cruel in most ways and still force our genereation and the following one as well to try to reach these idealistic, unhealthy images. I’m a teenager now and when I grew up we did not have that hard images and there are still many many people fighting against eating disorders and despression and other psychological or physological illnesses. How are young children growing up right now going to see themselves when they are 14 or 15. Are eating disorders going to be a common thign and not having them something really unusual? This movie is just one of many examples and if I would direct a movie such as this I would have really big problems with releasing it like that. We ALL are responsible for the young children today and their future!!!

  4. I posted this on my Facebook page and to my surprise only got replies in support of the waistline from my teen readers. They protested that your blog was ‘shaming thin’ – not the reaction I expected. I however told them my support was for the fairy godmother (HBC) who looks pleasantly normally proportioned in her dress.

  5. I don’t agree with your post, because I wouldn’t say it’s really that unnaturally skinny. I went to see the movie when it premiered and I didn’t think about her waistline being incredibly thin, because I know a lot of people (including myself) who have a naturally skinny waistline, not much larger than Cinderella’s, and posts like these might make people feel worse about their skinny waist. I think today’s society is too focused on traditional Disney characters being unrealistic they forget that to some people, this is realistic and completely natural. Not everyone is curvy and posts like these actually make people feel bad, even I have felt like the fact I’m slim is somehow wrong, even though I’m normally not insecure about my weight at all. Cinderella’s waist isn’t unrealistic, especially since women always wore corsets during the time this movie takes place in.
    I think that instead of focusing on her waistline thus bringing the kids’ and teens’ attention to it, everyone should enjoy the movie, because it was honestly a great remake. 🙂

    • Hi Vicky, Thanks for disagreeing. Everyone has a right to an opinion, and you make a valid argument.My intention was not to make anyone feel bad, but I stand by my views. My perfectly proportioned daughter watches images like that and feels fat, and I think that’s wrong. Hopefully, though, like you, she can watch the film as a great remake. 🙂

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