It seems that no one these past few weeks can stop talking about Disney’s “Cinderella.” Everyone is freaking out about the film for reasons that extend beyond just the amazing technicolor or enchanting storyline; there is also a huge controversy over Cinderella’s tiny waist. Lily James, who plays the princess in the remake, revealed that the corset she wore for the role was so tight that she could not eat solid food and went on a partial liquid diet to accommodate the corset.
“I have naturally a quite small waist… And on top of that I have a corset that was pulled me [within an] inch of my life… And then the skirt is so big that the perspective and the proportions make it look smaller than it is,” James told Nightline Magazine.
The liquid diet and corset slimmed James down to a 17-inch waist from her natural 21-inch, though the average waistline is 38 inches for the average American woman and 29 inches for the average 16-year-old teenage girl, according from a study by Dr. David McCarthy at the London Metropolitan University for female teenagers and a 2012 study by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.
Cinderella’s small waist in the film does not set a positive example for young girls in today’s society. Most young girls love the idea of pretending or trying to be Disney princesses. By shrinking an adult human being down to cartoon proportions, Disney is giving young girls a negative view of what they should want to look like. At such a young age, girls find their perception of beauty in these princesses and they may later struggle when they realize that it is impossible without putting their health in danger.
Women, including James, should not be criticized for their bodies in today’s society. However, that can only happen if society stops providing girls with unrealistic expectations for beauty. Girls need to stop receiving the wrong idea about what women should look like. Hopefully, in due time, society can reach its own happily ever after and finally shift its focus toward the importance of being healthy, confident, and natural rather than the size of a girl’s waist.
– Shaneli Mirpuri