Reason #1,001 to skip Disney’s new (ha!) “Cinderella”

I’ve seen so many movies for you guys and for this blog. I’ve sat through “Spongebob” and “Planes” and “Tintin.” I’m so sorry, but I don’t think I can do another fucking “Cinderella.” “Ever After” is great. If your kids want to see a Cinderella movie, please show them Drew Barrymore’s fantastic feminist version of this fairytale. If you’re somehow mystified as to why “Cinderella” should be skipped, please read the About section of my blog. In fact, read any post on my blog, or better yet, get off the internet and read Peggy Orenstein’s fabulous book Cinderella Ate My Daughter. But here’s a bonus, reason 1,001 to skip Disney’s latest money grab. (Yes, that number is random, only not far larger because I didn’t want to use up characters in my blog title with infinite zeros.)  Today, I read on Jezebel:

Lily James went on a partial liquid diet to accommodate that stupid corset. In a recent interview with E!, James explained how she made it work on set by foregoing solid food.


No solid food. That’s right children, our female protagonist did not transform into her best, most beautiful, desired self through her Fairy Godmother’s magic but by not eating. Yes, little girls, you too can starve and make all of your dreams come true!

Reel Girl rates “Cinderella” without even seeing the movie ***SSS***


67 thoughts on “Reason #1,001 to skip Disney’s new (ha!) “Cinderella”

  1. I couldn’t be more feminist (really, I’ve tried and nope, am 100% feminist already, no room for any more feminism in there) and I read the Lily James quotes carefully and sorry, you’re wrong about the soup. It really was just while in costume, which was only a few days. Actors have to wear make-up which necessitates eating through a straw. They wear costumes they cannot sit down in. They have to radically alter their bodies for roles. That’s show business.

    I loathe the Cinderella story for many reasons, and won’t be taking my daughter to see it, but the corset really isn’t a thing. I’ve worn them, they are a weird blend of comfortable (supportive!) an un (constrictive!). I can only eat a small meal while wearing one. I still choose to sometimes, and I’m still, as noted, 100% nonstop mouthy feminist.

    And please don’t yell “soup!” at me. I get it about the soup. It was lunch. At work. We’ve all had to settle for a not-our-first-choice lunch while at work sometimes, without it being a symbol of oppression. There is plenty of oppression out there already without having to go look for extra.

    • There’s a difference between eating through a straw because you are playing an orc, and eating no solid food because you play a human woman. Because, you know, the actress actually IS a human woman, and should need no costume that is uncomfortable to wear to show that she is a human woman. That’s madness.

  2. I think it would be wonderful if you would reevaluate this movie now that it’s actually out in theaters, rather than simply judging it by the marketing items you’ve seen from it. The film is actually shockingly well-made and I personally think that where the original story teaches young women an awful lesson, this does some magnificent course correction. The main character is strong, kind and willful, and the movie as a whole is less image-centered than any film starring a woman I’ve seen in quite a while.
    It’s also better than Frozen. Just saying.

  3. Avid reader. rare commenter – I agree with you MM. My kids don’t like princesses because they are ‘boring/ and don’t ‘do anything’. We will look at the posers or this movie and talk about the unrealistic proportions, but that will be it. Keep up he good fight!

  4. To be honest, the reason I don’t want to see Cinderella is because the trailers make it looks so saccharine and sickly sweet (not to be confused with ‘feminine’). I’m not even sure how much faith Disney has in it seeing how they’re really advertising the Frozen Fever short that shows before it.

  5. Paul, yes the Rodgers and Hamnerstein Cinderellaa have been diverse for years: there have been terrific Latina, Asian and African Cinderellas in that very successful franchise. Which is why I find it mind boggling that Disney apparently only considered blondes for the role.

  6. I laughed so hard reading this. Mostly because the person who wrote this hasn’t seen the film.

    Do your research before you write articles like this.

  7. I guess it’s just me to say feminism is doing anything you want as a woman. It is her body, she chose the liquid diet. This is disney… the cartoon looks just like her I believe that was the point. Don’t like it? Son’t watch it. There are a lot more important things to complain about, like women not getting equal pay etc. Leave this poor actor and her body alone.

  8. I guess you shouldn’t let your kids watch a lot of movies then because 90% of actresses AND ACTORS do crazy diets and crazy exercising to fit into their parts. It’s just part of the career of acting. You can’t be yourself In a movie because you’re not yourself. Both men and women in that business do crazy things to become the part that they are playing and they make billions of dollars for it, that’s how it’s always been and that’s Hollywood. As a celebrity, you are under serious scrutiny whether you are a man or woman, and I’m not disagreeing that going on a liquid diet and wearing a corset isn’t healthy and a bad example but that’s Hollywood. The kids don’t even realize that she did that, don’t tell them and they won’t get crazy ideas. This movie is based off of a cartoon that disney made a while back and Cinderella is skinny in the original movie too, but nobody is walking around saying that she shouldn’t wear a corset because it’s obvious that she was wearing one at the ball. Corsets were a part of that time period That this movie is based out of, and disney has always been about making things seem real yet magical. I think this argument is just a pointless one. I am a girl and I believe that instead of freaking out about how other women look or what they do to look that way, we should teach self love and acceptance and if Cinderella believes wearing a corset is a part of her self love then ok. Condemning women for what they want to wear or what they want to do is all apart of realizing that making people feel bad about themselves is just bad and we should mind our own business unless we are seriously concerned. I think disney is trying to make this movie close to the original and people would complain if she didn’t look up to Cinderella standards. It’s a movie and it’s Hollywood. That’s the world of the acting career. If you don’t like it then don’t become an actress.

  9. Just for the record, Ever After is not “feminist,” it just depicts a girl that a prince, who is surrounded by beautiful, well-dressed, simpering courtiers, could actually fall in love with. She challenges him mentally, is strong and interesting and adventurous. No corset, no shoe size mentioned, and by the way, she is brunette. She is not going through life hoping for a prince to sweep her away, nor does she dream of going to the ball for a night’s diversion. She is just trying to live a decent life. They fall in love after spending time together and getting to know one-another. I also love that one of the “ugly” stepsisters is absolutely beautiful, and the other is pretty and totally sweet. The lesson? Character counts.

      • I suspect Skittles just doesn’t like the word “feminist”. Or doesn’t know what it means. There’s a whiff of anti-feminism hostility in their comment.

        • Or they think that not everything that is not outright hostile to women is automatically feminist.
          Just because a drink isn’t poisoned doesn’t make it an antidote.

  10. Margot,

    After reading your writing and all your responses to comments, I realize that I love you.

    These people insist she wasn’t on a liquid diet because she had soup. What? Liquid soup you mean?

    It wasn’t to get her dress on, it was tp wear her dress. What?

    I don’t know, maybe I’m encouraged by the fact that the people who are not bothered by misogyny seem unable to comprehend information. I’ve always wondered how people weren’t more upset with patriarchy. An inability to understand makes the most sense of any reason I’ve come across so far.

    Thanks for writing. And for responding rationally to critics.


  11. It is purportedly a period film set in the 19th century, so it is at least possible the trauma of the corset figures into the plot. And Brannagh, the director, is on record saying they have made her a legitimate heroine whose fate of character in no way depend on the appearance of a man. I don’t know how successful it is, but it seems too early to make a judgment.

    • Hi Jason,

      I just wrote this on my Facebook page i.e. the corset is ‘realistic’– this is a story that features a pumpkin that turns into a coach, a fairy godmother and all of a sudden we become sticklers for ‘reality’ with the tiny corset? The corset was also used by Pixar/ Disney for Merida who would NOT have worn a corset at that time. I’ve noticed with animated movies when it comes to sexism, whether it’s the existence of girl pirates in s cartoon or a female talking plane winning a race, people say, “that’s just how it is in the real world.’ The first time I realized how sexist this is happened when I watched ‘Ratatouille’ there were no female rats and once one female chef, Colette, who gives a speech about feminism. Did I need my 4 yr old daughter to see that? I’d much rather her witness a bunch of female chefs, the protagonist a female buff if a female rat. We can stretch our imaginations to believe a talking rat can cook, but a female? No way! The point being, I find a pattern in children’s media where again and again sexism is justified because ‘thats just how it is’ pretty ridiculous in a fantasy world. It’s why I created my tag line ‘imagining gender equality in the fantasy world’ If we can’t imagine equality, we can’t creat it. By sideling and sexualixing female characters repeatedly, Hollywood is training a new generation of children to accept and expect a world whee it’s perfectly normal for girls to go missing and when they exist, to be valued mainly for their appearance.

      As far as Branagh, when I read his comment– that he’s trying to be less sexist, I laughed. That’s a pretty low standard, don’t you think? Perfect for a Disney ‘remake’ of Cinderella though


      • I certainly did not mean that the corset should be dismissed in the name of realism. My comment was a bit more thoughtful than that. And as for Brannagh, he specifically said he wanted her to be a legitimate heroine, and that her life was not to be defined or determined by a man. That does not seem to be setting the bar too low. There might be something to appreciate in the story. I’m trying to remain optimistic.

      • Not to mention that corsets during this time period did not put a large emphasis on a tiny waist, but on emphasizing the cleavage in contrast to the stiff busk (whalebone front piece of the corset). The waist tightening was primarily a factor during the victorian era. Cinderella is set in the 1690’s.

  12. I’m not a mom and I’m totally with you. While I’m not sure avoiding these movies altogether is…well, even possible, I’m all for getting angry about them.

    Anger fuels our desire for change. People in power CAN hear our rage and frustration about their purposeful acts of mysogeny. And it can work.

    I shouldn’t have read the comments. I’m disappointed that people don’t agree with you.

    To the people who say “that’s just the way it is,” you need to know that people are MAKING it this way. We don’t have to settle for it.

    And I’m not going to.

  13. What in holy hell is wrong with people! You’re defending misogyny in plain sight! Wake the fuck up, my god we are all going to implode from the idiocy that plagues this culture!

  14. I’m with you Margot.
    Why do we think this is acceptable.
    Stay at home, play with ‘iamelemental’ figures and feel a sense of moving in the right direction

  15. And it’s not even moms it’s also crazy feminists like can you please get over it PLEASE just stop the kids are going to probably like it and your judgmental ass hasn’t even seen it so how about you take the stick that’s shoved up your ass and sop criticizing children’s movies because an actress looked skinny btw kids don’t care enough with let’s show them the Drew Barrymore feminist version!!! LMAO no

    • Hi Alex,

      In my experience, kids love Ever After.

      I have 3 kids, I watch children’s media all the time, it’s why I started this blog, because in most media made for children, girls are valued for how they look while boys are valued for what they do. My criticism isn’t one movie but a pattern, and yes, it affects kids in everything from their imaginative play to what they aspire to be when they grow up to what they become. Check the Geena Davis Institute for facts and stats, an consider that you might be the one with the stick up your ass.


      • It’s a movie there’s nothing you can do sorry… But that’s just the way the world works and new movies come out all the time that moms may have an a opinion on but sucks kids love it it’s the new thing get with it there’s nothing you can do she’s gorgeous

        • Don’t get me wrong ever after is cool but you can’t just go around thinking that every kid will be self conscious I’m just so so so sick of all the crazy opinionated mom shit everywhere like damn

          • Then don’t read it. Maybe spend that time boning up on grammar and punctuation? You certainly need to. Your comments are almost unreadable.

        • “That’s the way the world works” and “there’s nothing you can do about it”? Wow, guess then women will never have the right to vote, or own property, or go to college. If everyone had your defeatist attitude then yeah, nothing in the world would ever change, but that is not the case. I grew up with Disney movies and cartoons and I am a huge fan, but as much as I love them to death I am also extremely critical of them. It may be a new concept to you, but you can criticize and find flaws in something and still love it. Disney can do SO much better in terms of gender, racial, and body type diversity.

  16. How about all the psycho moms criticizing this movie SHUT UP its a movie I’m pretty sure you’re children won’t be traumatized because Cinderella is skinny yeah to fit in a corset she had to eat soup like cool get over it I’m pretty sure YOU are over analyzing it more than the kids are I seriously hate people like this… Like okay people let’s say Cinderella was 200 pounds…Then you would probably be like oh that’s awesome go curvy women!! Yeah well the whole corset thing was the time period so GET OVER IT SOCCER MOMS you’re embarrassing yourselves go fight for women’s rights or some bullshit do whatever but really starting a post about an actresses corset for Cinderella c’mon now… Regardless of what you say kids will LOVE it and I am definitely seeing it looks awesome.

  17. Who cares. It is her choice. If she had a problem with it then she wouldn’t have done it. I very much agree with Dani. She is an actress. Actors and actresses do crazy things all the time.

    • Hi RMD2015,

      Her choice shows that how women get rewards, acclaim, money in our culture is through– literally– fitting into a mold. The issue goes beyond “her choice” just like Hanna pulling off her bikini bottoms on an SI cover my kids see at Safeway is beyond the model’s choice. Kids– girls and boys– are shown, repeatedly, through images and narratives that females are valued primarily for how they look.


  18. Did you even listen to the interview?! Obviously not, because she did not starve herself to fit into the dress! She ate soup while filming on set because when she ate more solid food it made the corset uncomfortable! I’m all for good role models for little girls but get your facts right before you go on a tangent!

    • Hi Lindsay,

      Oh you’re right, so sorry, she didn’t “starve herself” she just couldn’t eat any solid food!


    • That doesn’t make it any better! It’s true that being on a solids-less diet was her choice, but she probably has support from a nutritionist, dietician, or personal trainer so that she would get enought nutrients. But young girls listening to the interview? They may think it’s okay for them to do the same and starve themselves to achieve that thin look.

      Also, at what point is it ok to design a costume for which you have to stop eating solid food? How can that be acceptable? I hardly think they would ever design such a costume for a man.

  19. Part of equality is letting people do what they want. No one would freak out if a guy starved himself.. like Christian Bale did for The Machinist. ALL actors go through extremes to fit into the roles for their films.

    • The difference is he did that because it was necessary for the character to appear emaciated – they could easily have just made her dress a little larger. Cinderella doesn’t need to be inhumanely narrow waisted to get the story across.

    • Hi camille,

      Christian Bale’s character was psycho. Cinderella’s character is our heroine, shown this way as the epitome of beauty and desirability.


      • So then why must the epitome of beauty and desirability be so fucking thin she can’t eat solid food? Why is that good? Why is that a great ideal to hold up before our female children, giving the tacit message ‘you should look like this because this is what beautiful looks like’?

        • Oh, fooey. I apologize! I am extraordinarily tired and wholly misread your comment, margotmagowan, somehow thinking you were contradicting Sheila and saying the precise opposite of what you were actually saying. That is my bad.

  20. While I don’t encourage a partial liquid diet, if you actually read the article, it makes sense. The time it would take to get in and out of costume required her to remain in costume throughout the entire day. She said that if she ate solids while filming, she was gassy and the food didn’t digest easily. She didn’t starve herself to fit into the outfit…just to be able to wear it during the day while on set. Costuming could have altered her costume but there are other factors for that.

    • Hi Kay Ru,

      Once again, what???

      “She didn’t starve herself to fit into the outfit…just to be able to wear it during the day while on set.”

      So, you’re saying she just couldn’t eat solid foods during the day in order to fit into the dress, so no big deal?


      • Exactly. I admit, I own some jeans that get uncomfortably tight when I eat too much while wearing them … but that’s because I bought them ten years ago and am too lazy to go shopping again.
        That dress was, if I am not much mistaken, tailored for her. It is not as if they had only that dress and someone had to fit into it.

  21. You completely misconstrued her words. She did not go on a liquid diet to fit in to the corset, she said she stuck to soup while eating in the corset because other food is uncomfortable to eat! Ask any girl who has ever worked at a Renaissance faire and she will tell you the same thing. Unfortunately, that was the norm of the time period. But she did not diet to fit into the costume. There are plenty of films where actresses have been told to diet, but this is not one of them.
    I recently watched a preview of the movie and now I personally believe this is going to be an excellent example for kids. The lesson is that kindness is important, even in the face of those who are unkind to you. I think the world could use a little kindness. (Thankfully we’ve started being kinder to our bodies by not wearing corsets!)

    • Hi Kryssy,

      Third time, what???

      “She did not go on a liquid diet to fit in to the corset, she said she stuck to soup while eating in the corset because other food is uncomfortable to eat!”

      And as far as kindness, girls are told to be kind and self-sacrificing all the time, I’d rather see complex, real depictions of heroes or a boy being celebrated for being kind. I choose Katniss over Cinderella any day.


    • Yes, what?? I am a ren faire girl. I eat turkey legs when I’m there, and I still fix in my XXL corset. Look at the image, does that look normal to you? If your answer was yes, then you must think Barbie is proportially accurate. Holy Jesus balls people.

  22. This could be a learning lesson. Teach your girls that you don’t need to go to extremes to be beautiful. It’s not an actor/actress’s job to reach your children. That’s why you are their parent. And then you’re just teaching girls to hate each other because one’s smaller than the other or one’s diet works better than another’s. You’re doing no better than she supposedly is.

    • Hi Dani,

      I’m kind of sick of these “teachable moments” when the whole culture is saying “but this is great!” I don’t blame the actress, the problem is the culture that values a woman for her tiny waist. I don’t even understand your last 2 sentences.


      • But you’re completely okay with bashing her and creating more drama and false images because you personally don’t like the way she looks. They are being historically accurate (people in those days wore corsets) and have you ever tried to eat solid food in a corset? It’s fuckin difficult! And uncomfortable! My sentences are pretty clear. You want to promote body acceptance but this blog is nothing expect body bashing! I have a naturally small waist, a big ass and tits. Doors that mean that other girls should bash my body because I work hard to maintain my shape?

        • At what point did the author body bash her? She only mentions the fact that she was “starving herself” which both obese and skinny people can do and neither is healthy.
          The Cinderella story has been told for thousands of years, and even if you take the European versions by Charles Perrault (1600’s) and the Brothers Grim (very early 1800’s), the usage of corsets is NOT historically accurate.

    • Hi Lesley,

      When I read this comment, I thought what about anof color cast of Cinderella, like the Wiz for the Wizard of Oz. And then I thought no, no, no, unless it was totally feminist like Ever After it would be depressing to see that ideal. A fat Cinderella? A Cinderella with big feet? But the narrative sucks, it really does. Still as far as her being depicted as blonde in a blue dress, I get bored just looking at that image AGAIN. I could never sit through this movie.


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