Corinne Weber | Cinderella and Her Corset
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Cinderella and Her Corset

There’s talk about another dress. This time the issue is not the color of the dress; it’s what’s underneath it.

Before the movie even hit the box offices, Lily James found herself having to defend her dress.

The corset does make her waistline look extremely small. And, what strikes me is the actress, who admits to having a small waist, donned a contraption she says constrained her meals to mainly that of a liquid diet while filming (“…I’d have soup.”)

Some will say there is no harm in showing a waistline that small, or in wearing a corset and wanting a slimmer figure. But please understand – girls as young as 5 years old are now being diagnosed with eating disorders. Yes, some girls who see the movie will be unaffected by the imagery. But what about the girls who are affected?

Media will continue to portray beauty in ways that grab our attention as well as our dollars. And as long as we’re buying thin, media will continue to sell it.

So, my message here is for parents. Talk to your kids. Ask them what they think of the movie and of the portrayal of the Cinderella character. If you sense the conversation becoming overly focused on Cinderella’s figure, just be aware and take note. Media influence can be a trigger leading to an eating disorder, but not necessarily a cause for one. Watch for changes in behavioral and eating patterns, and if you feel there is cause for concern, visit the NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association) website. You’ll find loads of helpful information there.

The movie Cinderella has many redeeming qualities: messages of courage, kindness, and forgiveness. Lily James in her role as Cinderella is a powerful portrayal of strength under pressure. The casting, visuals, and direction –all worthy of a trip to the theatre!

But for me, this issue is also a personal one. There is a chapter in my book titled, The Corset. My mom had no idea I had succumbed to an eating disorder until it was too late. I found safety and confidence in my corset. I wore it for a while until my boyfriend found me out when he placed his hand on my back. He asked me to take it off, saying he wanted to feel the real me.

My hope is that we strive for a society that encourages girls, and boys, to grasp their unique individuality that makes each one of us valued for our differences, and that, in itself, is something beautiful to behold.

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