You may or may not have heard that a live-action version of “Cinderella” is in theaters soon. But you’ve almost certainly heard that there’s a controversy surrounding the size of Cinderella’s waist in the promotions — namely that it looks far, far too small to be real. Director Kenneth Branagh has denied the images were digitially altered stated that actress Lily James’ waist looks so much due to a combination of her costume (complete with a corset) and the lighting. BuzzFeed has even altered a still from the film so we can see a side-by-side photo of Cinderella as she appears in the film and Cinderella if she had a natural waistline.
“Downton Abbey” star James and her co-star Richard Madden visited HuffPost Live today, where she once again addressed the rumors. And this time, she sounds annoyed:
“On one hand it’s upsetting, on the other hand it’s just boring. Why do women always get pointed at for their bodies? And why is this whole thing happening and I’m constantly having to justify myself? International Women’s Day has just gone [Sunday, March 8], and it just feels just a bit sad that it’s still happening. You know, I’m very healthy and I always have been.”
James has previously said that she ate a lot of soup while wearing the corset and dress during filming, because it was difficult to get in and out of the costume and go to the bathroom. (Well, she didn’t say that last part, because she is a proper British woman, but that’s what she meant.) She also reinforced how she is a naturally small person with a naturally small waist, which — newsflash — is an actual thing.
It may feel difficulty to have sympathy for someone who is accused of having too much of an hourglass figure, but the fact of the matter is that body scrutiny is body scrutiny. It’s wrong when it’s focused on larger women and it’s wrong when it’s focused on smaller women, too. Besides, even if the movie studio did retouch her body, it’s not the actress’ fault — yet, she’s the public face of the movie so she’s the one asked to answer for it. It’s “sad” indeed that instead of discussing her career or her role models or whether what’s happening next to Bates and Anna on “Downton,” she’s repeatedly answering questions about the size of her waist. It’s not fair and it’s a real shame this is getting the lion’s share of attention.