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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Is Disney Sexualizing Cinderella?

A couple of weeks ago, Disney revealed a poster and teaser trailer for their live-action Cinderella movie, coming in 2015.

My wife and I had the same reaction after seeing the trailer.  "When did Cinderella become a stripper?!?"

In fact, if you do a Google image search for "glass stripper shoe", not only will you get the above photo as a result, but you'll get a number of results of real world shoes that look very similar:

Now, if anyone is qualified to identify stripper shoes, it's me.  Before fatherhood, I made a living as a strip club DJ.  I have seen some of the most creative (and tacky) pairs of heels ever made. Oddly enough, I'm not the first to make the comparison.  The blog posts that I've read on the subject either blame Disney, or our society in general, for the gradual sexualization/pornification of everything under the sun.

Disney found themselves in hot water last year, when they released plans for a sexier Merida to be used in print.  After receiving thousands of complaints, they quietly removed the illustration from their sites.  The new and improved Merida had a lower cut dress, exposing her shoulders.  She also had wider hips.  Personally, I found the entire thing ironic, as her character in 'Brave' was one of the only Disney "princesses" that spent her time doing something other than swooning over a boy. In fact, Merida's character was so uninterested in the young men vying for her affection, that it created a massive online discussion over her sexual orientation.

Let's be honest here.  Disney, either intentionally or inadvertently, has been making their teen-aged princesses "sexy" from day one.   If you have any doubts, try watching 'The Little Mermaid' now without feeling uncomfortable. Hell, look at the original Cinderella, which Disney made in 1950. Remember the scene where Cinderella changes?  Was that necessary for the plot?

More importantly, did you notice the feet?  Cinderella and her stepsisters, Drizella and Anastasia, were relatively the same height and build.  But when her stepsisters tried on the glass slipper, you would think that Shaquille O'Neal was sitting there in a dress.

However, when Cinderella went to try on the slipper:

Her feet were drawn unrealistically tiny.  They're so small, in fact, that they can fit into a single hand of the prince's servant.  It's no secret that men find small feet sexually attractive.  Chinese women figured that out in the 10th or 11th century, and spent the next thousand years binding their feet, to make them as small as possible.

Of course, it nearly impossible to point the finger at any one group or any company in particular.  As our society has focused more importance on our physical appearance - it practically determines your worth as a person - has Disney just followed the trend?  Or, are they a willing accomplice in creating such a shallow society?  After all, they have an eighty year history of creating protagonists that you would want to screw, and villains that remind you of your mother-in-law.

I can tell you one thing:  Little girls want to wear what their heroes are wearing.  They don't have the ability to process common sense at their age.  They're not going to look at that Cinderella poster and think, "Those heels look ridiculous.  No wonder she left one behind.  How are you even supposed to dance in those things?".  They're going to see those "slippers" and immediately say, "Daddy, I want high heels". (Which my six-year-old has already done.)

And, I'm not going to do anything that will encourage those thoughts.  Even if it means having my daughter miss out on watching a Cinderella movie.

1 comment:

  1. Word. And I definitely think Disney is, and has been, doing it on purpose. This is why my daughter has never seen any Princess movie except Tangled and the Bayou one. I still object to all kinds of things in those but at least the women are stronger. Note: she hasn't seen Brave or Frozen because she gets freaked out by fighting and once she heard those have fighting, she didn't want to see them, but I would be fine with her seeing them. I have read a couple Princess stories to her, but warned her that I would stop and talk to her about what I find objectionable about each one as we read them (non consensual kissing in Sleeping Beauty is soooooo fucking NOT OKAY!!!). Anyway, point is, my daughter won't be seeing this one either, heh.