The trailer for Beauty and the Beast released a short while back and while we were basking in its magical glory, an important fact about how Emma Watson refused to wear a corset has emerged. Now this may seem irrelevant but it is actually the exact opposite. For decades, actresses in period dramas have had to wear corsets as part of their costume. A corset is a very tight fitting undergarment made from a strong fabric and steel rods which extends from below the breasts to the hips worn to make the woman look more “shapely”.
Most of the women in period dramas have been putting their bodies through the horrible pain of wearing this deathly piece of garment and this is the first time someone has spoken up against it. Wearing a corset gives a woman a first-class subscription to the “hourglass” body, the exact word used by misogynists to fat shame women. Actresses in other Disney movies too have been wearing corsets. For instance, Lily James in Cinderella.
One of the most well-known feminists, Emma Watson refusing to wear a corset is an important step towards combatting the blatant sexism in the movie industry. Costume designer, Jacqueline Durran, said that Watson wanted her character to be able to move about freely. Corsets definitely restrict movement to a great degree. And her decision hasn’t affected the aesthetics of the movie at all! Belle is looking gorgeous as ever.
Emma Watson’s decision is going a long way in breaking stereotypes and promoting a more natural depiction of beauty. It raises the question of why other Disney princesses can’t be shown with their natural figures, without the non-existent waist and accentuated curves. It is quite heartening to see our childhood favourites grow up into worthy role models and we congratulate Watson for continuing her liberating work!