(rewrites of this first draft are welcome)
Corset feminism is when a work of fiction tries to make itself more feminist-friendly by denouncing certain practices and/or beliefs that are commonly known to be anti-feminist. Most writers/studios use this as a cheap/easy way to try and get brownie points for talking about the struggles women faced in society at different times, and many fans/critics will praise the movies for talking about "serious" issues.
The problem is that these ideas are rarely revolutionary/shocking. No one (or at least the majority of a modern audience) is going to argue that foot binding was cruel, that arranged marriages shouldn't happen, or that a woman should be allowed to get an education. So a movie presenting the idea that "Corsets were restrictive and women shouldn't have to wear them" is not feminist in any meaningful way.
Most commonly seen in historical fictions that try to be relevant to the time it's set in while still relating to the modern audience.
To be an example, it should be a modern movie that is meant for an audience where the issue they bring up is nonexistent (ie. corsets for a modern American audience)
See also Of Corset Hurts
, Real Women Don't Wear Dresses
, Straw Feminist
, and Does Not Like Men
- A recurring thing in Pirates Of The Carribean is that wearing a corset is painful and tight for Elizabeth. She even passes out in the beginning from lack of breath.
- In Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland, Alice's big conflict in the beginning is the arranged marriage that she is reluctant to follow through with. In the end, not only doesn't she, she becomes a business-owner.
- Corpse Bride, Victoria's mother is constantly making little quips at Victoria that more or less serve to let the audience know what a controlling bitch she is.
"Get that corset laced properly. I can still hear you speak without gasping."
"Music is improper for a young lady. Too passionate."
"What impropriety is this?! You shouldn't be alone together!"
- In Mulan2 , the title character makes a fuss about the emperor's daughter's going through an arranged marriage and the movie is basically spent trying to get them out. What's most egregious about this is Mulan was perfectly willing to go through with an arranged marriage in the first movie (she just sucked at the preparations, the formalities, and didn't have the skills of a housewife)