This Is What Waist-Training Is Really Saying About Women's Bodies
Much in the same way I think the male species of footballers and wrestlers are total masochists, I am starting to believe that really vain women are just as nuts.
Case in point: the newly trendy waist-training corset, which is exactly what it sounds like.
Popularized by Kim Kardashian’s now-famous gym selfie, the waist-training corset is essentially a BDSM-looking contraption that is supposed to shape a woman’s midsection to make an impossibly small hourglass figure.
Is a fresh pair of sausage-stuffing Spanx no longer enough?
The idea isn’t entirely new, however, as we’ve seen enough Keira Knightley period dramas to recognize the flattened torsos of 16th-century corsets.
Later in the 1800s, industrial strength (yes, actual steel was used) training corsets were highly effective in drastically reducing the waist's circumference and damaging internal organs. That kind of killed the look, so to speak.
Two Kardashians and Dita Von Teese’s 16-and-a-half-inch waist later, tightlacing is now the latest “lazy girl’s diet fashion trend" -- like compression leggings or Shape-ups footwear. Some suggest it's even beneficial for reclaiming your post-pregnancy body.
While achieving the extreme hourglass is still wildly dangerous (we’re talking about displaced organs here!), we can’t help but ponder this question: Is the shapely form our way of inching closer to preferring filled-out bodies, or is it just another way that we’re restricting women’s frames?
On the one hand, this dramatic S-figure can’t be attained naturally (for everyone, at least). On the other, women of all sizes can purchase a corset and train their waists at least briefly to appear slimmer.
There’s no binging or purging or extreme dieting to reach an unhealthy ideal. Is there such a difference between this and other weight-loss contraptions?
But it’s because this alteration of the body is marketed exclusively towards women that we feel a little bit defensive.
We must then turn to the actual shape we are trying to achieve: a buxom, burlesque body with an ample chest, teeny waist and thick, seductive hips. It’s this highly sexualized, men-come-feast-your-eyes silhouette that we have a problem with.
Jessica Rabbit was sultry and sexy, yes, but it was exclusively for the delight of men. In that corseted position, our body movements and breathing are severely compromised -- we need our men to “rescue us.”
So what shall we call the corsets? Hot BDSM bondage wear? Haute couture’s latest accessory? Diet-chic? The next athleisure wear? A crime against females? Lethal weapons of lung destruction?
We'll take all of the above.
Top Photo Courtesy: Instagram