one of my Instagram scrolling binges the other week, I came across a picture of
a beautiful woman- very well known, very famous, very wealthy- posing in the
mirror wearing a waist training corset. As a celebrity that I have always
looked to as a strong, independent, and smart young woman, I was disappointed.
I was disappointed in her decision to promote a product that is inherently
damaging to the female physique. Amidst my disappointment in her choice to
shape, what I believe to already be a beautifully curvy body, into an even more
dramatic hourglass, I thought: “What’s happening to body image these days?” As
a young 22-year-old woman that has always been aware of the flaws of her own
body, I am always looking toward strong females in today’s society that promote
healthy ideals in young girls.
2015, by now, most of you have heard something, anything, from Lena Dunham. Or
have caught bits and pieces of Emma Watson’s speech for United Nations,
promoting her campaign HeForShe. It’s an inspiring time to be a woman of my
age, it is. Which is why waist-training corsets are not only physically
damaging to women’s bodies but are a cultural backpedal.
training corsets for those who are picturing an 1800’s style silk and ribbon
cut version, are exactly that. They are found everywhere these days. When I
typed it into my search engine, over 500,000 results came up. I had options of
spending anywhere from $20 to $130 on a
structured piece of fabric meant to hold in my stomach fat. No, thank you.
the point you ask? The point is to achieve a full hourglass figure, a small
waist leading to larger hips and a curvaceous butt. Picture Marilyn Monroe, but
go bigger, more dramatic. Here’s where the conversation get’s sticky. Monroe’s
figure during that time was sexy, and beautiful, and I still believe it to be
just that. I am in no way, putting down or shaming curvy bodies. Hell, you’re
looking at a woman that has always been curvier than her friends, taller, and
just generally larger. I have learned to love certain aspects of that. Am I
100% confident and sure of my body? Hell no. We all have struggles, whether we
are thin or curvy. I’m not putting down any body type. I’m simply putting down
the idea of using a corset to alter the body from its natural form.
a corset to curb appetite or shape your waist has side effects that woman need
to be aware of. Consider what is happening on the inside when putting on a
corset. The lungs are being constricted, organs are being pushed and shoved,
and the ribcage is receiving added pressure. According to Health.com, wearing
waist training corsets can actually decrease core strength, which is inherently
the opposite of the flat, tight stomach woman are wishing to achieve by using
these products. Research has also found that cinching the waist tightly won’t
make it permanently smaller. Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., clinical professor of
ob-gyn at Yale School of Medicine says: “Once you take the garment off, your
body will return it its usual shape. It’s also uncomfortable, restricts your movements, and if you wear it really
tight, it can even make it difficult to breathe and theoretically could cause
rib damage” (Women’s Health Magazine).
have busy lives, they are raising children, starting businesses, traveling,
tending to love ones, and kicking ass in general. So it’s natural to resort to
an easy, fast approach to shaping their bodies. Maybe they are self-conscious
of post-baby stomach giggle, or they just really enjoy Reese’s PB cups (raises
hand). Either way, learning to live a healthy and natural life is difficult, but
waist training corsets are not the best approach. Accepting your body for its beautiful flaws, now THAT is fearless.
always hesitate in writing pieces like this and posting them publically. There
will undoubtedly be other opinions, facts that I missed, audiences I didn’t consider
and not to mention, my own bias based on perceptions of my own body. But by not
speaking, by not writing about something I am passionate about, I am disserving
myself from free expression, and potentially losing 1 person (crossing my
fingers it’s more than that) that may read this and learn something and pass it
along to a friend or sister. Even if it is just one person, it’s worth it to
Keep on ladies, keep on.
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