It’s not uncommon to walk into a ladies’ restroom and find more girls gathered around the mirror instead of in the stalls. Whether it’s fixing makeup up or doing hair: there’s always something to fix. Feeding off this mentality, is the growing popularity of corsets.
Corsets have been around for 500 years, molding women’s bodies into whatever shape they desired. It was extremely popular in the 16th century as all aristocratic women strived for the inverted cone torso shape. During the French Revolution, corsets faded out of the spotlight until a couple years later when it once again took control of women’s bodies. Throughout the 1800s the corset became tighter and squeezed the torso all the way from the shoulders to the thighs. At the time, even mothers would use corsets on their young daughters.
Thankfully, the large push for corsets was matched with a large outcry against its physical repercussions. Corsets prevented muscle development and were often so tight that they’d restrict vital organs from shifting and hinder breathing.
Unfortunately, after a long period of being shunned by most women, the corsets are back, but this time they’re under a different name: waist trainers.
Despite the fact waist trainers don’t actually help you lose weight, many people continue to think so. Granted, these corsets do make you more likely to sweat and therefore lose water weight, but the same goal can be achieved with a couple extra layers of clothing.
There are entire companies dedicated to selling these “waist trainers”, some of which cover from the shoulders to below the butt. The theory is that the corset will be laced so tight for so long that your waist will learn to conform to its new hourglass shape. This has severe consequences because wearing corsets for a long period of time can change the position of vital organs and squeeze and alter bone structures like ribs. Many of the waist trainers are “steel boned” meaning there is no “give” to their construction and wearing one can prevent movement almost entirely.
Paying $24.99 for a torture device is NOT worth it.
The sites on which these are sold (ex: BodyCinchers and HourglassAngel) are full of unrealistic depictions of women’s bodies and present unlikely outcomes if the corset is worn. While there will be slight noticeable alterations when the corset is on, or after wearing it for a long period of time, soon enough the body will go back to normal, proving waist training is not a healthy weight loss method.
Instead of filling restrooms with girls helping each other tighten their corsets, we should be talking about body image and using the bathroom only as a bathroom. All women must look out for one another, and that’s not easy to do when we’re too busy competing for who’s skinnier.