I’ve been wearing my corset now for 7 days, and within even this short amount of time, I have learned quite a lot about corseting, and also been asking myself some questions (possibly some questions you may be asking too). Before I share my report for Week 1, I want to talk a little bit more about this whole idea and experiment.
Why Am I Doing This?
This is a good place to start. Despite all the positive comments I received on my starting post, there are some people who think this is pretty darn crazy. I too have been asking myself, through the week, what the point of trying this is – I don’t intend to wear a corset for the rest of my life. I don’t intend to try to reduce my waist down past, at most, 24 inches, and will most likely stop at 25 inches. I am not a fetishist, and I don’t wear the corset 24 hours a day.
But the harder question is – is this just so I can look better in costume? I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to look nice in historical costumes, but that is not the sole reason I am doing this. Primarily it is for study – I want to see what the effect is, if any.
|This is the effect wearing a corset from
childhood had on Victorian women. At 29, my ribcage is
already fully formed and I will never put enough
pressure on my lower ribs to deform my bones
What About Health Issues?
Everyone knows corsets are bad for you, right? WRONG. That is such rubbish, and instead of believing everything I’ve heard or read about, I’m going to see for myself.
I’m not disfiguring my body, not compressing my intestines, not pressuring my lower ribs, and not constricting my lungs. I have no pain, can breath just fine, and have had no trouble doing my normal daily things, which included, this week, putting air in my tires, eating a Chipotle burrito, tying my shoes, driving a car, and hiking. I should add here that it is absolutely *vital* that the corset fit correctly, but more on that later.
Of all the bad things I could be doing to my body, where does wearing a corset fit in, exactly? Instead of wearing a corset, I could be… eating large amounts of fast food, taking drugs, smoking, and drinking, taking dieting pills or starving myself, all of which have far worse effects on my inner workings than merely wearing something tight around my waist all day.
Do I Have Body Issues?
For the record, no. I love my body, even when I’m having a “fat day.” My figure is perfect for the 1920s and 1930s, but no matter what time period I’m wearing, I wear the proper undergarments to match, because they not only shape the body to the proper silhouette, but they support the clothing worn over the top as well. This experiment comes from curiosity about the past, not from body issues.
|This is pretty much me – on the left, my normal self, posture and all; on the right, the effect of good underpinnings. This image is from the 1930s.
What is it about corsets that make my experiment with them “silly” or “crazy?” Why is this any different than wearing shapewear, underwear, or even a bra?
|This is NOT my goal
Corsets fall outside what we currently define as “normal,” whereas bras and underwear are within that sphere, and expected by society. Would you go out without wearing knickers and a bra? (granted, some women do, but it’s not the norm). Women in the past wouldn’t go out without wearing their underpinnings either, be those girdles and garters, chest-flattening devices, a corset, or stays.
Society recognizes corsets today as sexual items, and tight-lacing as a fetish. To historical costumers, wearing a corset represents something totally different, but when someone wears a corset outside of a costume event, why does it suddenly return to the sexual fetish, and become “crazy?”
Learning From Doing
I can see already that in addition to all that I have learned about corsets and my own body already, this experiment is most definitely a social one. I am fascinated by how people are reacting, be they for or against wearing a corset every day.
So…what do you think?