I started writing this blog about corsets kind of due to a morbid fascination. I had seen the propaganda from the 19th century that had demonstrated warped rib cages and declared all of the horrible side effects that had come from wearing the corset. I didn’t realize at the time that I was looking at propaganda that wasn’t actually true. The corset did not cause debilitating diseases and women didn’t remove their ribs in the name of fashion. So I needed to do some more research about the corset to get my facts straight.
While I know it is a woman’s prerogative to wear whatever she wants to in the name of fashion, I don’t approve of anything that constrictive. Sure it is the woman’s choice to wear something that is terrible and uncomfortable, but really why does it exist to begin with? If women thought being immobile and stiff was the attractive thing to do, what caused that initially? I have to say that it goes back to sexism. If women had not already been perceived as delicate flowers, there wouldn’t be fashions that were completely ridiculous to wear. I mean who wants to be so tightly bound that she can’t bend over to pick up something she dropped? Who wants to be stuck on a liquid diet because her stomach is so tightly bound that she cannot digest food properly?
I am happy that the corset has met its popular end, but I’m sad to say the sexism in women’s’ wear is still going strongly. Women are constantly pushed a series of mixed messages about what they should be wearing. Girls in schools are banned from wearing clothes that could be considered distracting to their male peers. Women are chastised for breastfeeding in public because breasts are meant to be fondled by men and not to do what they have been biologically constructed for. We seem the nearly naked models in Victoria’s Secret as an example of what we should be wearing but then are chastised for expressing sexuality there is no end to it. The women of the height of the corset were also affected by this terrible double standard. While they wore the corset in an effort to stay at the forefront of fashion, they were being told by some that the corsets were causing “hysteria” and shouldn’t be worn any more. Hysteria, in case you didn’t know, was a made- up woman’s condition caused from being “overly emotional.”
There was no winning with the corset. You wore it and were considered to be delicate and hysterical. You didn’t wear it and you were a “loose woman” of dodgy morals. And then we get to the corsets of today. Woman who would have been considered quite loose in the 19th century are now wearing the corset in the name of having the perfect hourglass figure, despite it being an unnatural shape. The thing I suppose I find the most humorous is that if you make that much effort to attract the opposite sex, the person then attracted to you is just as superficial as you are.
So wear the corset, don’t wear it, whatever. Just don’t try to force it on someone else.
I started writing this blog about corsets kind of due to a morbid fascination. I had seen the propaganda from the 19th century that had demonstrated warped rib cages and declared all of the horrible side effects that had come from wearing the corset. Read More…
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