Thursday, March 12, 2015

Gone With The Wind But Blowing Back In

Elizabeth I and her trained waist
A tiny waist was once the symbol of feminine beauty. The tiny waist was a fashion trend for a very long time, and women dutifully constricted their mid-sections to achieve the desired figure that was, of course, thoroughly unnatural.

You've come a long way, ladies
From Her Majesty's reign in the Seventeenth Century through the Victorian Era of the late Nineteenth Century, woman have damaged their abdominal muscles and internal organs with constriction devices meant to make their waist look thin. Wasn't Scarlet O'Hara so proud of her tiny waist that she decided not to have another baby because it just ruined her figure?

Women were happy to be rid of the corset when fashion and world politics collided during the First World War. No more was the abnormally small waist the ideal. A girl could breathe again, and do things like walk fast or even, if she dared, run, without fainting due to oxygen deprivation.

You would think with all this modern concern in regard to health and fitness that the last thing anyone would do is to lash themselves into a corset to make their waist look narrower than biology intended, but you would be quite wrong.

The waist-cinching corset is back and the celebrity crowd is crowing about how CUTE they look in their corsets that are now called waist trainers because that recalcitrant body part needs some serious discipline.

Is this where decades of fighting over women's rights have brought you? Have women really reverted to a fashion must that was declared dead decades ago?

Of course, if you write historical fiction you'll want to snap up one of these modern corsets to really get inside a character's head and feel for yourself how restricting that whalebone appliance really was. No need to imagine, writers. You can experience the constriction for yourself and your fiction will be the better for it.

If you don't pass out before getting the words down on paper (or hard-drive).

As for actually buying one, there will be plenty of young ladies who will emulate Kim Kardashian and take to wearing a corset so that they, too, can have that skinny waist that was SO CUTE for so many generations of women who wore the things because society put the pressure on them to conform.

One step forward, ladies. And two steps back.

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