Corset as Sexual, Not Health, Symbol

Recently I’ve corresponded with a potential new corset client, a delightful, curvy lady aged 68 who is pursuing competitive ballroom dancing despite having suffered a ruptured disc some years ago. She loves dancing, and in her costumed photos looks immensely pleased with herself, as well she should. She came to me because one of her instructors suggested she wear a corset, tho she has not explained exactly why to me. I surmise it is partly as figure and back support.

What interests me most about our correspondence, however, is not only the support benefits of the corset for dancers who have experienced prior back injuries, or how she loves the way her first readymade corset trims her waistline. It’s the conflict she feels about that corset and discussing it openly with her instructor or her friends.

Together we mused on that fact. While she owned up to being rather shy, truly there was no need for shyness in asking her instructor a few questions on my behalf that I suggested might be interesting for him to answer regarding the reasons for his recommendation. After all, he had recommended the corset to her.

Obviously there were subsconsious resistances going on. She agreed with me that in part this is because her principal perspective on corsets is that they are private matters of foundation wear. This more traditional viewpoint on corsetry is that a proper lady would not discuss her lingerie in public, thus, she should not discuss her corsets. The health aspect of the corset was of lesser importance to my client, who also told me she would never consider wearing a corset outside her clothing to show off as part of a fashion ensemble.

In reply I forwarded her a photo of one of my dance instructors when I took formal rhumba lessons a year ago, modeling my little black cincher and looking quite saucy. In fact, everyone in my dance class wanted to try it on, since I wore one over a full skirt to every single dance lesson and received many admiring comments.

The truth remains that because the corset, worn as foundation garment, as support garment, as waist training adjunct, or as fashion accessory, sexualizes the body of the wearer and makes her curves visible. if one feels uneasy with sexuality, or even perhaps holds a less-than-positive body image, then to discuss corsetry and waist training openingly may well feel like one is “flaunting” their sexuality. I suspect that is why some of my waist-training students can’t find anyone to be their Waist Training Buddy that I ask them to  designate. The Buddy is a great adjunct and encouragement to effective waist training, but quite often I provide one of my former students to serve in that important role.

I do hope for the day when we can take our subsconscious fears in hand, improve our body image, and step over or around our Puritanical heritage and the Victorian view of corsets solely as foundation wear. That they are–and so much more!

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Corset as Sexual, Not Health, Symbol

  1. Tea

    Waist training buddies? Do you have anyone else in my state doing this? That would be so nice to have a training buddy! I am working up to the full days but haven’t gotten past six hours. (This might be because it’s summer time and I am cold blooded– the warm weather makes it rough on me to do anything!)

    Since corseting I have had to resume stooping instead of bending over to pick things up. After having 9 children, my bladder was having issues and no, I am not embarrassed to say this to the world. Since having to stoop with a corset on, then stooping when not wearing one because I was taught to do this in teen modeling/finishing school and remembering it again, the muscles are going back to their pre baby #3 shape. With seven kids under the age of 12, I have many excuses to stoop and pick things up (and get strict on not needing to in the first place!) You should see if Maya Angelou will let you put her poem, “Still I Rise” at your web site. It’s better than her other, more famous one, but my husband says that since wearing the corset, “I walk like I’ve got oil wells pumping in my living room.” Yeah– the effects are GREAT for me. My husband still worries about the effect on my body, but psychologically he likes it! LOL

    I read an article a few weeks ago that I can’t find now and it suggested that we are obese as a nation because our clothing has gone to exercise wear that has stretch. (The low rise jeans definitely allow the body to expand.)

  2. Nice bog you have here. I pretty much lurk the internet when I’m bored and read all I can about the organic lifestyle, but I really liked you view on things. I’ll bookmark the site and subscribe to the feed!

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