I was amused to be scanning my pending “spam” folder inside my WordPress blog, to note two pending comments for my approval and posting. Since I own and operate my corset business by myself, I don’t have a secretary to do this for me, thus I get to it when I get to it. I consider that processing orders for my clients and answering serious corset questions take priority. Today I found a pending comment from a female writer for my approval, and no less that two or three days later, yet another comment from the same person that basically called me a chicken for failing to post her original negative comment against corsetry. She also called me ignorant and uneducated for promoting something so unfeminist and unhealthy.
I found these comments not only amusing but a trifle sad because they reflect a somewhat common superficial, knee-jerk- style response to many aspects of life, or to services and products, certainly a response that doesn’t augur well for our culture or society, much less for corsets or corset businesses.
It’s rather easy for me to understand and respond to hostility to corsets. Nine times out of 10 that attitude grows out of unthinking acceptance of ancient stereotypes about corsetry, from lack of facts about corsets and those who wear them, or even if the writer is educated, from a mind already made up. I rarely take on the challenge to convince those whose minds are closed.
What interested me most was to note the writer’s hostility, certainly beyond what should accompany ordinary discourse on the topic. After all, corseting does not cause wars, famine, repossessions, depressions, recessions, a higher deficit, job termination, break bones, or in fact, cause any damage at all to the body from evidence in the record. I could only conclude that the writer is a person experiencing great stress and unhappiness in her life and this causes her general impatience, curtness, and hostility toward others whom she does not know, or apparently does not care to get to know.
As for alleged damage from corset wearing, the writer cites no facts. I rely on about 8000 clients, consultations with about 10 physicians most of whom personally corset, and interviews with about 400 other folks who waist train and tight-lace. I wonder if my writer can base her conclusion on those facts? My conclusion is and remains that for a generally healthy person, a well-fitting corset (usually custom) worn moderately, seasoned properly, and not overdone, will cause no ill effects whatsoever. Certainly the epidemic of obesity causes far more ill effects than a corset worn in a reasonable way. And most certainly the ‘want your answer now to my comment’ kind of attitude of the writer does not go well with the patience required in learning how to gradually wear and enjoy a form-fitting garment such as a boned corset.
True, there is no modern (this century) academic double-blind authoritative study of corseting and effects on bodies–and the writer cites none in support of her proposition that corsets damage the wearer. One could hardly expect that Harvard or Stanford could come up with a professor or grant to study such an esoteric topic today. Research that doctors have conducted that I’ve read in historical literature from the 1800s, is extremely sparse and not all that critical of corsets. All remaining inveigling against corset wearing from Victorian doctors seems to be condensed into one or two sentence diatribes, and all the doctors happen to be men.
I continue to believe that the heart and soul of feminism is self-determination. So long as I and my clients choose to wear corsets out of personal interest and we are not forced to do so, then I and they can dress the way we wish. So can my writer, but I am sad that she will miss learning about the magic of corsets.
Soon I’m off to answer her specific points, after I attend to my daily orders and client needs.