Our Relationship to Our Bodies, and Corseting

More than one person during my personal and professional love of, commitment to, and relationship with corseting and waist training, has asked if it has to do with some psychological need or lack in my life. Perhaps.

Certainly, I’ve been and am subject as are all women, to lifelong constant social, cultural, overt, covert, impersonal, and personal bombardments regarding my body: what’s right for it’s size, its shape, its too muchs and too littles. For women that also converts into social messages about youth and age, and the latter ain’t pretty!

Such daily messages drill down into one’s consciousness for better or worse. It’s well known that women suffer more body dysmorphia than men, perhaps in all of western culture, but certainly in the United States.

The most recent reminder was occasioned by the death of Hugh Hefner of Playboy infamy, the man who proceeded our so-called president as the classic mysogenist spewing out hateful, wrong-headed messages about the female as victim and her “desireable no. 10” status as object and property of powerful men to do as they wish. (Then of course, some women further victimize ourselves and can inadvertently aid our oppressors first, by not speaking up or out, and second, by voting for an oppressor to sully the highest office of our country or the highest court of our land; a particular Supreme Court Justice and a particular so-called president come to mind).

Many of us women are, indeed, alienated from our bodies. Clearly, it’s not limited to women, but our alienation takes on a unique complexion and adds a special burden to our lives.

The concept of alienation was brought to mind by a small article published in the New York Times Magazine last Sunday, “New Sentences” by Sam Anderson, who said:

        “The little man (in my conscience) is a perfect metaphor for our alienation from our own bodies. We are our bodies, of course, and yet we do not speak the same language. They speak to us in urgent codes: swelling, cramping, twitching. We contain whole ecosystems of resistance to ourselves.”

One of my conclusions about the possible value of wearing corsets and waist training, relates to body alienation and learning how to deal with negative resistance. It was reached many years ago and sparked by reading the seminal work by Professor David Kunzle on corseting–

     — corsets actually put us “in touch” with our bodies and our spirits in a positive way.–

The sweet hug of corset-on-skin, the slightly unbearable pressure in lacing down or staying tightly corseted a half hour longer than pleasant in order to test one’s limits, tends to bring one’s consciousness right back into the present moment with nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. We can no longer ignore our noble or ignoble bodily urges and feelings: we have to pay attention. We have to feel life in the moment.

For me, that is one of the great pleasures I experience in corseting: feeling the moment.

It is a strategy I have adopted since trying on my first corset in 1989, in order to learn to live even more in the moment, to appreciate the fleeting of time, and to put my daily troubles into perspective.

To me, that’s a positive reason to corset, and has nothing to do with body dysmorphia.

Perhaps Mr. Anderson might find comfort in the same strategy one day?

(Copper leather-lace-and-rhinestone corset, and smile!!!– by BR Creations for ROMANTASY)

 

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