By Aisling O’Connor
My mam came home from Dunnes last week in awe that she spotted a corset in the fitness section and couldn’t believe people actually wear them for hours a day to achieve a small waist, but waist training is no new fad. Corsetry has been in Western world for the past 500 years, but in the past year or so waist training has bombarded social media and the fitness world. I’m not buying it.
I understand the appeal. The Kardashian/Jenner sisters Instagram’s are full of selfies in waist trainers and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t envy their figures. I will admit that it can be tempting to jump on the bandwagon when I see perfectly sculpted curves and sigh at fact that my own figure doesn’t resemble an hour glass in the slightest.
My main issue with it is that it’s not healthy, despite often being marketed to be. It’s uncomfortable, makes breathing difficult, puts pressure on organs, and can even fracture ribs. Furthermore, they don’t make you lose weight, it just forces the fat elsewhere and once the trainer is off, your body returns to its natural shape. However, what bothers me the most about it is when people who make a career out of fitness through personal training and diet/exercise programmes endorse them. I’m no doctor, but I don’t believe one should claim to promote health and then promote something that can cause real bodily harm if abused. It just seems hypocritical to me.
I feel like fads like this treat our bodies like articles of clothing that can be changed each time a new trend emerges. Remember the thigh gap obsession? I noticed that every now and then gossip magazines put a picture of Beyoncé on the cover with the caption “Curves are back”, as if we’ll all decide to gain weight to look like that, and that’s not to say Beyoncé isn’t beautiful because let’s face it, she looks like a goddess. Then they immediately go back to providing weight loss tips and suggesting what clothing is slimming. All bodies come in different shapes and sizes, you can’t change it like you can change clothes. What’s going to be next?
If my body simply isn’t a certain shape, why force it to be something it may physically be incapable of being? I may never look like Kylie Jenner and that’s okay. I’ll do my squats and eat my veggies and that’s good enough for me.