While I was researching corsets on the internet, I inevitably came across the practice of tight-lacing, aka corset training, aka waist training. It has occurred to me that tight-lacing could be classified in the same category as anorexia.

There isn’t any problem with using a corset to help give your waist a little bit of definition — that’s along the lines of dieting to shed a few pounds, or wearing makeup, and fits within the range of normal behavior. However, tight-lacers seem to be obsessed with the waist measurement, and forget that their waists are part of a whole. What makes bodies attractive are the hips-waist-bust ratios, and when the waists are proportionately too small, it leaves people feeling rather repulsed as they wonder if they’ve stumbled into a Cirque du Freak show.


There doesn’t seem to be any sort of “Stop” signal in their minds — they keep thinking, “Small is good, so smaller is better,” even after they’ve reached the “Uncanny Valley.” This is similar to anorexics, where most people looking at them think that they are revolting skeletons, but anorexics themselves believe that they are approaching some perfect ideal. Tight-lacers also believe that they are approaching some perfect ideal, but what they do to their bodies is, well, really creepy.



For the sake of this comparison, it doesn’t really matter if there are adverse health effects or not, because the point is that nobody with a normal esthetic finds what they are doing appealing. It’s like, “Woah! I think that some sort of spacial distortion is happening in your midsection, ’cause it looks like your stomach is imploding in on itself.”

The unnaturalness of this body modification is illustrated in the fact that if tight-lacers takes off their corsets for, say, an hour or two, their waists will expand by a matter of inches — which is why tight-lacers wear their corsets 24/7. The corsets must be worn so tightly that they cause a sort of full-body callous from the continual pressure of the corset, combined with sweat and friction.

If you’re contorting your body into so grotesque a form that you can’t even take off your ‘support garment’ to sleep at night, there’s something wrong with what you’re doing. It’s not even like other people are falling down in awe of your perfect beauty; they think it’s gross. Social approval isn’t everything, but when people think what you’re doing is ugly and weird, and it’s unhealthy (Remember that thing called “physical exercise”? Try running a mile with a 18″ waist.), then that should be a sign to anyone that you’re doing something you really shouldn’t be doing. Key word: “should.”


2 thoughts on “Tight-lacing

  1. I read in a magazine about a lady who had a 15 inch waist due to wearing corsets since she was young. (I think it might be the lady in your top photo?) Anyway she hardly ever took her corset off and even had a swimming costume with a corset built in! She was happy and said she got mostly positive comments, but it just makes me feel a bit creepy when I see how people can modify their bodies to such extremes.

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