From Frugivore — Remember the famous scene in Gone With the Wind when Hattie McDaniel, who stars as Scarlett’s mammy, ties her corset so tight she can barely breathe or eat? That scene wasn’t much of an exaggeration of the common beauty practice that was popular at the beginning of the 1900s and this trend is starting to make a comeback with women today.

Ethel Granger was the most famous tightlacer of all time, surpassing Scarlett O’Hara’s tiny 17-inch waist by another four inches. As we know, women are much larger today than they were in the beginning of the 20th century, but our obsession with these unrealistic body proportions hasn’t lessened, particularly with the recent attention centered on Ioana Spangenberg. The 84-pound Romanian model boasts a 20-inch waist and that’s precisely the center circumference women are seeking via tightlacing today. If you simply Google “corset training,” you’ll find a ton of videos from women bragging that they’ve been able to shave nearly 5 inches off of their waists by practicing tightlacing, a method of gradually reducing the size of your waist by wearing corsets. The difference between this and wearing Spanx or shapewear for example is that those garments provide a temporary reduction in belly bulges and back fat via smoothing, whereas tightlacing is aimed at reducing the actual size of one’s waist over time, and that’s where health concerns come into play.

Mild, short-term effects such as shortness of breath and chaffed skin often result from wearing corsets but the effects can be far more severe because tightlacing over a long period of time doesn’t just effect your outward appearance, it causes internal organs to become squeezed together. This puts pressure on the lungs because they aren’t able to fully expand; the rib cage becomes smaller  and with less space inside, organs like the heart become compressed and have to work harder to function properly; digestion becomes difficult because of the compression of the abdomen, and all of these side effects can lead to organ failure.

(Read the rest at Frugivore)

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  • HowApropos

    Ah, good ol’ waist-training…

    The first note would be to make sure your abdominal muscles are strong, as corsets can weaken them.

    Secondly, care not to cinch oneself so tight, as it ruins the fabric and your body is not ready for all the constriction. Cinch lightly and ‘break in’ the corset 1-2 hrs. each day.

    And listen to your body…it will eventually get used to less space.

    Thirdly, get an enthusiastic helper. Cinching can be very sexy…

    • SouthernGul

      ^ This…Yes!

  • CurlySue

    Corsets have been used for centuries. It certainly didn’t begin in the early 1900s. Just thought I’d point that out.

  • Brittany

    women have been wearing corsets since around 2,000BC. Female bodies are built to withstand organ movement because the same thing happens during pregnancy. Proper waist training should be done slowly and carefully, loosening up as needed. I would be interested to see medical research regarding corset training and organ failure.

    • ButterflySoulFire

      Great points!