When a friend from Sydney brought up waist training to me in the context of “You know, all the girls look the same now with their tiny waist.”
“You know, waist training, like the Kardashians..”
No, I didn’t know. Maybe I’m late to the game, or it’s just cos I don’t give a fuck about what the Kardashians are doing. But then I saw this and it made me so damn mad.
What the hell message is this stupid trend trying send out to girls growing up in a media-engaged world of today? Where likes mean more than smarts and a tiny waist makes you popular?? Certainly not that you should be proud of your god given assets and make the most of them and workout and be fit and healthy and love your lifestyle and eat well. For fuck’s sake, we are not living in the derailed Victorian era when women had to corset themselves up, twisting and turning their insides to achieve what can now only be referred to as celebrity-friendly ‘coke bottle curves’. Is this really a sign of beauty?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a body watcher, I know when I’ve put a few pounds on and I don’t like it. But I’m not going to some weird extreme where I’m possibly fucking up my fertility, not to mention my ability to breath, by wearing some stupid fucking leopard print, organ-manipulating torture corset.
But the real reason this makes me so mad is because for two years as a teenager I wore a fiberglass brace that vacuumed my waist to hourglass proportions. Why? Because I have scoliosis, curvature of the spine, and I had no choice but to wear this thing for 23 hours a day from the age of 14 – 17. It had a flat metal bar leading all the way from my mid-section up to an exposed chin rest, and two metal bars up the back that welded to butterfly clips that screwed together at the nape of my neck. It was torture, I was mortified, I cried every night for the first few months. The purpose was to stop my spine from curving any more and hopefully straighten it up enough as I grew through puberty so I didn’t have to have metal rods inserted into my spine. It worked, but you know what else it did? My left rib cage protrudes so much I can wedge my four fingers under it. I have nerve damage on my lower left back where the muscle retracted against the padding. And as for that tiny waist? It lasted about 6 months from memory. Do I have it now, 20-something years later? Hell, no. In fact I have a waist that curves in more on the right side than the left. Go figure. Pun intended.
Guess what, waist-training girls, you are going to be wearing that stupid apparatus for the rest of your life if you want to keep that impossibly-cinched shape. Sleep well not knowing what damage it’s doing to your organs, to the health of your spine, your digestion (which is everything to your health, everything!) and your self esteem. Where’s your head at? Think about it.