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De-Sensationalizing the Corset

Last updated on April 3rd, 2021 at 12:01 am

I received a very refreshing and pleasant message from a subscriber the other day, which included this passage (published with permission):

I just wanted to tell you how much I really love your channel, and how pleasing it is to see someone who makes corsetting something that’s empowering, fun and sort of a hobby. I found that before you, there seemed to be two camps of social stigma: Sexy Corseting for the bedroom and nights out, or Grandma Corseting that’s seen as uncomfortable, demeaning and anti-feminist (not to mention a bit utilitarian and unflattering!). What I mean to say here is, thanks for giving it the air of girls chatting together, rather than guys saying “They’re only doing that to look thinner/sexier!”. I think corsets are fun and beautiful, and so do you!

The part of her letter which made me smile the most was what she said about my channel giving the air of girls chatting together. I had never really thought about it that manner, but in a way that’s exactly the kind of thing I was hoping for – educational and demystifying, but also colloquial and relaxed, instead of the focus being on strictly the fetish community or strictly historical re-enactors/ Grandma’s attic. But let’s expand on this topic a bit…

Why I started making Youtube videos:

Anyone who follows me on Youtube knows that I try to keep my channel as non-vulgar and inoffensive as possible, but many uneducated people still see corsetry as strictly for boudoir purposes, or as part of a group of common fetishes, or as something to be left in the past. I think it’s incredibly ignorant that people jump to conclusions and associate corsets with “sexy” things, “scary” things or “obsolete” things, when none of these are  entirely true (if it weren’t for corsets, we wouldn’t have bras as we know them today – and bras are certainly not considered obsolete).

This is not to say that I have issues with actual re-enactors, history buffs or fetishists – they are all welcome to read this blog or watch my videos – I believe that there is no “better” or “worse”, only different. But quite frankly, I’m none of these things, and when the media jumps to conclusions and presumes that everyone and anyone who takes an interest in corsets must be under one of these categories, or when other buffs try to discuss these things with me and presume that I’m “just like them”, I become extremely uncomfortable. History was one of my least favorite subjects in school, and I’ve been quite transparent about my abstinence/ vanilla nature. At one point, before I started corseting, I had been exorbitantly ashamed of even having researched corsets because of its negative or extreme connotations, but there were two people in particular that gradually helped me out of my shell (and into a corset, ha!) :

Proprietess of Romantasy, Ann Grogan. Corset: Sheri Jurnika. Mascot: Miss Tata
  • Phoenix and her “Corset Talks” (unfortunately her videos are no longer available) – sure, she also did pole dancing but beyond that, she was the first person I had seen who was willing to speak openly and casually about her corsetted lifestyle. She had no reservations in showing that there was a face and a voice on that corsetted body, and had no shame in saying that she enjoys wearing a corset and she that she does it for herself and no one else.
  • Ann Grogan and the Romantasy team – Ann’s experience with corsets over the last quarter century, in combination with the research and contribution of the affiliated doctors, have proven invaluable to me in showing that corsets can help more than harm (if one goes about it the right way).

But both of these remarkable people, despite having come from entirely different backgrounds, helped me wrap my head around the idea that a corset can be less of a sensationalistic prop and more of an everyday garment. When I started making Youtube videos, I made it a goal to always show corsets in a “PG” setting and to prove that a glorified belt can be made mainstream.

My philosophy on corsets – quit making a big deal out of it

I’ve explained in many different videos the reasons that I like to collect and wear corsets. I’d be lying if I said that corsets didn’t interest me – I love looking at beautiful pieces of wearable art; I think it’s fun that I can change my whole image in a matter of minutes; I believe that corsets can be quite beneficial to the wearer in several aspects; and I’m constantly doing more research on the subject in order to kill the ever-persisting idiotic myths. This is why I continue to make videos, create and sell corsets, and educate people about corseting responsibly.

Nevertheless, one could say that I now take a blasé attitude toward the act of corseting. As a garment, it’s become a part of my lifestyle that I don’t even really think about. The attitude I have about putting on a corset is the same attitude I have about putting on socks, brushing my hair, or applying lip gloss. It’s not a process that I dread, and it’s not OMG titillating either. It’s a staple part of my dressing routine; my ensemble feels more complete with it, but then I go about my day not really thinking about it. (There’s a big difference between being “aware” of the corset and being “obsessed” with the corset. I’m also “aware” of my lip gloss.)

This is what makes it difficult to answer anyone who asks me how many hours a day/ week I wear my corset, because it changes from day to day, week to week, month to month. I put on a corset when I feel like it. I take it off when I feel like it. There are days that I’m in a corset almost 24 hours. There are “lounging” days where I don’t wear a corset at all. “Discipline” means different things to different people.

But wait, how can you be “not interested” in corseting, yet still training down?

Adopting this “meh” sort of attitude has been imperative to my own success in training and “living with a corset”. Think of it this way – you hear about a new diet craze. You think “this is the one!” and you buy the books, the proper groceries, the exercise equipment. You’re fantastic on the diet for two weeks, then you crash and burn: you don’t see the scale moving or the inches coming off, so you become discouraged and binge. Let’s face it – a diet is a short-term move, with little success as an actual lifestyle-change.

A lot of people have the same attitude about corsets – they’re super-excited about changing their figure, so they buy their corset, wear it for a few weeks or months, then they hit their first waist-reduction plateau – and gradually they lose interest in the corset and wear it less and less often, until they stop wearing it completely. If you think of corseting as a diet, you’ll be disappointed in corseting just like you have been with diets. I’ve found that by spending less time focusing on my numbers in the corset, and instead focus on simply being content with wearing the corset at all (or better yet, focusing on something else while corsetted, like work or other hobbies), I’m a much happier person overall, and my waist still reduces (albeit slowly) with relatively little effort.

But the trick to this is to push the idea/ act of training into the “no big deal” part of your brain. Wearing a corset shouldn’t really “take up time” in your life. You don’t measure your day in “time wearing a t-shirt” vs “time wearing a sweater”, do you? You’re probably pretty equally productive when wearing either one. Teach your body to go about your day and continue being productive while wearing a corset. It will take some getting used to, but babies don’t learn to walk in a day.

Quit blathering and get to the summary

The truth of the matter is that most people today still view corsets as sitting in one or several of the aforementioned categories. In actuality, the corset is essentially a garment – a glorified belt, if you will – and one with lots of potential, but just a piece of clothing nonetheless. But until corsets can be shown in a totally respectful and non-sensationalistic light in the media, unfortunately we have to fight these kinds of prejudices. So for all corset enthusiasts, I still encourage you to love your corset if you love it – and love how it gives you confidence to be whatever you want to be, and do whatever you want to do, if that’s how it makes you feel. But also make it “no big deal.”

Lucy’s Little Life Lesson: Little and often make much. This is true for both waist training and for perpetuation of myths, unfortunately.

I will likely revisit this topic in the future, but in the meantime, do you have anything to add about “de-sensationalizing” the idea of corsets in your daily life or in the media? Leave a comment below!

11 thoughts on “De-Sensationalizing the Corset

  1. I was dismayed, once again at the attitudes that perpetuate the old stigmas you mention above, when I read this article of 2/21/2018 criticizing formal wear on the red carpet:
    Titled “Can you wear a corset AND be a feminist? One woman says it’s the strongest symbol of male oppression…” The article has such judgmental opinions as …”to choose such a restrictive garment when dressing in support of the Me Too and Time’s Up movements against sexual harassment seemed particularly ironic.” –Yes, a modern woman says that a clothing garment has ties to encouraging sexual harrassment. >Cringe.<
    As a corset shop owner who tries to accentuate the same points you make, Lucy, I look for articles to support the idea that corsets are not a steel-jawed trap, are not a sexual innuendo enticement, nor are they antiquated statements of patriarchal control over women. The stigma is so misunderstood, it is a hindrance for all women's self esteem, it seems. I always appreciate your words that assist me in fitting corsets to a person's wardrobe and life. De-sensationalizing The Corset is a terrific article.

    1. Thank you, Susan!

  2. Hi everyone ! I would like to add that the comment about “thanks for giving it the air of girls chatting together, ” doesn’t just apply to girls, but also to guys. There are quite a lot of guys who love corsets too and find your discussions, videos and information very useful. you are most definitely doing everyone a service whether it be for girls chatting about corsets or guys, and I am sure all the guys out there are thankful. This is a fabulous website, and by making corsetting into a daily life activity/hobby the way some of us collect clothes, shoes, watches, belts, etc etc…………some have a hobby of corsetting and collecting corsets………it does remove that stigma. A big thank you to you :)

  3. For me a corset is everyday wear. I love the verity of corsets that I have collected the patterns, colors and shapes in both under bust and over bust. I have to say here that I also love fashion styles of the 30’s to the early 50’s and the early 1980’s (Yes I was a New Wave Girl) Though I am not a historian re-enactor I do love to have some fun with styles of years gone by, but I digress. Corsets for me are not fetish I love them for their style and what they do for my figure and I do wear them almost every day. I love the work that Lucy dose and find her reviews, tips and care for corsets so informative and in the warm way she presents it all.

    1. I wore a mesh underbust with a high neck ruffly halter and jeans to a state faire. This top helped cover and tone down my breast size since I’m a DDD and it looks enormous with an undebust, lol and that’s not the look I’m going for…I had a Military vehicle presentor asked me if I ‘lost a bet’ motioning to my top…my husband and nephew thought I looked hot, but my 16 year old thinks I was over dressed as she’s a very casual person. So I was a little hurt but I’m doing this for me. My husband doesn’t understand all of it, but says his opinion doesn’t matter and if it makes me happy keep doing it XD. As far as my kiddo goes, eh I’ll get over it, hehe.

  4. I agree totally with how the corset really needs to be de-sensationalised. I wear corsets because I love the look of them and the feel of them and how they make me feel emotionally. I adore history and do have some kinks and fetishes but corsets have never fitted in to that. In the same way that I have nearly 200 pairs of knickers and yet wearing them is not a fetish. I just collect pretty things… ha ha. I’d love some historically inspired corsets, but I’m not one of those people who would demand perfect historical accuracy. Its far too time consuming for me and I’m enough of a perfectionist as it is without making everything harder for myself.
    Corsets are a bit of an obsession for me, which I think is a good thing considering that I want to get into selling them. But I don’t wear them every day. I’m very relaxed regarding when and how long I wear them for. I’d love to wear them more often though when I’ve got myself able to keep up a routine of “normal” day to day things. When I can do that, my treat is to make my corset wearing a bit more routine too. Or at least more regular. :)

  5. Reblogged this on Miss Zina and commented:
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  6. I agree with everyone here on it all, wearing a corset doesn’t mean you are into weird thing’s and it’s no different then anything else, tat’s,ear’s for of earrings or wearing the new trend of clothes.

    I’m new to everything corset but I have loved them for forever, always wanted one cause of the beauty and art that they give to what you wear. I made my first under bust corset for a Halloween costume that I was making and it turned out beautiful even thou I’m not that great of a sewer yet but I have no thought of what other people think of me when I wear it, it’s part of what I love.

  7. I do understand the position. I fall in and out of regularly wearing a corset. Part of what drives my corset wearing is that I am sway back due to an injury I had when I was 12 and I find that when I am disciplined enough to wear a corset every day for at least 4 hours, my back straightens out when take the corset off and it stays straight for a long time. I look like I have lost five pounds even though it is just a change in my posture. My work is very physical at times so it is hard to wear every day. My husband gets a little weird at the idea of me sleeping in one because he worries it is unhealthy. Chiropractors have all told me my condition (spondylolisthesis) is helped but not reversible through chiropractic and physical therapy care. So you can imagine how thrilled I was to see a real change in my sway back after corseting. I am thinking of telling my husband to “suck it” and starting a (gentle) sleeping regimen to see if I stick with it long term if there will be any permanent change or one that will just need semi regular maintenance. If I am safe and healthy with it, I figure the worst it will do is make me mildly uncomfortable and I might have a slimmer waist. I too, am more sausage than hour glass. But, for me, this is due to what it called “a gymnast’s torso” ie: about an inch space between the bottom ribs and the top of the hip. *sigh*

  8. I would be lying if I said corsets excite me only as much as any other garment (pants, sweaters). They signify confidende and beauty for me. But that is how I feel, personally, and I think it is crazy people don’t respect each other for what they feel like doing to their own bodies/lives. Like other (previously) controversial topics such as tattoos, being a homosexual and wearing a bra or not: it is an individual choice which doesn’t harm others in any way. I am glad society seems to be more and more accepting toward diversity, it probably is just a matter of time before corseting is also accepted, or “de-sensationalized”.

  9. That is exactly the way I see it :) For me, it is an absolute passion. People still make a big deal over it though. Slowly but surely making the people around me comfortable with it :P

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