De-Sensationalizing the Corset
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!) :
- 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!