The other day after a great and sweaty workout in a class at my local gym, I was quick to hit the locker room and get going on my day. I was fascinated, however, by the locker room shenanigans of a woman who’d just been sweating in class next to me. She was going through quite a bit of post workout acrobatics, but these groovy little moves were of no real exercise value. In fact, what she was trying to do was slither (rather awkwardly) into a tight girdle, or I guess if I am being politically correct by today’s standards, I would say “a piece of shapewear.”
I immediately thought to myself that yes, indeed spring has sprung and it is that most wonderful time of the year when as the temperatures go up, the clothes come off. All that skin exposure can be a wonderful thing if you are ready for it; in those cases when you’re not; well it seems that it can be downright stressful.
Anyway, back to the locker room. After somehow successfully managing to wriggle her way into the knee length, waist high, beige-toned piece of shape wear…well, I’ll be darned if this woman wasn’t going back for more fun. Watching out of the corner of my eye (and as shocked as I was, not wanting to stare) I noticed that gym girl was indeed now putting on piece of shapewear number two! What kind of self-torture was this? I had actually heard of women wearing two bras to give themselves a huge lift in the cleavage department, but wearing two girdles (excuse me, shapers) was a completely new concept to me. In fact, in addition to sounding incredibly uncomfortable, I wondered if there were any potential health risks involved in doing this. I’m not sure how she was breathing; and her girly parts surely weren’t faring much better, in fact, the whole scenario looked like a bladder infection in the making.
Women have been using contraptions to reshape their bodies for centuries. Corsets have been around for thousands of years and heaven only knows that women have done all sorts of atrocious things to their breasts over the years to get them pointing in the right direction–from flattening them out to make them boyishly disappear, to boosting them up and out to the point of overflowing. Corsets of old were no easy piece of lingerie to endure, either. Women were known to faint from having a corset on way too tight, and some gals were even known to carry smelling salts on their person “just in case” they passed out from an overly tight corset. Since breathing was difficult, I’m guessing sitting or walking was probably a herculean feat as well. Corset abuse has been proven to cause all sorts of health concerns over the years, from gastrointestinal problems to breathing issues and even general muscle atrophy. When women abandoned the general use of a corset for serious function rather than just fashion, they likely did themselves a huge favor.
As for the woman I saw struggling to get all her shapewear/gear on so she could go about her day–I could only feel a twinge of sadness that she felt all that so necessary. Centuries of women have come and gone and still nary a satisfied one amongst them–are we all destined to be obsessed with wanting a body that nature just didn’t intend for us to have? It seems that even common sense and good health aren’t enough of a reason to stop the madness. Lingerie can and should enhance your feminine assets; that’s the point. But when the shaping, contorting, squishing or binding becomes painful or even torturous, perhaps your underwear routine needs a second look.