Please don’t waist train

stock-photo-young-woman-wearing-a-waist-training-corset-in-black-underwear-which-is-the-new-craze-for-looking-307711142There’s a trend that is troubling me. I’d like to think it’s limited to celebrities like the Kardashians. I’m certain the women I know are confident enough not to risk their health for their appearance.

But these things never stay within the Hollywood bubble. I could get a botox injection right now, without an appointment. Real women are getting plastic surgery to make their labias look better. Yes, labias. Don’t be offended that I mentioned lady parts here, I used the scientific term.

These maniacal ways to fix our bodies – as if the natural way things grow and store fat and sit on our skeletons are not correct – these things infiltrate our very real world.

I shouldn’t be surprised that people I know are wearing and promoting waist trainers. 

Just this morning I read yet another article warning women not to use these products. Doctors say whittling your waist with a trainer comes at much too high a cost — they say it squeezes internal organs causing irreparable damage.

This isn’t new information.

I haven’t figured out how many doctor’s warnings it takes to balance out a few Kardashian waist trainer selfies, but there has to be a quota and I hope we reach it soon.

They remind me of a particularly scarring scene in ‘Titanic’ – no, not the one you’re thinking of… and not that other one either.

I remember seeing it in the theater when I was nine. Although tall, I was still small enough that my feet dangled off the seat. I had no concept of what my body should look like. I only knew that it let me run, dance, swim and play kickball.

I remember being so embarrassed that my Aunt Rae was seeing a naked lady on the screen, like she wasn’t old enough or something. I covered my eyes during the nudity, like a pre-teen would. But I remember being even more shocked by the scene in which Rose’s mother tightens her corset so much that her breathing is restricted. 

When I was nine I thought that seemed like a mean thing for Rose’s mother to do. At 28, I see women I know doing it to themselves. These are women who live in a progressive 21st century world. I see women who’ve written books I’ve read, women who’ve overseen major business deals, women I’ve sat beside in lecture halls who are voluntarily squeezing their own organs to a dangerous degree just to have a more desirable curve between their hips and bust. It’s, in the most real sense, a form of torture stemming from self-hatred.

This is not a judgment. I try to keep a “to each her own” attitude about most things. This is not a judgment, It’s a plea. 

I’ve been insecure. I’ve wanted to change things about my body. I’ve wished I was petite, or my shoulders weren’t so broad. In high school I wished I could gain a few pounds so people wouldn’t tell me I needed a cheeseburger.

I get it. We all get it.

I realize I am saying this as a thin woman whose only ever experienced the other side of a weight problem, the kind of problem” that’s easily confused for a stroke of luck. I know my words may be discounted by this, but that’s also why I’m saying it.  

I don’t think, for one second, that my size gives me any more value than anyone else here. I didn’t get into all of the colleges I applied to because I was tall and thin. I wasn’t hired at my job because of my waist circumference. I didn’t earn any awards for my jean size and my family and friends certainly didn’t love me more when it was a teenage waif-like 0 instead of a grown woman’s 4.

You can do whatever you want to do with your body. I’m not making rules. I’m not going to love you any less. But I urge you to consider this – you’re too smart, too beautiful, too healthy to destroy the things that keep you alive just so you can look a little more like Kim Kardashian.

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