What do personalities like Kim Kardashian-West and Violet Chachki have in common? They’re both known for having insane proportions thanks to corsets and other waist-training apparel. The former even made headlines when she attended the 2019 Met Gala in a custom Thierry Mugler dress and fans accused her of removing a rib to achieve her tiny waist.
We’re obviously past the era where women were practically required to wear corsets to have an “attractive” body shape while wearing dresses. And with the rise of the body positivity and body neutrality movements, people are learning to be more accepting of different body types. But there seems to be a spike in Instagram searches for #WaistTraining with over 1.2 million posts as of writing.
Why is it trending? The Guardian reported last year that the Kardashian-Jenners, specifically Kim and Kylie, are the number one suspects since they are influential on social media and have admitted that they use waist trainers to achieve their hourglass shape. It’s not surprising for their followers to look up how to get the same physique, which can be problematic.
Waist trainers are elastic compression bands worn around the midriff. It’s considered a distant cousin of corsets since it restricts fat pockets along the waist and the area of the two lowest ribs. If worn for a long period of time, it’s believed to mold the body into an hourglass shape. However, there are negative effects like water loss caused by extra perspiration, losing strength and definition on the abdomen, restricting air flow and damaging internal organs.
When I saw that waist training was trending on Instagram, the posts mostly show influencers offering fitness advice on how to get an hourglass figure while promoting products that allegedly make your waist smaller. It’s reminiscent of when detox teas littered our feeds and celebrity endorsers sold their followers the idea that you can get a similar physique by consuming the product.
Both waist training and detox teas promote a “skinny ideal” that’s achieved through unhealthy means. Beauty blogger Chloe Lawrence told The Guardian that waist training wasn’t only uncomfortable and painful, it also didn’t do anything. She said it only worked when she wore it. When it’s off, her body goes back to normal. This isn’t a bad thing, but some people might end up resenting their bodies for not looking a certain way.
Being “thin enough” and having an hourglass shape are impossible beauty standards that one should never strive for, especially if they’re putting their health at risk. Sure, corseted outfits and undergarments can be fun to wear, but remember not to push yourself. Your well-being should always comes first.