Women’s undergarments have often been major sources of controversies since ages ago. While most of these have died out with time, there is one that has continued since the 16th century. Corsets have come a long way, having been labelled with different definitions at various stages of history.
They have always been seen in a negative light – interpreted as another tool of oppression used by men to define beauty standards among women. However, in reality, the situation seems to be quite different.
Corsets were initially just an essential undergarment that helped mould the torso into a definite shape. It wasn’t associated with the hourglass type figure that got popularized later. In fact, in the 1800s, men would wear corsets too. It was only with time that corsets among men became an idea of absolute ridicule and thus the trend died out as well.
Pinching in the waistline to extreme extents where there is a chance for the internal organs to get rearranged, thus posing a fatal threat to their very lives, wasn’t enough for women of that time.
Historical studies have shown that men would protest against this highly irrational piece of undergarment. However, for women, this had become a serious standard of beauty that would help them go up the social ladder in society. It had become a status symbol.
If we move on to modern times, corsets seem to have a completely different purpose and meaning. They are now a tool for expression. Women in the show business, dancing girls, and even sex workers wear them as an expression of their sexuality. It has become a pop culture of sorts – at times even a means of protest against the shame that the patriarchal society has conditioned women to, with regards to their undergarments.
Also Read: Why Women Dressed Like Men In The 1920s
The journey of corsets from being a necessary undergarment to a fetish culture has been captured in the images below-
Thus, corsets aren’t exactly the way they have been portrayed in popular culture. There is no denying that was a phase where women were obsessed with the idea of torturing themselves for attaining unrealistic standards of beauty. However, at the end of the day, corsets are just like any other undergarment – it is your choice if and how you wish to adorn it!
Image Credits: Google Images
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