Monday, July 16, 2012

Yikes! What's a corset?

Judy asked a great question the other day:  Hey, Andi. I was wondering . . . did your mother make you wear a corset when you wore dresses?

Look at the WASP waist
First of all, let's make sure we all know what a "corset" is. Here is an illustration. A corset is worn under all your petticoats and skirts. It's meant to squish a girl or woman around the waist (some folks say it makes women look like wasps. You know, those creepy bees that have what looks like 2 bodies connected by just a smidgen between them). And the tighter you lace those things up, the more "waspy" you look! I guess it's the "style" and if you don't go along with it, you are considered sloppy and not stylist (I guess I'm sloppy and not in style. Oh, well).

Way back in the 1800s, it was believed women were very fragile and needed support to hold them up (like, what? That without a corset to hold us up, we would fall over like a boneless chicken?) I've heard stories that even little girls ages 3 or 4 were sometimes laced up. 
How can anyone breathe with a corset squishing them?

Look what it does to a girl's insides. Tight-fitting corsets rearrange the internal organs. As a result, women (and girls) are more prone to fainting, shortness of breath, stomach and digestion problems, and even heart problems. Girls (especially in high society) were expected to be wearing a full corset by age 14--and some had to sleep in them too, even thought doctors think they are a dangerous health risk. Mostly girls and women of the "upper class" wear these torture devices (I am not kidding. Some women even die when their ribs puncture their livers. Some lose their babies, since there is no room for the baby to grow if a lady is laced up). 

Corsets are not practical for the working class. By the time you get laced up, you can't breathe enough to get any work done. Rich folks can sit around in their beautiful clothes and tell others what to do. Needless to say, my mother is a sensible woman, even if we are rich. Corsets are not safe, and Melinda only wears one for very special occasions, just to be in fashion. But there is too much work to be done on a ranch, so Mother doesn't even wear one. Everybody works, so that means . . . no corsets for me either. (Hooray!) I know one young lady in my classroom--Patricia Newton--wears a corset. She's always so pale and never runs and plays anymore. I reckon she figures she's more attractive and might catch a beau this way (though who wants to marry a wasp?). 

So, I ask: who wants to catch a beau anyway? Not me . . . at least not for a long, long time. And any boy I do end up liking some day will just have to like me the way God made me . . . and not squished up like some wasp-shaped, fainting human being.



  1. Whew! I am so glad they're not "in style" because almost all of my friends would be wearing them for style, besides me and a couple other home school friends.I would NOT want one of those! I think it's kinda funny how most public school girls near me like fashion and what's "in" while my home school buddies and I are fine in T shirts and shorts whenever (besides winter, of course). Oh, and I know that little boys used to wear corsets in the 1700s, what about boys younger than 5 or 6 then?

  2. Ouch.....corsets sound...painful!

  3. Yikes!!!!!! I am so glad I don't have-to wear those things!!! How can you breath?! Jessica

  4. Little boys used to wear corsets? That ridiculous!

  5. Girls wearing corsets is pretty crazy, too. Yuck

  6. It's sad what corsets are known as today, they used to be mean't for support and not fashion... But corsets were pretty terrible stays not so much


Let Andi know what you think!