There’s a popular beauty myth constantly going around that all women must possess a Hollywood, Marilyn Monroe-style hourglass figure to be considered beautiful. Which I’m gonna throw in right now, and disclaim because it is simply not true. All body shapes are beautiful. Anyway, even though our natural body shape is based purely on genetics, women still strive to achieve this figure. Whether they are finding various exercises on Pinterest or some weird Tumblr shit. Perhaps even cosmetic surgery. Other, cheaper options that people took however, were waist trainers.
Popular thanks to the Kardashians, waist trainers are basically an evolved version of corsets. You know the things that damaged women’s bodies in the 1800’s? Except waist trainers are less of a goddamn health and safety hazard to yourself. If anything they are like one big elasticated belt you hook around your waist. The way they work is you wear them every day for at least an hour or two, and your waist should begin to take the shape of an hourglass. They are supposedly comfy, good under tight-fitted clothes and surely promise results.
I did not actually buy one with the intention of achieving a slimmer waist or better shape. I was taking A level drama and the play was set in Victorian England – very Jack The Ripper style. This play meant a lot to my final grade so I wasn’t about to mess it up by getting a shoddy costume that made everything look like shit (because my acting was poor enough already). I went on a corset search and they were all like £24 and I care about my A levels but not enough to blow £24 on something I’m literally never going to wear again. Plus they were all like fucking bondage wear. Now that would be a truly memorable way of being thrown out of college. It’s impossible to find just a plain black not-too-expensive corset.
Then I came across a waist trainer. Similar looking to all the expensive corset’s I found, but a lot lot cheaper. I’d heard about waist trainers before this point but never properly looked into them let alone thinking of purchasing one. The waist trainer to me was a last resort and the performance date was fast approaching. I had to get something. When it arrived I was eager to try it on with my costume I’d scrambled together. And thank god it looked great! Jesus Christ, it was such a chew to put on because of the many hooks but apart from that it went perfect. I only tried it on for a couple seconds so I didn’t think too much of it, I was just thinking at least I have something now.
Then rehearsals happened and they were happening daily. Even at weekends my group would meet for extra rehearsals. For hours on end for the next few months. The worst part is that it had to be in costume. Therefore every single day I would have to squeeze myself into this waist trainer for the sake of a play I didn’t even really like that much.
Now I’m not saying that the waist trainer was killing me, but it was so damn uncomfortable. I began dreading every lesson because I had to rehearse. My first thought on a morning was the fact I’d have to put the waist trainer on. Constantly going over moves and lines in the most restrictive piece of clothing in the world was tough. And I thought putting it on was the hard bit. The waist trainer is most effective when you exercise whilst wearing it. I was only walking (maybe occasionally running) in it, I couldn’t even imagine what it was like doing fucking crunches or sit-ups wearing it unless I wanted it to dig into every roll of fat I have.
After every tiring rehearsal session when I’d remove the waist trainer my stomach would just kinda fill out again in the most unflattering manner. I couldn’t really see much change, but I could sure as hell feel the discomfort that came with it. I felt bloated every time. I’d actually say I felt more self conscious than I did before? I was paying more attention to my figure.
Finally the day of the exam came and after months of rehearsals in costume, it was finally over. I never had to wear that thing again. But as I looked in the mirror, I thought that I did notice a slight difference in my waist. It does work? I mean only a slight bit. It wasn’t to the extent everyone pays loads for, but then again I wasn’t doing hardcore exercise in it. My original plan was to bin the fucker when I’d finally finished but I decided to hang onto it. You never know right? This kind of thing is good when you want to wear a slim dress, or if you ever fancy dressing up like a Victorian England prostitute. Just thinking out the box.
If I was to sum the whole thing up, I’d say yes. The waist trainer does miraculously work. Even if I have complained a lot about it. But then because you think you’ve achieved the figure, you stop wearing it like I did, and then my waist just went back to normal again. I personally didn’t care too much about this, but I can imagine someone who’s worked really hard to achieve this and then watching it all go away cos they stopped wearing it, it’s a bit disappointing. So if you were to buy one you’d have to exercise a lot and wear it a lot, otherwise there is very little point in purchasing one.
Recently I heard about a girl still in secondary school, who wears a waist trainer to bed every night. It shows determination, but she’s only young! Girls shouldn’t be this self conscious at that age. Scratch that, nobody should be body conscious enough to feel they need to put their body through discomfort in hopes that society will deem them as beautiful. It’s morally wrong and it is actually very damaging. So I’m gonna round this up by saying a waist trainer is great. Whether it’s for costumes and if you’re good at keeping up with exercise and desperate to get the hourglass figure, but only in the short run. We should pay a hell of a lot more attention into showing that all body types are beautiful.