- Ok, I have a confession to make. I’ve worn a corset. Quite a few in fact. While I’ve never explored the more extreme reaches of body modification andMessage 1 of 1 , Jan 7View Source
Ok, I have a confession to make. I’ve worn a corset. Quite a few in fact. While I’ve never explored the more extreme reaches of body modification and figure training through corsetry I’ve known, and known of, quite a few people who have. So the second part of this assignment is based partially on first hand experience. First though, some generalisations...
Corsets are widely considered sexy. They accentuate and exaggerate the female body into the hourglass shape that is often regarded as the "classic" epitome of womanly beauty. As demonstrated in the previous part of this assignment and by the wealth of relevant material on the Fashion and Dress resources pages corsets of one form or another have been used for centuries to alter and, some would argue, improve on womens' natural contours.
From steel boned models seen in period TV programmes and films to high street shapewear to sexy lingerie to bustiers sold as outerwear, even the most minimally body conscious and least sexually adventurous contemporary western person is probably familiar with a version of the corset.
But how about those who wear traditional corsets with the express intention of honing their silhouettes, sometimes to a dramatic degree? Let me start with a bit of personal history: in my late twenties, inspired by a few people I knew, I dabbled in lace up corsets for personal pleasure. While never as dedicated or willing to endure discomfort as some of my friends I was surprised to find that I enjoyed the feeling of being "held in" and supported by a strong garment that looked and felt quite empowering at the time. Why? Because it combined a provocative appearance with the necessity of enduring a certain level of discomfort to wear it properly that felt exciting and, at the time, allowed me to feel I belonged to an elite club of individuals with similar sartorial tastes.
I no longer wear corsets but, judging by the plethora of websites advertising contemporary corset makers' wares, many people do. My impression is that some die-hards purchase them with the express intention of modifying their bodies for erotic purposes whereby pleasure combines with pain, or "discipline". Others may wear them for their romantic, historical allusions or to set off a retro look. Still others may favour less severe versions to spice up their love lives. What's clear though is that at the more exteme end of the spectrum a stringent combination of technique and ritual is involved in making, and wearing, traditional steel boned, laced corsets that are mainly made-to-measure.
While I support anyone's right to wear a corset of whatever kind, as stated earlier, I no longer do. Why? Because I no longer want to compress my body in a manner that would now feel purely constricting. Also, I have neither the time nor the inclination to spend hours lacing myself into a corset, for my own or anyone else's pleasure. In fact although I can appreciate their beauty and appeal I'm off corsets altogether. Give me a cashmere sweater and a pair of jeans any day.