I’m very proud of the shape I’ve been able to achieve over the years, but unless I’m going to a special event where I feel it will be appreciated, I tend to somewhat hide it. I just don’t really want to get stared at with those confused looks, and while my company is incredibly accepting of all types of people, I fear it will be perceived in a negative way. There tends to be an assumption that corsets are worn as a ridiculous way to look skinny. But that’s really not what it’s about at all. It’s about a lot of things, but that is definitely not one of them.
Corsets just can’t be about being skinny. If your waist is disproportionately smaller than the rest of you, it actually makes your hips, bust, and shoulders look larger in comparison. The effect can be quite striking. So really, this is about curves. And if you lace quite tightly, it’s about unnatural curves. On purpose. Because to me and to many other tightlacers, this is a form of body modification not unlike ear stretching, though involving gorgeous unique creations by highly skilled artists. It takes time, and while some people will choose to go to a certain point and no further, others choose to see how far their bodies will allow them to go. It’s in this way that corsets really get you acquainted with your body in a way that virtually nothing else can, and really help you to connect with it. You’ll become hyper-aware of your body inside the corset, and discover things about yourself such as asymmetries, how malleable you are, what sensations you enjoy and don’t enjoy, how your organs function, and possible medical issues, among many other things. Most of all wearing a tight corset on a regular basis teaches you how very unique we all are, and that this is beautiful in itself. There’s something very earthy and zen about all this.
But “zen” only begins to cover it. Corsets are capable of performing a version of deep pressure therapy, and can be extremely comforting, especially to those with anxiety issues. You’re wrapped in a firm hug for as long as you want to be, and you feel protected. It’s comforting and calming. You can learn more about these effects here.
I also especially love the fact that this takes dedication. It’s something to be proud of, not just the shape itself but the time that it took to achieve it. It’s the fact that I’ve been disciplined enough to make it this far, that I’ve really earned this. It’s about the journey. Even when I don’t find a tightlacer’s shape aesthetically pleasing to me, I still deeply respect the dedication it took to get there, as much as their strength in doing something they love even while it goes so far against the norm. Because even as far as body modification goes, this is a minority interest. You need to really be comfortable with yourself and your decisions go against the grain like that, because there’s nothing quite like hearing a stranger tell you that you’re killing yourself and you look disgusting. I love this enough and I’m secure enough with my choice to do it that I feel a lot more sorry for the person saying it than for myself. They must be miserable, closed-minded people, and they’re missing out on what could be a very positive experience for them.
While it’s clear that wearing corsets is not for everyone, I can’t help but feel that everyone should at least give it a chance, because so many people have found this to be such a positive influence in their lives. And if more people did try it, maybe I wouldn’t be so uncomfortable getting stared at.