The “extreme hourglass” is a shape that doesn’t happen naturally. The look is a micro-waist, wide hips and buttocks, and large breasts. It just doesn’t make biological sense, though. You can’t “spot reduce” your waist, which is why it can feel quite daunting to work out all the time, only to find that the spots you’re working out the most aren’t shrinking in isolation.
So, naturally, because the dictates of popular culture lead to mass trends, a company called Velform has developed a waist-trainer (thanks, Kardashians) that gives women comically narrow waists by simply applying its bandage-like apparatus. You can watch the ad above and see for yourself, and believe us, you’ll find it to be as much of a trainwreck as we do. It’s been banned from television (banned for, well, completely obvious, unrealistic-body-standards reasons), so this is your only opportunity to see. But trust us, you won’t be able to turn away, because, where the heck did her waist go? It is in fact just collected and pushed into the body, as corsets have always done. But it’s a marvel to see and impossible to believe.
Here’s a bit of background on why you don’t want to do this at all, though.
Back in the early, early 1900s, the extreme-hourglass look existed, but it had a different name and was slightly different. While Kim Kardashian is the patron saint of extreme hourglass-ing through waist-training, women in the early 1900s sought what they called the “S-Bend” through corsets. It looks like this:
Women would tighten their corsets so much, that the actual physiology of a person would be different. The spine no longer aligned a human person upward – instead it was bent until it could not be bent no more. Walking, one must imagine, felt like going on one of those ridiculous hoverboards or a Segway. Excessive use of lace-up corsets lead to actual, visible changes. Le Corset’s trove of vintage x-rays shows how ribs were actually prohibiting lungs from fully inflating. Then there’s this x-ray, which clearly shows how the actual bone composition of a living woman changed.
Dr. Natalie Azar, from New York University’s Langone Medical Center, told Daily Mail, “The lung compression is the major issue. You can see where the corset narrows especially at the lower ribs, affecting how the lung can fully expand. Longstanding lung dysfunction can lead to heart problems, among other things.”
It’s a style that faced much criticism – not just by doctors, but by current affairs cartoonists (very likely men):
There are a lot of things that will promise a tinier waist, but like any of those things, buyer beware. There is no magic pill, nor perma-corset that will work better than, well, good-old fashioned eating right and exercising.
What do you think of this ad (in 2016!)? Let us know in the comments below!