My Love-Hate Relationship With Shapewear

Like lots of women, I have used shapewear over the years to “smooth out” my belly bulge and any cellulite that might peak through a fitted garment.  I have worn corsets, girdles, control top pantyhose and Spanx Booty-Booster Shorts. I always wanted to look sleeker and more toned because everyone knows that lumps and bumps are the anti-Christ (insert sarcasm here). God forbid I should look like the average woman. The idea that I could fool people into thinking that I do 100 squats a day seemed so easy and so, well, powerful.  I was screaming from the rooftops, “Look at my flat tummy and perfectly round glutes. Ain’t I awesome?” without ever having to say a word.  There was something safe about leaving the house and not worrying that a rogue body part might jiggle at the wrong time (i.e.anywhere other people roam). I literally feared and loathed my fat.  And that, my friends, is the sad truth.

Does this look familiar?

Does this look familiar?

In a society that worships thin women, I, for many years, believed that I had no other choice but to squeeze my body into uncomfortable contraptions, which would cut off my circulation and leave deep marks in my skin. Taking off a girdle at the end of a long day is by far one of the most freeing feelings ever (that and taking off your bra).  I was sort of addicted to looking thinner. But underneath all that, I think what I felt was bondage — not just physical bondage, but psychological too.

Naomi Wolf

That is exactly the sentiment I feel when struggling to get my thighs into a pair of Spanx.  I am obeying our culture’s decree that my body is inherently bad, and that a restrictive medieval contraption is the solution to body woes and low self-esteem.

Have you ever seen an ad for a man’s girdle?  I think I’ve seen one in my life, and I know plenty of men with large bellies, flabby arms and wide asses.  But they are somehow exempt from the same scrutiny that women endure.  Imagine if men had to wear “Slim-Cognito” briefs.  We would never hear the end of of their complaints.  But women have been altering their normal proportions for centuries in order to adhere to an unrealistic Barbie-like physique, and often at the expense of their health.

girdles

For the past few weeks I have been wearing clothes in varying degrees of fitted-ness without shapewear, and it’s felt incredibly liberating.  Yes, my ass jiggles when I move and I can feel my ample stomach poking through my faux leather leggings, but at least I’m comfortable. Oddly enough, I’ve actually started feeling better about myself since I deserted the Girdle Society. What’s more is that my fat is cute!  I even started this hashtag on Instagram:

#myfatiscute

Art by Tara O’Brien

With all that being said, I think as women we are entitled to do what feels best for us.  I may not abandon my tummy-tamer just yet, but I’m learning to live without it. If wearing shapewear makes you feel good, then go for it.  But if it irritates the fuck out of you, trying going without and see how you feel physically and emotionally. You might be surprised.

xo

10 Ways to Look Skinny, And Other Bullsh*t!

Don’t  you just love picking up a fashion magazine and reading those scintillating words on the cover?

Dress 10 Pounds Thinner

7 Steps To Dress Yourself Skinny

How to Look Slimmer Instantly!


My Exact Shape & Size!  Really?  Oh, Yay.

Looks Like We’ve Been Reduced to Fruit.  I’m Hungry.
Holy Shit, Batman!  It’s even endorsed by NBC. 

These headlines suggest–no–demand that as women we should hate our bodies and that they are inherently bad.  Even great magazines like Marie Claire, who I see as more progressive in terms of their content, still lack size diversity on their pages.  

A friend shared this with me recently and I love it:
I randomly received an issue of Redbook in the mail a couple of weeks ago (which I never subscribed to–weirdness), and the cover features a very slender, very blonde, Rebecca Romijn.  The headline reads: 

How She Got a Flat Belly After Twins 

(No Tummy Tuck!)

Wow.  Now that is amazing!  I mean after all, it’s not like she’s rich and has a personal trainer or anything. Is that supposed to be an inspiring article?  I’m totally confused here.  Because the women I know who have had kids mostly have stretch marks and beautiful bellies that reflect the tiny miracles they’ve brought into the world.  They don’t have the time or the energy to get their pre-baby figures back, which by the way, society practically demands of women.  

Lovely and Amazing
I’m fed up with mainstream fashion and women’s magazines.  They have the power to change the world and the way that women are perceived, but rather they choose to manipulate and make money off the insecurities of their readers.  As far as I’m concerned, that’s just bad behavior.  I’d much rather read and support these magazines:



       




If you want things to change, then stop buying and reading mainstream magazines.  Let them feel the weight (pun intended) of their oppressive tactics blow up in their faces.  Stand up and say NO!  We have choices. Make good ones, and watch the world change.  Keep doing the same thing (buying magazines that make you feel inferior) and you’ll get the same result–frustration, anger, intimidation and self-loathing.  The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over expecting a different result.  
BOYCOTT MAINSTREAM MAGAZINES!!

Or engage in some other act of defiance.  Women are powerful, especially in numbers.  

Feminist Naomi Wolf said it best:

“A culture fixated on female thinness is not an obsession about female beauty, but an obsession about female obedience. Dieting is the most potent political sedative in women’s history; a quietly mad population is a tractable one.”

Where do YOU stand?

ciao for niao,
pia