Are waist-trainers the new corset?

No, quite simply its neither beneficial nor goals

Hide Images

Recently, there has been a new trend sweeping gyms across the world (including Warwick Sport) and it has certainly got me thinking. Yes, the waist-trainer, a corset-inspired device designed to cinch the waist and produce the curves that every girl is ‘supposed’ to have nowadays, regardless of her natural body type.

What is a waist-trainer anyway?


To clarify, a waist-trainer is a garment designed to ‘enhance your body’ by compressing your torso into a tight corset. Supposedly, the ‘shapewear’ will even help you to lose weight! A miracle product surely?

Not quite. The reason it can curb appetites is because your mid-section is squeezed into a rigid cage. This means it can go as far as dangerously re-positioning your organs and leaving smaller portions as your only option. These are not like Topshop Joni jeans, you can’t release the button to make more room for chips. No thanks- pass me the spuds. 

Aren’t corsets a little 1800s?

Women have been cramming into corsets since before the 17th century. In the early days, the focus was to accentuate the bust and this continued into the Victorian age where the hourglass figure rose to popularity. In fact, for a while the corset was mandatory for women; a societal expectation.

As time passed the corset adapted, particularly as doctors noticed the health defects of the so-called ‘fashion’. These included: destructive effects to the organs, digestive complaints, and even reproductive problems.

Is it really necessary at the gym?

Firstly, as a gym-goer myself, surely it is dreadful to have your mid-rift locked in a cage whilst training? In fact, contrary to my initial beliefs, bearing the bodice in the gym doesn’t even enhance your session, it simply makes you sweat more.

Yes, it increases perspiration supposedly ridding your body of toxins and impurities, which sounds a bit frivolous to me. I’m pretty sure sufficient sweat-levels can be achieved through a mean cardio session without any rib-restraints. Moreover, they restrict your lung capacity; a pretty vital component to successful aerobic exercise – just saying.

Are the Kardashians ‘goals’ though?

Okay, so I have watched almost every episode of ‘Keeping Up with The Kardashians’, but I cannot help taking issue with their promotion of a sort of ‘one-size-fits-all’ body type. I mean, they seem to have all morphed into clones of each other lately.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a complete advocate of each woman taking charge of her own body. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t jealous of their curves, especially given that I resemble more of a beanpole than an hourglass myself. What I am questioning is their silent suggestion that having this fashionable body type is the key to happiness. For example, Khloe’s new show ‘Revenge Body’ – it’s amazing if you want to be healthy, but do it for yourself! 

I’m just a bit confused really

It was the rising Women’s Liberation Movement and rational dress movements that put the corset into its timely grave, so why, in a time of feminist empowerment, where women are standing so ardently against male objectification, is the corset making its comeback?

Of course, we should celebrate women’s freedom of choice. I applaud those making the decision to strap themselves back in – you do you girl, if it makes you happy. But I cannot help but feel that despite these progressions, women still feel an inescapable need to modify their bodies rather than feeling comfortable in their own skin.

It’s time to embrace a variety of body types and stop dangerously glorifying just one as a goal for all girls to reach. Body type has become a fashion movement, like leg warmers, crocs and using dogs as accessories. But unlike those, body shape isn’t disposable and the time has certainly come to change how we view these ‘body-type trends’.