Modern Women Disfiguring Bodies with Corsets, Footbinding

Women in Britain and the U.S. are now wearing corsets to reduce their waistlines, and metal devices to bind their feet, in a practice known as “body training.”

The “waist training” regimen requires wearing an increasingly tighter corset over a period of months in order to reduce the waist by 2-6 inches, by displacing the intestines, stomach and bladder. Increasing pressure in the abdomen pushes the contents of the stomach upwards, leading to heartburn. By pushing on the stomach, corsets also prevent the woman from eating as much as usual, which leads to weight loss. Urinary and circulatory problems are also a risk.

UK women say they do it to feel powerful and more feminine. “It’s telling people you’re a woman of power,” said Pandora Gorey, who went from a 25-inch to 19-inch waist over two years. “As far as I’m concerned, every woman should do it.” Karen Wright, a Manchester University student, said “I’ve never been into feminism — I’m old-fashioned. I’m the sort of women who believes men should always open doors for women and I body train solely to increase my femininity.” Wright now has 37-inch hips and an 18-inch waist, and also says that it makes her feel “powerful.”

In California, Fakir Musafar teaches “foot bending and binding” with a metal device used to make the foot smaller. San Franciscan Sharon Nickle has made her feet two sizes smaller this way, hoping for the “lotus-flower” look. Musafar said “In the long run, there will be more and more people wanting to modify their feet and torso. Body training is here to stay.”


London Times - October 12, 1997

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