Kim Kardashian felt forced to explain herself after receiving a barrage of criticism for putting her four-year-old daughter North West in what looked like a corset.
The assumption was made all the more inflammatory as Kardashian is well known for her advocacy of waist training in order to achieve an hour glass figure – and strangely shaped internal organs.
However, the one North was wearing wasn’t doing any of that rib-crushing, no-breathing stuff, and instead was only a lace-up front that looked like a corset.
“The Daily Mail, this one’s for you,” she said in a video she tweeted.
I would never put my daughter in a corset!It’s a dress I bought that is a cotton fabric that laces up & looks like a corset! Just decoration pic.twitter.com/hZzZLs04sM
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) July 13, 2017
“This dress which I did not design but actually bought, is not a corset. It’s just fabric on the front, that looks like a corset.
“I would never put my daughter in a corset! It’s a dress I bought that is a cotton fabric that laces up & looks like a corset! Just decoration.”
Woe betide us to judge a mother for what she dresses her daughter in, but isn’t the implication still the same here?
For those that don’t know, corsets were a 16th century Italian invention, where they were used as excruciating undergarments to achieve a slender and delicate figure men couldn’t help but want to ruthlessly dominate. They quickly became all the rage in Europe, particularly in France, where women were encouraged to hone their “corps pique” shapes by practically choking themselves to death.
Of course, there were a number of health implications to this historic garment.
Benjamin Orange Flower was a campaigner for women’s dress reform in the 1890s. In 1892, he published a pamphlet called “Fashion’s Slaves”.
Here’s what he said in it:
“It is difficult to imagine a slavery more senseless, cruel, or far-reaching in its injurious consequences than that imposed by fashion on civilized womanhood during the past generation. Her health has been sacrificed, and in countless instances her life has paid the penalty; while posterity has been dwarfed, maimed, and enervated, and in body, mind, and soul deformed at its behests. … [T]he tight lacing required by the wasp waists has produced generations of invalids and bequeathed to posterity suffering that will not vanish for many decades. By it, as has been pointed out by the authorities cited, every vital organ in the body has been seriously affected.”
Women were literally dying to look a certain way. Today, we still are, though have different fads, diets and even surgery at our disposal to change our bodies to conform to modern beauty standards.
But why celebrate an oppressive item at all that has a history of causing so much pain? Decoration or not, the corset should be left where it belongs – well and truly in the past.