Home > rant > WTF with girdles?!?

WTF with girdles?!?

May 19, 2012

The post today has absolutely nothing to do with math, finance, data science, or Occupy Wall Street. I’ll get back to that stuff after venting.

Can I just say, as a bounteous 3-time mother, that I absolutely positively don’t understand the new-found popularity of girdles?

I was going to not mention it because it seems like the girdle-pushing crowd may get more attention than they deserve simply by being thought about, but it seems like it’s hit a certain crest of popularity that forces my hand.

So here’s what happened. For whatever reason I received a SPANX catalog in the mail, and just out of sheer disbelief that there could be a whole catalog of such nonsense, I took a look inside.

And do you know what I found out? I found out that many of the things in the catalog don’t even come in my size! That’s because they go down to like size 4. No, I’m not kidding. Plus, they also have girdles for men, no shit.

Then I came across this NYT article about corsets. From the article:

At Aishti, his store in Jackson Heights, Queens, Moussa Balaghi has begun carrying girdles in size “extra small,” because, to his shock, so many teenagers and even younger girls were coming in to request them. “Only chubby fat girls used to use this; now, everybody is,” he said, shaking his head. “If she has the smallest little thing at her waist, she wants to use this.”


May I ask, what is a young skinny woman doing thinking about crap like this? What is the point of them? I am honestly confused. Is the point to have something strapped around you, keeping you from breathing correctly, keeping you from biking around town or bending over, and generally confirming that you’re imperfect?

I actually object to all girdles, because I like to see people love and accept their bodies, which seems kind of hard when you’re wearing an ace bandage all over your body.

Something is going on here and it smells bad.

Categories: rant
  1. Spicyrunner
    May 19, 2012 at 9:56 am



  2. Jamie
    May 19, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    You’re being provincial and a little racist (or classist. Or something, I don’t know). Fajas never went away among Latina women. Just because you don’t like something, it doesn’t mean it’s inherently bad, and it’s not the job of white elites to teach us to be messed up white girls.


    • May 20, 2012 at 6:06 am

      Your associations with girdles might well be from Latina women, but mine are from my fat old arthritic grandma squeezing into her Sunday church dress.


  3. May 19, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    Wait, Jamie, are you saying that just because something is sexist doesn’t mean it’s bad, if it’s a commonly accepted part of a culture?

    If so, I disagree.

    On the other hand, one should be culturally sensitive even when (especially when!) you’re working to change some aspect of that culture.


  4. Deborah gieringer
    May 19, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    I remember being 14 and having the shape of popsicle stick. I couldn’t wait to need a bra, and while i was at it, a girdle. I so wanted to have something that needed to be controlled–that would be my certificate of womanhood. I’m kind of thinking that this current thing is more a fashion fad than a must-do standard. That said, It reminds me of the other fashion trend which says “of course I’m really smart and accomplished and that’s why it’s so cool to dress slutty.” With all sorts of sexualized and/or retro fashion, we’re meant to assume a history of struggle that is over and done with, like it’s in quote marks.


    • May 20, 2012 at 6:07 am

      That’s actually a great point, thanks Deb! Still kind of confused about fashion statements that are underneath your clothes though.


  5. May 21, 2012 at 7:34 am

    I’m a latina and I am still wondering how Cathy’s post is racist or classist or something. I need that clarified. My mom never wore a faja but my grandma did and it did move her fat around into all the right places. She was a shapely woman to begin with but after nine pregnancies she needed a little help. In Colombia most women wear a faja for three to six months after a pregnancy. I did after all three of my kids for as long as it felt more comfortable with it than without it. I didn’t like the sensation of my guts squishing around. I missed my firm abdominal wall. It came back, but in the meantime the faja gave me support. Ultimately I feel that as long as a faja is simply an option and not in any way an expectation it is fine and we shouldn’t get into a flap about it. It is the thought of living in my grandma’s world where to be without a faja would be akin to walking around half naked that I would HELL NO! want to go back to.


  6. July 14, 2012 at 2:47 am

    Spanx is fricking awe-tastic (I’m a US size 2-4 depending on the brand). The reasons- it smoothes bumps. I’m small framed and the area of my outer thighs is slightly (but perceptibly) wider than my actual hip point (I sew so I have actual measurements of and patterns drafted from this stuff). Spanx makes that disappear. So I can wear super thin clingy jersey and not look-like someone who’s hips have sunk. And I love that XD


  1. July 13, 2012 at 10:40 pm
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