National Geographic - The Smallest Waist in the World.
Women sacrifice a lot for their appearance. From toe-pinching heels, to extreme dieting, to painful waxing, to body piercings, to plastic surgery (Heidi Montag), women of all shapes, sizes & cultures go to great lengths to achieve what they consider to be an ideal look.
I’m all about letting your freak flag fly, and modifying how we look is just one way we choose to express ourselves. I truly don’t believe anyone should be judged based on appearances alone, so how you choose to fly your freak flag is and should be left up to you. However, when what we do for that ideal look has harmful consequences for our health & bodies, maybe there’s a line to be drawn. What price is to high to pay for beauty?
Watch the video above of Cathie Jung, who discusses how she began corseting in her 40’s after her fitness efforts were not producing the results she wanted. At 71 (wow!), she’s been squeezing herself into corsets for over 25 years.”The goal is to look wonderful” she says.
- Every morning she attaches herself to a door handle and laces herself up. Her husband helps when he can, doing her up while she holds on to an overhead bar. Together they do appearances on talk shows & around town.
- Her tiny waist is 15 inches around: the circumference of a DVD or a jar of mayo (and only a few inches wider than my bicep). It’s enough to earn her the world record for smallest waist.
- Cathie’s collected over 100 corsets over the years. Each of her corsets are custom made by a engineer in Amsterdam: her husband casts her in plaster & mails off her mold for each custom piece.
- She wears a corset all day, every day, 365 days a year. It’s removed to shower only. She even wears corsets TO THE GYM.
- Her internal organs have shifted to different positions in her body to accommodate her small waist. She says it doesn’t feel painful, although she doesn’t exactly look like she’s having a great time either.
Corsets were originally designed as a molding garment to straighten crooked backs. By the 19th century, it was a symbol of of sexual virtue & chastity. Corsets have been associated with horrible body mutilations, loss of consciousness, back & breathing problems & death. Another side effect? Anorexia. Early corset wearers often battled eating disorders as they starved themselves to fit into smaller & smaller corsets.
Corsets are not without their risks, but most corsets available today are not NEARLY as extreme as Cathie’s. And while I love the look of a corset, but I love the feeling of normal breathing and ab muscles more. Might be a Halloween only treat for me.