I have recently read an article entitled, Body Ritual among the Nacirema. What I found interesting was this quote about the people of Nacirema that reminded so much of the American culture; It’s no surprise actually that Nacirema is American spelled backwards. The quote is as follow, “ While much of the people’s time is devoted to economic pursuits, a large part of the fruits of these labors and a considerable portion of the day are spent in ritual activity. The focus of this activity is the human body, the appearance and health of which loom as a dominant concern in the ethos of the people. While such a concern is certainly not unusual, its ceremonial aspects and associated philosophy are unique. The fundamental belief underlying the whole system appears to be that the human body is ugly and that its natural tendency is to debility and disease. Incarcerated in such a body, man’s only hope is to avert these characteristics through the use of the powerful influences of ritual and ceremony.” It’s no secret that it is a very Americanize thing to be obsessed with the way you look and always seek for ways to fix ourselves either through dieting, weight lost pills and teas, wraps that promises instant results, plastic surgeries among many.
As I am sure you have all noticed on social media sites and reality TV, “an hourglass figure, furnished with huge breasts, a flat stomach and a voluptuous butt,” is the new trend in today’s society. And since society tends to respond well to trend, Waist trainers have become a staple in the world of health and fitness as a result. Through the practice of waist-training, women aim to reshape their bodies and trim inches off their waists in the attempt of becoming the new and ever changing “socially desirable.”
New Jersey retailer Glamour Boutique claims, “when waist training is paired with diet and exercise, it can “radically reduce the waist” and help reduce food volume intake by constricting the internal organs thus helping promote the healthier practice of smaller meals, rather than three large meals a day”(Ebony). Furthermore, it recommends beginning with wearing the corset three to six hours a day, then gradually increase the time to several hours a day for maximum results (as if constricting your internal organs in the name of #teamnowaist for up to six hours a day is not unhealthy enough to begin with.) Contrary to what Glamour Boutique protested, a waist trainer does not promote the “healthier” practice of smaller meals. It’s just another effort from the diet industry to promote extreme, and unsafe measures so they can make a buck by helping you become more insecure and unsatisfied with your body.
Some experts even warn against waist trainers. Leslie Heinberg, MD, Director of Behavioral Sciences for the Bariatric (weight loss) and Metabolic Institute at Cleveland Clinic, says, “there’s misinformation that body shape and body weight can be easily changeable to society’s standards, but we come in all different shapes and sizes and some of us aren’t meant to have a tiny waist”(Ebony). Director of Bariatric Surgery at the University of Florida Health Jacksonville, Sunil Sharma, MD, further states that a waist trainer is not an effective way to weight lost, “all you’re doing is compressing your stomach and pushing the fat around instead of getting rid of it. It’s a very temporary thing. Would you be able to obtain fat loss after taking it off? I doubt it.” He says (Ebony).
Nicole Florence, MD, Co-Director of Memorial Weight Loss and Wellness Center at Memorial Medical Center, deepen on the magnitude of wearing the trainers, “some people who want a quick fix fall prey to diet trends. And it can absolutely impact your health in a negative way. Corset training can restrict any type of movement in your midsection. It can restrict your lungs, which can cause lung infections and other lung problems, as well as restrict your bowels, which can cause constipation. It can also cause bruising and rib pain” (Ebony). Additionally, Dr. Florence explains, there is no medical research that supports corset training as being a healthy way to lose weight (Ebony).
While waist training pictures of Kim and her infamous sisters, among other celebrities and instagram fitness models, are plastered all over social media, all three of these doctors advise against it. Your organs are worth more than short term aesthetic looks you are brainwashed into believing you should strive for. The first time I read the article stated above, I remember thinking how ridiculous the Nacirema people culture sounded and then I realize it was actually the American culture in disguised. It Really put into perspective our messed up priorities in today society. We mistreat our bodies instead of being grateful for our healthy canvases that are able to carry us through the world.