Why so many celebrities are “waist training”

So yeah, um, no to the whole “waist training” thing that every celebrity alive seems to be trying these days.

In the recent past, actress Jessica Alba raved about how wearing a waist trainer day and night for three months helped her lose baby weight. And now we’ve got Scout Willis (daughter of Bruce and Demi), Kim Kardashian, Lindsay Lohan, and singer Nicole Scherzinger getting on board this train.

People, please. We’ve been through this before.

Our culture’s fascination with waist whittling seems to ebb and flow as the pendulum swings between constricting fashions (As seen in the Victorian era. Ladies back then had to lace up tight!) and looser looks (like those more forgiving flapper dresses that became popular right after the era of cinching and bustling).

But the difference today is this: We actually now know that waist training can cause serious problems. Y’know, like bruising internal organs, damage to the liver, stomach, colon, circulation, muscles… stuff like that. In fact, as I’ve been writing this post, two other major outlets (who ironically often feature images of celebs in their waist trainers) have published info on the damage waist training can do.

IMHO, all this raises two important questions: 1) Why are so many celebs participating in this trend?  And 2) Why are they into making it so public, especially given that plenty of celebrities have been publicly shamed for wearing Spanx? (Hmm, which also makes me wonder why we, as a culture, aren’t questioning celebs who are waist training, yet are ruthless about embarrassing women who wear more discreet — and less dangerous — shapewear. So that’s three questions).

My best theory is this: The coverage of how fast women are getting their bikini bodies back after Baby is worse than ever. When I wrote about it four years ago for this blog, female celebs were taking up to six weeks to debut their post pregnancy bodies. (Slackers.)

Today, there are ladies doing it in four days! Couple that with headlines like “The Waist Training is Working!” and we’ve got lots of folks — postpartum and not — racing to lace up again.

The strangest part, though, is that this public embrace of waist training is happening at a time when so many celebrities are actually speaking up in favor of body acceptance. We’ve got model Chrissy Teigen showing off her stretch marks, Pink pushing back against body-shamers, and Rebel Wilson questioning why the Victoria’s Secret angels are still being held up as role models. (#Think!)

Which actually raises another question (bringing my tally to four): To all the celebs exhibiting their antiquated and restrictive underwear — how can we get you to take it all off? ’Cause I think we’d all be happier and healthier if we just let it all hang out.

Audrey D. Brashich is the author of All Made Up: A Girl’s Guide to Seeing Through Celebrity Hype and Celebrating Real Beauty. She writes regularly about trending pop culture issues for The Washington Post, Yahoo Parenting, and other national news outlets.

6 thoughts on “Why so many celebrities are “waist training”

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  1. Spanx is just as dangerous as waist training. In fact I think I read here why Spanx is bad. So why suggest it’s any better?

  2. I wrote about Spanx for this blog, so yeah, that piece you’re referring to was probably by me (There’s a link to it in the body of the text above).

    I guess it’s all relative. Cause while I’m certainly not all “Hey everyone! I think you should start wearing Spanx to camouflage your ‘body flaws'” I’m actually a lot more comfortable with Spanx than extreme dieting, invasive surgeries, starvation, exercise addiction and other methods of achieving some version of a “perfect” body. I also can live with some makeup and hair dye… but not radical facial surgery where they cut around the perimeter of one’s face and yank it toward one’s ears before sewing it all back up.

    But that’s me. Everyone has their own line when it comes to these things. And I thank you, Jackie, for bringing up that maybe Spanx isn’t where it’s at either….

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