Waist trainers are all the rage with kids these days. Seriously though, celebrities have been endorsing these products so heavily that waist trainers, waist cinchers, and even corsets are experiencing a period of renaissance. Celebrities such as the Khardasians would have you believe that waist trainers will give one that hourglass figure so popularized by modern media.
Waist trainers’ successes can be attributed to their shameless preying on buyer’s perception of self-image. Ads that bombard audiences with waist trainer before and after pictures are rampant. Heartfelt testimonials describing how well waist trainers really work are on nearly every product’s page. Retailers like Amazon.com offer cheap waist trainers for as little as ten dollars that have thousands of five-star reviews. It’s hard to imagine these products could be so successful without having some basis for actually working, right? The truth is hardly as advertised but not negligible either.
Waist Trainer Science
Let’s take a moment to break down what waist trainers are and how they work. Many years ago, sometime in our ancestral past, humans discovered that strapping a tight band of material around one’s waist would make one appear skinnier. An art of deception has flourished since and today’s marketplaces seem shameless about advertising these products are miracles of modern cosmetics. Bodyshapers, waist trainers, and even waist-trainer-cincher-corsets are among the conflagration of product categories filled with such clothing. There are plenty of waist trainer before and after pictures (that could easily have been created in Photoshop we might add) that portray these products are being quite effective.
In the late 18th century, medical professional Samuel Thomas von Sömmerring published a paper warning against the harmful effects of corsets. He theorized the long-term use of such products would cause irreparable skeletal deformations leading to serious health complications. During this period, corsets were common among women’s attire. They were considered a refinement of high-society and expected within formal attire. While Thomas von Sömmerring was well-educated and respected, it’s clear that his warning was based more in imagination and theoretical extrapolation rather than documented observations. He hadn’t personally observed this horrible type of event he warned against.
Modern science has found remarkable compounds able to reduce body fat with little effort. One group of researchers found that a topical cream could help reduce overall BMI. That is pretty startling considering the epidemic levels of obesity we currently face. Even these papers come with caveats, however. For example, the researchers of the topical cream to reduce fat also saw all observed participants maintain a calorie-restricted diet and regular exercise routine. Their cream apparently wouldn’t work for those sitting at their desk all day snacking on potato chips.
Other studies have shown that waist trainers can help reduce lower back pain, but not reshape one’s overall skeletal structure. The state of affairs is this: waist trainers can help create the appearance of slimmer waistlines and hourglass figures in short-term usage. That much is clear. Their ability to actually “train” the body into another shape entirely has little to no scientific basis. There also isn’t any proof that they couldn’t work in this manner either. These circumstances are those which easily give rise to misdirection and false perceptions.
What are Waist Trainers?
If you aren’t familiar with waist trainers don’t worry—most people aren’t. They’ve relatively new as far as mainstream popularity goes. They’ve been sensationalized by Instagram stars and Hollywood celebrities are miracles, though these same starlets (and stars, to be fair) don’t often make effort to ensure fans are aware of the details of their endorsement deals.
Waist trainers are another commercial avenue by which women (mostly, but men as well) are told by the media how to “fix” their bodies. As money starts pouring, trends start catching traction, and influencers start influencing. Celebrities, such as those pictured above, are paid as much as $100,000 to post a single picture of themselves using a product to their social media accounts. These pictures are seen by consumers of all ages and, while not overly-influential towards national trends singularly, as they amass it’s easy to see how they start influencing consumer sentiment and demand. After all, if 25 beautiful people told you a common secret of how they maintained their beauty it’d be easy to believe it! Today, we have online retailers that have dedicated guides to find the best waist trainer to help them achieve the “hourglass figure.” This figure, of course, is more a product of body-type and lifestyle choices than clothing (but that’s never in the headlines!)
We’re all self-conscious about how we look, at least to some degree. The more the media tells berates us with images of unattainable bodies the more we tend to feel as if we’re defective. When one of these trends begins to catch fire manufacturers and commercial interests start pouring fuel on the fire. Waist trainers, cinchers, and even corsets are among some of the best-selling beauty products today and they have little to no scientific evidence to support their claims. Retailers are happy to reap the rewards without advising their customers to be practically minded and not have sensational expectations. If you’re trying to slim down your waist then maybe you should try out a waist trainer. Just don’t think it’ll get you out of all the dieting and exercise required to look celebrity thin.