Waist training is one of those contentious issues which always get people talking. Some people adore a tiny waist, some people abhor them and others are simply fascinated by this kind of body modification.
Either way it’s a theme very much relevant to most vintage enthusiasts. The most popular post on We Heart Vintage for the last year is about 1950s models and how they used waist training to get their extreme hourglass figures so I thought you would be interested to hear from a modern girl who does the same. And before you dismiss this as a niche or fetish thing don’t forget that 50s supermodel Dovima had a 19″ waist (as did Brigitte Bardot at one point), so it’s not too different!
Whichever camp you fall into you have to admire the commitment and confidence of people who alter their bodies to such an extent. I’ve been talking with Michele Köbke, who at aged 24, has shrunk her waist from her natural 25″ to an astonishing 16″ waist after just 3 years of wearing corsets.
I took the opportunity of asking her some questions I’d been wondering about the whole waist training process*:
What inspired you to start reducing your waist size?
I find both the corseted figure and the corset itself simply divine. I love the way the corset hugs me and I’m also a corset fetishist!
Was mich inspriert ist, dass ich einfach abgöttlich die Figur schön finde sowie das korsett an sich und es gibt mir die ganze zeit umarmung und zu dem bin ich auch korsettfetishist
Are your corsets specially made?
Is waist reduction painful?
*I’ve translated her answers using my school-girl German so I hope I’ve done a good job. I’ve put the original German text in there too just in case!
If you would like to find out more about Michele you can find her on YouTube.
Other articles which you might find interesting:
- How did 1950s models get such tiny waists: the low down on waist training
- Waist training a visual history of corsetry
- What size WAS Marilyn Monroe (and other Hollywood movie stars)
- 1950s supermodels and their measurements
- Queen of the tiny waist: Betty Brosmer
- 50s pinup Betty Brosmer and Nerina Orton (and the trend for tiny waists)
What’s interesting about world cultures is that beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. Historically, many Chinese women’s feet were actually broken to prevent growth (‘tiny feet”). This common practice was called “feet binding”. In Chinese culture, bind feet were viewed as a sign of beauty and confinement to the house. In islands of the Pacific we have the Ainu, Taiwan aboriginal and Maori cultures of “tattooing around the mouth” or under the bottom lip. If you look at any vintage photo of an Ainu, Taiwan Aboriginal or Maori woman you’ll know what I’m talking about. However, the tattooing around the mouth or under the bottom lip was considered a sign of female beauty. In Africa, you’ll see the lip plate of some East African women (esp. the Mursi women) , neck ring of some South African women, elongated head of some Central African women and the natural-protruding buttocks of the San women of southern Africa. All of these represent African female beauty. In Western cultures (among white women), you’ll see the narrow waist (very popular in the 1950s), skin tanning, big “boobs” (mainly from silicone/plastic surgery), voluptuous lips (mainly from the botox lip injection) and the famous Brazilian butt (mainly from butt injections or silicone). All of these represent natural and unnatural western beauty. In this material world, variety is key!