Enhancing History: Changing Beauty Ideals

It’s no secret: We LOVE shapewear. As a company, as individuals, as women of all shapes and sizes, here at Hourglass Angel, from bustiers to booty enhancers, we adore it all! And we’re not alone, shapewear is an exploding trend in women’s apparel. But, naturally, with any rise in popularity, there must be a counterpoint. Some media outlets have called Octavia Spencer’s triple Spanx silhouette at the SAG Awards “extreme.” Others have questioned Molly Sims using special maternity shapewear. While critics may not share our enthusiasm for shaping and sculpting the bodies we live in, we thought we might provide a little perspective on the history of body modification and compare our passion for shapers to other enhancement techniques women have used.

Consider, for example, the bound 4-inch “lotus foot,” idealized as the ultimate indicator of femininity in ancient China. This practice, which often crippled women, continued well into the 20th century, long enough that thousands of photographs exist of it. The binding process not only injured women with bound feet, it also hindered them from participating fully in social, political and educational life, making them second class citizens. Then, in the 16th and 17th centuries, the poison, belladonna was commonly used to dilate the eyes of women, creating a doe-like appearance, while often eventually leading to blindness. And, if you can believe it, Elizabethan women often slathered on lead-based makeup, which had a range of dangerous physical effects. And today, even with a battery of precautions, even the most commonplace cosmetic surgeries carry dozens of risks. When you put it all in perspective, it sort of makes you love shapewear even more, doesn’t it?

Put simply, the desire to decorate, reshape and enhance the body is something that comes natural to humans. It’s a part of who we are. Just as we paint the walls of our homes and hang art on our walls, we celebrate, shape and sculpt the works of art that we live in. We love women and the huge numbers of shapes and sizes that they come in. We love the bodies that we have at this very moment. We believe that participating in beauty is a right for women of every size and age. We also believe that there are many kinds of beauty and we support women as they explore their own vision of it. There’s a difference between “fixing” a body and enhancing it. And of the thousands of ways that people have enhanced their appearances over the years, shapewear is not only one of the most flattering, it’s also one of the easiest and safest and that’s why we love it.

Posted in Health, Inspiring Stories, Press, Supporting our Community

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