Just Because The Kardashians Use Waist Trainers Doesn't Mean You Should

An advertisement for a waist trainer which promises to help women get a "sexy tiny waist" has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority - the UK's self-proclaimed advertising watchdog.

The advert appeared on The Shop Channel and featured different women sporting the Velform Miniwaist waist trainer, while a presenter said: “Have you ever wondered how celebrities get those tiny little waists they flaunt on the red carpet? Introducing Velform Miniwaist, the secret to getting that sexy tiny waist, so small that you’ll be everyone’s envy."

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The narrator continued: "Think about this, what is the difference between a woman’s shape and a man’s shape? Women are supposed to look like this, and men like this." Don't even get me started... No one should be telling anyone else what someone is 'supposed' to look like, especially not a company trying to sell a product. Not to mention, gender is a social construct.

wait training advert banned from ASA called

(Photo: The Shop Channel UK)

The ASA ruled that the ad encouraged unhealthy body perceptions (halleluja), and it found that “it was irresponsible to imply that a very small waist should be aspired to and that all women should aim for that figure.” The manufacturer, Chromotion, also got a slap on the wrist for “implying that all women should aspire to a certain figure”.

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If you don't know what waist trainer is, then you've clearly never been on Instagram - and probably saved yourself from the horror that are #fitspo and #healthspo accounts. Waist trainers, a distant relative of 16th century corsets rebranded for the modern age - and abolished for a reason - and a massive waist' of time (see what I did there), have been gaining quite a lot of popularity over the past couple of years. Last year in particular was when we learned that hundreds of thousands of women are willing to rearrange their internal organs so that they can attain the hourglass figure of Jessica Rabbit. You can thanks the Kardashians for that.  

It's all smoke and (selfie) mirrors

The Kardashians are “obsessed” with them, Jessica Alba claims it helped her return to her pre-baby body, and the growing industry of waist trainers capitalises on the success of social media platforms such as Instagram.

Now there's plenty of mere mortals showing off the intestine-constrictors. A Vocativ analysis showed that tens of thousands of women posted photos of themselves wearing the devices in last year, making the abdominal chocker one of the most popular selfie accessories after face contouring.

I'm really obsessed with waist training! Thank you @premadonna87 for my new waist shapers! #whatsawaist

A photo posted by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on

500-year-old fashion doesn’t equal fitness

Real talk: there is no proof that wearing a corset-like device for hours at a time will compress your core and decrease its size permanently over time. None. Zilch. Nada. Take it from someone who wore a fibreglass scoliosis back-brace 24 hours a day, everyday for four years. If a hard shell plastic corset didn't give me Khloe Kardashian's waist, do you really think an elasticated piece of fabric will?

In fact, waist trainers do more harm than good. While waist trainer advocates claim that waist trainers are a form of exercise, the official line from the experts is that this is more marketing spiel than anything a fitness professional would recommend. Tam Fry, spokesperson for the National Obesity Forum told Dazed that while they might work for short-term cosmetic purposes, "they won’t get to the heart of the matter."

It makes me sad that we live in a celebrity obsessed society where young people follow their lead for no reason other than them being famous. People ask me what I think about "waist trainers" all the time. Here is what I think.... This is my natural body and natural waist. It is not tiny or super hourglass, but why does it need to be? It is my natural shape and size. I think it is sad that we are selling young girls these beliefs for a profit. For me to want to use a waist trainer would mean that I would need to be uncomfortable and force my natural healthy body to be something it was never meant to be! All because celebrities do it? That is not self acceptance and self love, it is conformity. It is trading my authentic self and healthy body for a ideal created by the media. These trends are harmful and distort women's ability to accept their natural bodies. Did you think you needed a waist trainer before seeing them on celebrities and blasted on social media? Probably not. So just know that you have the right to be your natural healthy self without falling victim to this kind of manipulation. Remember these girls get paid bank to sell you these products but it is time to ask yourself what do you get? #healthyisthenewskinny #notbuyingit #natural #katiehwillcox #beyou #nowaisttrainersforme #healthybodyimage #mediamanipulation #selflove #selfcare #health

A photo posted by HNS Body Image Game Changer (@katiehwillcox) on

Experts say that regularly wearing a waist trainer can actually decrease core strength, which is exactly the opposite of what you want if you’re aiming for a "sexy" stomach. They can cause discomfort, interfere with breathing, and contribute to heartburn because your stomach might get pushed up beyond the diaphragm. Still want to wear one? 

There is no physiological reason why a waist cincher would work, ask any medical professional. The trend is a perfect example of people being more worried about appearance than good health, and a classic case of capitalising on insecurities. It seems as though every time we, as a society, take a step toward body-positivity, we also take two steps back.

Read More -> This acid attack survivor model is here to remind you that beauty is a construct

By Olivia Cassano, published on 13/01/2016

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