Exeter, Devon UK • Dec 2, 2023 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home Comment The Rise and Ramifications of Shapewear

The Rise and Ramifications of Shapewear

Gracie Moore, Online Arts and Lit editor, explores the prominence and impact of shapewear in the plight for universal body positivity.
3 mins read
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Image: Roberto Hund via Pexels

In wake of the Body Diversity and Body Neutrality ploys, attempting to get more people of all genders to accept their bodies for what they are, it is conflicting to still place such an emphasis on “slimming down the bums and tums!” in order to conform to such an outdated body standard.

The ideal body shape (notably for women) has differed greatly over the last century, but we seem to be lingering awfully long on the idea of the “hourglass” figure. The problem is that celebrities with this forced body type promote products that supposedly are the golden ticket. In reality, it takes a few thousand pounds of plastic surgery or, at the very least, money to splash on home gyms and personal trainers. The idea of shapewear directly prospers from the delusion and obsession that many women face when trying to attain this body shape.

The ideal body shape (notably for women) has differed greatly over the last century, but we seem to be lingering awfully long on the idea of the “hourglass” figure

In the summer, Insight agency Opinium polled 2,000 UK adults to understand the true impact that shapewear has on body image. It found that 44% of women are dissatisfied with the way their body looks (compared to 26% of men). Rather than providing a solution, Opinium has also found that Shapewear appears to be making the problem worse as 45% of women said that it has a negative impact on their body image and that they feel less confident with long term use. A brand that has come to the forefront with this is Kim Kardashian’s Skims, of which 85% of women who have purchased a product have said they hate the way their body looks without it. Indubitably, Shapewear comes with the pressure to look perfect rather than accepting the tiny bits and pieces of us that make us physically unique.

A brand that has come to the forefront with this is Kim Kardashian’s Skims, of which 85% of women who have purchased a product have said they hate the way their body looks without it

If “real women” are the target market for products, then these products need to also be promoting the au-naturel stance instead of perpetuating the patriarchy’s desperate attempt to keep women physically in check.

There also needs to be a call for brands to do better, stripping away the petty all-inclusive taglines and token plus sized models. Instead, celebrities and influencers need to be actively encouraging body positivity without the need for harmful products such as Shapewear. To truly move away from the obsession on the hourglass figure, it is hugely important that body altering poison should be boycotted – effective immediately.

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