Are you sending your daughter the wrong message about body image by using a waist trainer

In case you aren’t already waist training, it’s important to take a look at its history to understand what it is, where it comes from, and whether it sends a negative message about body image.

Popular in Europe for centuries, the corset was a steel-boned device laced around a woman’s waist and bust to slowly alter and enhance her hourglass shape. The immediate effect was easily apparent—as soon as a young lady started waist training (aka wearing a corset), her waist was whittled down and her dresses were fit to match.

Corsets alter the very bone structure of the person wearing it over time. Studies of the cadavers of women classically corset trained in this era showed major damage to internal organs, as well, due to the pressure shifting their abdominal structure. This was all thanks to these steel-boned waist training devices.

Today’s “waist taming

Looking at the deformed skeleton of a waist-trained woman is enough to turn you off. However, with the continued fascination around the perfect hour-glass figure, other waist training practices have cropped up over time. Nowadays, waist training is definitely safer, and has become revitalized by celebrities like Amber Rose and the whole Kardashian family as an easy way to enhance your figure.

Contemporary waist training is typically done with a latex waist cincher used during workouts, per the Kardashian model of the practice. Many magazines playfully call it “waist taming.” It’s only worn for short periods, and over a few months is said to make a dramatic difference in your waist size.

So, what does everyone say about this new practice? Leading physicians will warn you that these devices in no way help you lose weight or tighten your waist—unless you think about the very real inability to eat well with your stomach highly constricted in the device. But outside of that, waist trainers just squish your fat elsewhere. And even these new, “breathable and safe” devices can still reshape your ribs and cause internal organ trouble if you’re not careful.

Physicians also remind you that wearing these over the course of a workout just means you’re not going to get your best workout in, either. You need full mobility at the gym, not to mention the ability to breathe. If you practice any of this newly-in-vogue waist taming, you are only being self-masochistic, say these doctors.

Owning the choices you make

Whether you want to believe the Kardashians or your doctor, the decision to waist train or not is yours. We all have our beefs with our bodies, and maybe you only wear your waist cincher under certain outfits, or in the bedroom. Nevertheless, whether you choose to waist train could affect your daughter and her understanding of body image. As much as it’s your body, you are the number one female role model for your daughter.

Do you skip waist training entirely to send a positive message? Or do you make the choice for yourself, and talk to your daughter candidly about it?

Skip it:

It’s hard enough in today’s society to maintain a positive body image, even more so for our children who practically breath ads and social media. We can’t escape it. So, what’s one thing you can control to send the right message to your daughter? Choosing never, ever to waist train. If you can show your daughter what it’s like to be a confident woman, the payoff is much better than the progress you could have made on your waistline. You might want to think of her first.

Talk to her:

No matter how hard you try, it’s almost certain your daughter will have her own bout of body-consciousness in life. By choosing to waist train for your own sake, but talking openly to your daughter about why you chose to, and the risks you weighed, you can teach another important lesson. Talk about your experience with body image, and explain why you chose to make your decision without losing sight of the gravity of risky cause and effect. Let her know that you never want her to feel pressured to make this kind of decision. Tell her that, if you could, you would rewind to when you were her age just to start off with a better body image from the start.

Steel-boned corsets might now be antique, but contemporary waist trainers are essentially the same thing. Think about body shapers you use, too, and try to be more sensitive to what behaviors of yours could affect your daughter’s own body image. You’re the role model for your daughter on what it is to be a woman, so be conscious of that. Send only the messages you really want to, and try to convey the lessons you’ve learned in your own journey with body image. As her mom, it’s what you do that makes the biggest impression, more than any magazine!