Monday, March 23, 2015

Shoes: Modern Day Corsetry?

This past week we discussed, at length, the concept of corsetry in the past as well as in current everyday life. Before this class, my exposure to corsetry was mainly the "training corsets" that you could see individuals such as the Kardashians wearing while they worked out. I had never really been exposed to corsets and their aesthetic appeal until completing the class readings and watching several different videos on corsetry. Corsets, historically, were used to give women a specific shape (similarly to how they are used today) under layers and layers of clothing. The nicer they were, the more expensive they became. Although incredibly uncomfortable and sometimes unsafe, they were perceived as an attractive asset to a woman's body. They accentuated a woman's waist and often pushed up and created a uniform look to her chest (which was and still is highly appealing to males). The picture below depicts the potential shift of a woman's internal organs when wearing a corset for a long duration of time to develop her body into the "most desirable" shape for the time period.

Looking at this, many would be shocked. But, honestly, we as a society have the same strange ideals and concepts of what is socially accepted appearance wise today. They are just as costly and modifying to our bodies as those found during the period of time when corsetry was prevalent. One trend that I am perplexed and amazed by is the obsession with shoes. I, like many women, love high heels. I know they are uncomfortable and that they could damage my feet, but I wear them anyway. Similar to corsets, they are seen as accentuating the body. It is observed that wearing high heels makes a woman's legs look longer, her butt look better, and her chest stick out slightly more simply due to her posture. Wearing heels makes me feel confident, just as I am sure that corsets provided the same confidence to women in the past (and still today). Not only are heels often uncomfortable or sometimes harmful, they are also often expensive. The Louis Vuitton shoes pictured below are $1,710.00, a price that I find completely outrageous for a pair of shoes.

Not only are women's shoes expensive, but so are many of the shoes made for men today. Like corsets, these shoes add a personal value to the individual who possesses them. They are not only fashion forward and appealing, but well enough off to afford irrationally priced attire. Overall, it is clear to me that the current obsession with shoes in today's society is easily comparable to the obsession with corsets throughout history (and even currently). They are both rooted in the consistent desire and hope for unattainable beauty. This trend, although complicated and irrational will continue on as long as people are consumed with appearance and the value that is placed on beauty in our society. 

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