|This drawing - which is really more of a caricature - is not helping.|
Think about it: nowadays, some people are very fashion conscious and body conscious; they make their thighs and belly smaller through plastic surgery; they buy expensive designer bras to push their breasts into unnatural positions - but this is not the norm. Most people just want to look nice and feel comfortable.
|Scarlett O'Hara may have been upset that she couldn't get her waist back down to 18 1/2 inches, but I don't think Melanie would have been bothered by that!|
It seems that in all this anti-corsetism, people have forgotten that the bra has only been around for about 100 years. Before the bra, the corset was pretty much the only support garment available (unless you go all the way back to the Gothic Fitted Dress). For women with larger cup sizes it can be uncomfortable to go with any support, especially during menstruation, pregnancy, and nursing, and wearing a corset is preferable to wearing no support garment at all.
Of course a corset is uncomfortable at first, so is wearing a bra for the first time or walking around in a new pair of shoes. I wore my 1880's corset all day at Costume College and felt fine, and the historical interpreters in Colonial Williamsburg that I have talked to - who lace themselves up everyday - are able to work a loom and sheer sheep without a hitch (in fact, the sheep-shearing lady said that she needed a corset to protect her torso from errant ovine kicks!)
Women have fought for their right to vote and run countries, without constantly fainting and calling for their smelling salts, all while wearing corsets.