The Danger of Tight-Laced Corsets

In the graveyard of Kirkconnel Church (located in Springkell, Scotland) one can find a headstone that, according to legend, shows a woman who died because she laced her corset too tightly. The headstone also shows a man on horseback. He's supposedly going to fetch a doctor for her, though he was too late. Below is a 1907 engraving of the headstone as well as a more recent photo of it that I found on Flickr (Captain Keef Kremmen's photostream).

Whether or not the headstone story is true, tight lacing was definitely a fashion hazard that people worried about back in the nineteenth century, as seen in this cautionary illustration from The Family Magazine, 1835:

     Posted By: Alex - Sun Dec 09, 2012
     Category: Fashion | Nineteenth Century

There have been some news stories (documentaries) on the "beauty" regime recently. It doesn't make any more sense to me than extreme body piercing. And while I like a bit of hip on a lady (I'll even go for a little muffin topping:) there is a limit.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 12/09/12 at 11:34 AM
We used to look through the National Geographic in the school library. Yes for the boobies, but also for the body mutilations people did to themselves. (or had done to them )
I wish I could find the article I read a few weeks ago about a man wanting a divorce because they just had an ugly baby. He found out his wife had had plastic surgery to change her from plain to gorgeous. Maybe he doesn't own a mirror?
Posted by BMN on 12/09/12 at 12:30 PM
I read once about a nineteenth-century "Finishing" school for girls, where one of the requirements for graduation was to have a 13-inch waist. Women naturally have waists that are significantly thinner than their hips, and also their busts; but that kind of corsetry was taking it to an extreme. A waist is a terrible thing to mind.

Also, women are naturally more high-waisted than men, the height of the waist being about 2/3 (66.7%) the total height, versus about 3/5 (60%) for men. High-heel shoes and platform shoes accentuate this. However, high-heel shoes also cause bunions.
Posted by Josh Levin on 12/09/12 at 02:28 PM
Women are always expected to suffer for beauty sake, its bs. As for me I figure hubby loves me so that is good enough.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 12/09/12 at 07:46 PM
You got it Patty. Things don't change. Corsets were the 19th century equivalent to other modern hazards like Botox. I'm happy with the way my wife looks now and it would be a turn-off if she resorted to surgery or other torment to "improve" her appearance.

Besides, she puts up with the way I look, and I'm not about to try to change that.
Posted by Harvey on 12/09/12 at 10:29 PM
When she topped my list

This got her bumped off! (Image from Lay the Favorite)
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 12/09/12 at 11:51 PM
Tight corsets were often the cause of the fainting spells attributed to ladies' delicate sensibilities. They also caused malformations of internal organs and prolapsed (falling out) uteri, which contributed to high miscarriage rates as some women wore their corsets even while pregnant.
Posted by ScoutC on 12/10/12 at 06:04 PM
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