Why I stopped wearing Spanx and started going with my gut

This summer my cousin got married on top of a mountain in Tennessee. In preparation, I re-learned Ave Maria (several steps lower than the original key) and bought a brand new pair of Spanx. In addition to playing wedding singer for the evening I was also co-Maid of Honoring with my younger sister who was fresh off the plane from the Peace Corps, so I was really feeling the pressure.

I had to sound good and attempt to look on point—at least right up until the last, wide shot wedding photos were taken. I begrudgingly drove my fabulous size six behind to Nordstrom’s to find the perfect pair of control top undies to further strap myself into the beaded, body-hugging bridesmaids dresses we’d be wearing throughout the nuptials. I would’ve preferred a tux with tails, to be honest.

I was already feeling anxious—buying undergarments of any variety makes me anxious. I usually expedite the process by choosing the one-size-fits-all lace undies that sit like sad eyed puppies in those large 5 for $20 bins. In my dressing room, hands full of ivory colored spandex that was tanner than my actual skin, I began the painful process of pulling and tugging, and full on Lil Wayne groping myself to see which material sucked harder.

I quickly ruled out the pair that made me feel like I was trapped inside of a human condom, (I strayed from the traditional half body suit that extends from navel to upper knee), and purchased a Spanx thong. A thong. A strip of overpriced spandex that was supposed to instantly Giselle me—right. At the time I felt I was being rebellious—buying the least amount of fabric that I possibly could. But really I wanted nothing to do with the torture chamber cling of commercialized butt floss. Needless to say, the thong never saw the light of day and I feel that I was swindled of my $25.99. I went commando and that was that.

Today, as I scroll through the endless sea of Facebook wedding albums full of unfortunate bridesmaid dresses I ask myself, “why do women do this?” Why do we willingly submit ourselves to the body bandage? Women have been doing it since the beginning of time—and still are. When I Google the word “corsets” there is no history lesson waiting there for me. Instead, “shop sexy corsets” and “cheap bustiers” from Frederick’s of Hollywood pop up in a long vertical line down my screen.

Khloe Kardashian’s social media endorsement of waist training is trending at an unconscionably high rate. The current resurgence of corsets is throwback to times when women would wear garments so restrictive that they could damage your internal organs, make you short of breath, encourage acid reflux, and even breaks ribs. But continue to gamble with their overall health to obtain surface level gains. This isn’t a screed against you if you want to wear Spanx or a corset or a full-body Spandex cocoon—everyone is allowed to wear what they want, and that includes body-shapers. But I decided that I’m done with Spanx. I’m sick and tired of women’s bodies being made small.

I say we let our bellies and curves run free. We’ll not only save money refusing to buy things you don’t need, to impress people you don’t like—or who prescribe to the singular, capitalist driven image of beauty—you’ll also be proclaiming to yourself and to the world that you like your body, just as it is; that you like yourself just as you are. Burn the spandex. Cut the corset loose. Your waist is fine, I promise. No one needs to look like a Kardashian to be worth something. You are worth something in whatever shape you are, naturally.

[Image via Universal Pictures]

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