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Fashion Fetishism: Corsets, Tight-Lacing and Other Forms of Body-Sculpture by David Kunzle
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Fashion and Fetishism: Corsets, Tight-Lacing & Other Forms of Body-Sculpture
Curtin University. Flinders University. Griffith University. La Trobe University. Monash University. Powerhouse Museum. Welcome sign in sign up. David Kunzle has chosen an awkward moment to write seriously and in detail about corsets and tight-lacing.
Mention of it most often seems to conjure a vision of idle, neurasthenic ladies fainting on sofas and prevented by their stays from doing useful work or having serious thoughts. To make such a claim convincing, Kunzle has had to proceed with care into disputed territory to establish historical connections among the realms of fashion, politics, sex, medicine, and morality without sounding cranky or fatuous.
To see a tightly constricted body as an image of freedom takes not only imagination but historical tact and a fine anthropological detachment, and Kunzle displays all three. Painful compression is glaringly absent from current female torsos, although standard erotic taste still runs to high narrow heels, long red nails, and multiple holes in the ears. Puritanical Americans still love the pleasures of self-punishment, although now the luxury of severe bodily discipline usually takes the form of stringent exercise and curtailment of food and drink, not the systematic application of tight corsets and starched collars.