The ideal of what a perfect body should look like has changed dramatically over time, and varies by culture. This is why many women and even some men are embracing the use of stomach girdle.
Corset, also known as girdle, is a popular fashion item of the 1800s, but the most accurate description of the modern corset is a tool that pulls in the waist, giving the wearer’s trunk an hourglass shape, much like a bra supports and gives shape to the bust.
Wearing girdle can help the body positively or negatively, according to research. Some schools of thought say it can help to reduce tummy fat, but not all ordinary girdles, while another study stated that instead of helping to reduce tummy fats, the corset may make your body parts appear flabbier instead. This is because it will cause the muscles on the tummy area to be totally reliant on it for support and gradually lose their strength and tone due to reduced use.
In today’s fashion world, corsets are growing in popularity as women discover just how useful it can be for creating curves.
Ike Onyekachi who sells ladies underwear in Utako market, Abuja, says he sells at least five stomach girdles in a week.
“Ladies come to patronise me more. Many come to me based on referrals from friends that have patronized me. Many ladies are now embracing it because it gives them the instant figure they need to look smart both in the work places and in social gatherings,” he said.
Biola Adebiyi, who also deals in ladies underwear, says more and more ladies are now patronising it because it helps them shape bulge and make them look more feminine.
“Because many ladies are now embracing it, it is now becoming very expensive. The very good ones are sold for N5000 and above and we encourage the ladies to wear them for at least 8 hours a day for six months before they change to a new one,” he said.
But is it healthy for one to wear such tight fitted material for many hours as recommended by traders? Maimuna Aliyu, a postgraduate student of University of Abuja, told Homefront that she wears the corset to get an hourglass figure, adding that it makes her look and feel confident.
“I wear it to give me that figure ‘8’. I don’t like a situation that my tommy will be bulging out when I wear clothes. It makes me conscious of what I do and I feel people’s eyes are on me too,” she said.
Kabirat Tijjani also added that she wears it based on medical advice. “I wear it for my back and posture support,” she said.
But a nurse at University of Abuja, Jummai Sanusi, said wearing a corset is not dangerous as long as the wearer abides by the wearing practice.
She said because body types differ, the wearer must always buy a corset that fits her body type.
Sanusi said, if wearing the girdle causes pain then it is “definitely dangerous” for the wearer because it may be affecting other vital organs in the body. “But when worn correctly, corsets are completely safe and can be helpful in controlling back pain and correcting posture.
“I have talked to women who wear girdles for back support after injuries and I know many who wear one for good posture while sitting for long periods at work,” she said.
The nurse also emphasised that not all ordinary girdles can help to reduce tummy fat, adding that they are designed for specific body types and purposes.
She also said those that are designed to reduce tummy bulge do so by redistributing the fats to the right places of the body.
“In the long run, the body will take on the shape of the girdle, giving you a curvy figure. Beside, studies have also shown that wearing a girdle makes it difficult for the stomach to expand as it pushes against the tummy area. Hence, it reduces your appetite and prevents you from overeating. This in the long run, will make you take in fewer calories and indirectly bring about weight loss,” she added.
But Dr Edward Laskowski, a co-director of Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center, USA said, although you may appear thinner when you wear a girdle, the girdle doesn’t strengthen or tone your abdominal muscles, adding that girdles just temporarily compress and redistribute fat and skin around the abdomen.
“When it comes to a flat stomach, diet and exercise, not undergarments are what count. Dietary changes and aerobic exercise can help you shed unwanted pounds, including those around your middle. Although it takes aerobic activity to burn fat, core exercises can strengthen and tone the underlying muscles.”