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Torturing shapewear' and mixed messages in newest O issue

Jan Hearne • Apr 21, 2014 at 10:25 AM

Really, Oprah? A corset? Are you kidding me?In the May issue of O: The Oprah Magazine, “Adam’s Style Sheet” on page 56 recommends the Squeem. The copy says, “Beloved in Brazil for more than 40 years, the Squeem not only whittles the waist, flattens the tummy, and helps you stand up straighter, but its flexible boning also makes it more comfy than other corsets.”“More comfy than other corsets” — like we’ve tried them all and are happy to find something without whalebone ribbing? Did I wake up in the 19th century? Somebody come lace me up while I hang on to the bed post. I AM holding my breath. No, you’re going to have to put your foot on my derriere to get some traction.Though the page is compiled by a man, I still put the onus on Oprah because I can’t imagine anything goes in her mag without her approval.In Oprah’s back page editorial she tells us, “All the years I … was less than satisfied with my shape have yielded to a new perspective, an appreciation for the body that’s brought me this far.”Make up your mind, for gosh sake. I know I did a long time ago. As a child, I saw my mother torture herself with “shapewear” that cut off her circulation and cut into her skin. She would come home from an evening out with Dad, kick off her high heels and say, “This girdle is killing me.”At 10, I decided I would never wear anything that hurt me, and to the best of my knowledge, I haven’t. Of course, I came of age in a time when anything went and women were burning their bras, so the pressure was nil. I was also straight as a stick, so there wasn’t anything to shape. Today, I am a “fuller figured” gal, and there’s no way I’m cramming myself into something that even vaguely resembles a corset.The Squeem differs from Scarlett O’Hara’s pre-picnic undergarment in that it doesn’t lace up. So a second set of hands (and feet) are not required. Apparently the Squeem (please explain that name to me) has a hook line in the front. For me, closing this garment has all the appeal of hanging a shower curtain, finding you’ve missed a hole, and having to go back and do it again, all while sucking your stomach in as tightly as it will go.If corsets catch on, however, I’m coming out with my own line of fainting couches.Really, Oprah, I’m upset with you. Why tell us to have “praise and awe for these wonderful vessels that house our humanity” on the last page, after we’ve dealt with the Squeem 100 pages earlier?This issue, described in a tweet by the aforementioned Adam as “dedicated to How to Love the Skin You’re In — A Celebration of YOU,” contains a fair amount of copy about accepting our bodies as they are and images of women who are neither rail thin nor wearing a corset. A page on “no-diet figure fixers” is shamefully out of place.Oprah, the mixed messages you sent made me dizzy. I can only imagine how much worse it would have been if I’d been wearing a corset.Jan Hearne can be reached at jhearne@johnsoncitypress.com.

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