Friday, 13 March 2015

Sex, Lies and Lovebites

As I mentioned yesterday I discovered that there had been another documentary on TV that mentioned The Corset Controversy, well I managed to find it on BBC iplayer!
Giraud Corsets advert

Sex, Lies and Lovebites: The Agony Aunt Story is not a documentary about corsets, rather a documentary that mentions corsets in passing.
As I'm sure you've guessed already from the subtitle, Sex, Lies and Lovebites is a documentary on the history of the agony aunt, starting in the 17th Century with agony uncle John Dunton of the publication Athenian Mercury, who suggested that if women were having a hard time finding a man to marry then perhaps they should try overseas!
The section that mentioned The Corset Controversy actually disappointed me a little bit, while it was a pleasant surprise to learn that The Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine was founded by Mrs Beeton (yes that's Isabella Beeton who wrote all the cookery book)'s husband I was rather disappointed by the show's presenter theorising that "Staylace" who wrote the letter about her experience of tight-lacing couldn't be a woman and must be a transvestite man.
I find this disappointing, firstly because why is it so hard to believe that a woman might have a good experience tight-lacing?
  I tight-lace and I love it, I love the way it's like a hug that lasts all day, I love that I can make my body look radically different and then take it off again when I don't feel like looking like this any more, I love how it helps me with my posture, I love how it helps me bring myself out of panic attacks quicker than if I wasn't wearing it and I am a woman.
And I found her attitude disappointing because generally I hate the way that a lot of people seem to like to perpetuate the negative stereotype that all transvestites and cross dressers must be extreme fetishists and can't possibly just like wearing women's clothing.
That aside though it was interesting to hear the excerpts of Staylace's letter (which is in the scans in the entry I posted yesterday) and pretty fascinating to hear that "The Corset Controversy" rumbled on for over two years, as opposed to online arguments these days that only tend to last a few days!
The rest of the programme was a pretty fascinating look at how times change, for example, could you imagine a modern advice column advising you someone to not tell their partner that they were pregnant but that the child wasn't theirs as happened in a wartime column or to treat their partner being covered in another person's make up as "just a bit of silliness" in order to preserve a happy marriage?
Like I said it was a pretty interesting programme and it's definitely worth a watch while it's still on iplayer (if you're not in the UK try youtube, I know a lot of BBC programming tends to end up on youtube eventually), and it didn't stray into "CORSETS WILL MURDER YOU IN YOUR SLEEP!" level weirdness, it was just a little bit disappointing that the presenter chose to believe a woman couldn't be happy in a tight-laced corset.

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