I Want Your Body

Trending Corsets during the periods of  Whale Fisheries:  Support for the weak and sexually alluring female body.

A sleeved pair of stays in pink silk. English, 1660-70. The Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Photo: V&A Picture Library

Mid 18th Century stays. Photograph by Irving Solero. Courtesy of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York.

Cooley’s Corset
Courtesy of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History

Lemen’s Hip Corset
Courtesy of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History

“Considerations sur le Corset,” La Vie Parisenne, April 19, 1879

Henri de Montaut, Les Etudes sure les Femmes. Plate II: Les Corsets, 1882. The Metropolitan Musuem of Art, The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whitteslsey Fund, 1951. (51.624.3).

American Trade Card for the Adjustable Duplex Corset: “The Secret Out at Last-Why Mrs. Brown has such a perfect figure,” c. 1882.

Trade Card, “A True story of the Madam Warren Corset,” 1880s.

A silhouette of the whaleboned body.

Henri de Montaut, Les etudes sur les Femmes. Plate XVII: Avant et apres le corset, 1882. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1951. (51.624.3)

Ads and trade cards depicted the body in a sensual manner.  This shows how whalebone caused two conflicting notions within women: empowerment and  prescribed notions of femininity.


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