The Most Extreme Female Body Modification Practices From Around The World

Published November 18, 2015
Updated August 10, 2022

Victorian Tight-Lacing

Victorian Tightlacing

Image Source: Bronteheroine

One of the most well-known female body modification tools, the corset was invented to give women a desirable hourglass figure. However, ladies who wore corsets for hours at a time were prone to fainting. The corsets constricted airflow, and the breathless women would retreat to a fainting room or a fainting couch where they could loosen their laces and recover.

Nevertheless, corsets took Victorian-era England by storm, only beginning to fade away when doctors proclaimed that corseting caused devastating health problems like liver displacement, muscle atrophy, and heart and lung damage.

Cathie Jung

Cathie Jung holds the Guinness World Record for smallest waist: 15 inches. Image Source: Cathie Jung

Those who continued to wear corsets were deemed slaves to fashion while the rest of the women ditched their corsets to join the rational dress movement, which promoted free-flowing clothing and a natural waist. Although the Victorian corset fell out of the mainstream, there is still a strong following of traditional tight-lacing and corseting techniques in modern society.

The Ideal Extreme Female Body Modification

Image Source: Mid-Century Love

However, more advanced Victorian-era reports on the effects of the corset reveal that medical concern might not have been the sole reason for doctors’ sudden protests. Some argue that the doctors simply used the sudden health concerns as propaganda to promote their own health-conscious corsets.

The Edwardian S-Bend corset was said to relieve pressure from the abdomen and promote a strong posture with a forward-tilted pelvis and upright shoulders and bust. Others believe the Edwardian corset was invented to enhance the male fetish for the corseted figure—the new S-bend corset made women walk with swaying hips.

Good Sense Corset Extreme Female Body Modification

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Ironically, the new S-bend “health” corset was later found to be worse for the spine than the traditional hourglass corset as it exacerbated an unnatural posture that made the back hollow and uncomfortably bent.

Briana Jones
Briana Jones is a freelance writer, screenwriter, and artist roaming the hot sands of the southwest. She enjoys the strange and unusual, and green tea.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
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Jones, Briana. "The Most Extreme Female Body Modification Practices From Around The World.", November 18, 2015, Accessed June 22, 2024.