“How Waist Trainers Became The Biggest Thing On Instagram”

When I ask her if she ever feels her products offer more results than they can deliver, she stays in sales mode, giving an answer I imagine her customers would want to hear when they look in the mirror: “You’ll never be Kim Kardashian. You’ll never be me. But you’ll be closer to the version of yourself that you choose.”

For The Fader, Rawiya Kameir visits the women selling and marketing waist trainers primarily through Instagram. It’s an excellent essay for a lot of reasons: the detailed reporting for one, the fascinating people Rawiya speaks to is another, but mostly I love really close readings on the how and why women treat their bodies the way they do.

Too often I find people look at trends like this and dismiss them so cavalierly: “women are doing something crazy to their bodies because of society,” or whatever. But there is always, always a reason, a purpose, a history, and a goal that motivates the origins and adoptions of any trend, and we always, always need more smart writing on the how and why of women taking control of their appearance.