Punch,  57 (1869), 113.

The Elasticity of Young Ladies





Health, Disease, Gender, Physiology, Anatomy, Controversy

    Discusses the topical question of whether tight-lacing is injurious to health. Insists that it is not so for women, arguing that woman is made 'more wonderfully and more fearfully' than man and that while she is 'always ailing', her ailments are caused by 'over-exertion and other varieties of self-sacrifice'. Believes that tight-lacing would be 'uncomfortable' for men, because they breathe 'partly from the pectoral muscles which expand the ribs' and would be constrained by tight-lacing. Adds that tight-laced men would suffer a variety of abdominal complaints caused by pressure on his organs. Compares this situation with that of women. Explains that women breath independently of their pectoral muscles and have a more 'plastic organisation', both of which enable them to withstand tight-lacing. Concludes by warning of the dangers (some fatal) of overly tight women's garments, but points out that 'lacing has evidently no consequences which prevent women from wearing stays as tight as they think pretty'.

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