What a Corset Taught Me about the Past, the Present, and Myself
On Sale: November 1, 2013
Hardcover / e-Book
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A true story about discovering positive selfhood,
from a woman who moved beyond stereotypes to explore the
world of corsetry firsthand.
On Sarah A. Chrisman’s twenty-ninth birthday, her husband,
Gabriel, presented her with a corset. The material and the
design were breathtakingly beautiful, but her mind
immediately filled with unwelcome views. Although she had
been in love with the Victorian era all her life, she had
specifically asked her husband not to buy her a corset—ever.
She’d heard how corsets affected the female body and what
they represented, and she wanted none of it.
Chrisman agreed to try on the garment . . . and found it
surprisingly enjoyable. The corset, she realized, was a tool
of empowerment—not oppression. After a year of wearing a
corset on a daily basis, her waist had gone from thirty-two
inches to twenty-two inches, she was experiencing fewer
migraines, and her posture improved. She had successfully
transformed her body, her dress, and her lifestyle into that
of a Victorian woman—and everyone was asking about
In Victorian Secrets, Chrisman explains
how a garment from the past led to a change in not only the
way she viewed herself, but also the ways she understood the
major differences between the cultures of
twenty-first-century and nineteenth-century America. The
desire to delve further into the Victorian lifestyle
provided Chrisman with new insight into issues of body image
and how women, past and present, have seen and continue to
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