The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

Deep breath, arms in

Posted by Cate on November 21, 2008

In case you haven’t got enough body image problems, here’s one from the world of the ridiculous…

Do you have upper arms? Yes, me too. Apparently we need help. According to the information I have before me:

For decades, women have hidden this trouble spot under baggy blouses and oversized blazers, cringing at the thought of clingy tops or, GASP, sleeveless tanks. Well, now you can bid farewell to dowdy sweatshirts and kiss your husband’s old polos goodbye!

Our saviours in America, Jax & Jewels Inc. are proud to present FLABuLESS, the first-ever arm shapewear for real women! Yes you read right, the product is called Flabuless! Here’s some pictures:



Funnily enough, the before and afters don’t look all that much different to me. girl1_2

I’m not sure how they’d go with a strappy summer dress, but the idea of a compression garment for arms is kinda hideous. Compression garments (aka foundation garments) contain mega strong elastic (and perhaps other materials of a magic capcity) to effectively contain and reshape bits of flesh that you’d like flatter and smaller. Apparently they were a huge hit in the recent Spring Racing Festival under slinky dresses where you don’t want to show lines. This is one thing, but when they are used to reshape your body altogether so you fit into smaller clothes, there’s something about it that’s a little sinister.

I got third degree burns on my right arm and hand quite a few years ago. I ended up having to wear a compression garment to help with scarring. Those things are thick, hot and uncomfortable. They also restrict your mobility.

There’s something about the idea that women’s body are unruly if they are curvy and need to be ‘held in’ and ‘contained’ (perhaps as some kind of punishment for not fitting the idea of the body beautiful?) that I find disturbing. Why are curves and flesh so bad to many fashion trends? What if ‘race wearing’ garments (and the like) oh I don’t know, came in a variety of cuts and sizes for different shapes? What if designers started making women’s shirts and dresses to accomodate different upper arm sizes. Seriously, can you imagine a guy wearing arm compressions?


2 Responses to “Deep breath, arms in”

  1. Mel Campbell said

    This is just bizarre. The entire point of shapewear is that it’s hidden under your clothes and is meant to be unnoticeable. I could come at this idea in winter, but seriously, does anyone think they’d look better basically wearing wetsuits under their summer frocks?

    Re: the ‘containment’ idea, it’s interesting how feminists really fought against foundation garments as oppressive tools (and the ‘bra burning’ stereotype has stuck to this day), yet they’re back again now.

  2. zooeyibz said

    I remember very distinctly reading a column about getting rid of ‘bingo wings’ in Cosmo (or somesuch) when I was 13 or so. Until that sainted moment it had never occurred to me to worry about my arms. But I have ever since. Bastards.

    Incidentally, that ‘before and after’ model needs an arm girdle like Kate Moss needs a crash diet.

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