By Angelica Bottaro

The Kardashian family has become quite the household name, thanks to their varying levels of success and their bought-and-paid-for beauty. They each bring something unique to the table, and fans can’t seem to get enough of them both on and off the screen of their reality show.

Some of their contributions to the world can be seen as good deeds, such as Kim’s work on prison reform and Kris and Kylie’s project to donate hand sanitiser to hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Whether you love them or hate them (and I’m not a fan myself), there’s something to be said about a business mogul family that recognises their influence on the world.

The biggest issue I have with them is that sometimes they use that influence to do things I find horrible. From their overuse of plastic surgery that gives young girls impossible beauty standards to follow, to Kim’s very public and explicit beginning in the public eye, their fame and authority is arguably undeserved—especially when it comes to Kim Kardashian’s newest venture, pregnancy shapewear.

What Is Shapewear And Is There A Science To It?

Shapewear has been around for centuries. According to an article in Bustle, it first came onto the scene thousands of years ago in the form of a corset that would squish the waist while acting like a push-up bra of sorts. Anyone who’s ever worn any type of corset knows just how uncomfortable that must have been. That type of shapewear also had severe adverse effects on women’s health. 

One researcher claimed that wearing one could lead to tuberculosis, cancer, and severe damage to the spine. Research has also shown that the tight lacing on the undergarment can damage organs, and cause Sömmerring’s syndrome (hiatal hernias), a potentially serious health condition.

Thankfully, today’s attire to slim our bodies isn’t nearly as dangerous as its predecessor. But, that doesn’t mean that there’s no health risk at all. Maternity shapewear is touted as being a helpful tool in the battle against pain, yet, still, it could be doing more harm than good too. 

Doctor and author Sherry A. Ross noted that it can actually be terrible for you if worn too long or too tightly. She stated that drawbacks include unnecessary pressure being put on the body, reduced blood circulation, and an increase in pain and yeast infections. It was also found that maternity shapewear could negatively affect bowel function. Yikes!

Is There Any Good News?

There has only been a small amount of research into maternity shapewear, but some have concluded that it could lead to a reduction in back pain and an increase in stability, mobility, and balance in pregnant women.  

One such study found that, although effective in helping mothers-to-be deal with the inevitable pain that comes from creating a person from scratch, the safety risks were not well enough known to determine whether or not they were safe additions to an individual’s pregnancy wardrobe.  

The Ethical Problem With Maternity Shapewear

Even if we were to take all the science and research and throw it out the window, there are ethical implications from marketing shapewear to soon-to-be-mothers. Women already have it rough out there when it comes to meeting or exceeding new standards of unrealistic (hello, photoshop!) beauty standards. And, I can’t think of anything worse than Kim using her perfectly constructed face and body telling the masses that they need to look better, especially during one of the most formative and personal times in their lives.

The new maternity line for her undergarment apparel, aptly named SKIMS, has been making waves in the media for its controversial introduction to the new-mom market. Pregnancy is a beautiful thing, and if there’s one time a woman shouldn’t have to worry about looking ‘toned’ or ‘tight’, it’s when she’s creating a literal human being inside her!

It’s All About Choice

Personally, I think the idea of squeezing into shapewear at pique pregnancy would be the most uncomfortable thing in the world, but it’s more of a to-each-their-own kind of thing. Studies in the past have shown that some shapewear, depending on its tightness and compression level, can do irreversible damage to the body.

I also find the simple act of telling pregnant women they need to shell out hundreds of dollars for something to wear over their life-creating bellies just to help them “look better”, is a horrendous act of woman-on-woman terrorism.

When you’re with child, you should be comfortable and carefree. Pulling on shapewear is excruciating enough for us non-pregnant women. Let’s just throw the whole trend away, shall we?