Victorian Secrets: What a Corset Taught Me About the Past, the Present, and Myself
When Sarah Chrisman’s husband gave her a corset for her 29th birthday, she was completely taken aback. It was a present she never wanted; she had previously made it very clear that the one thing she wouldn’t tolerate was wearing a corset. She agreed to try it on, with the expectation that she would never use it again. However, what Chrisman discovered was astonishing: rather than being a tool of oppression, her new corset actually made her feel more liberated.
Using cold, hard facts (and illustrations), her book debunks many of the myths surrounding corsets and their wearers, and gives the reader a wonderfully detailed account of what Victorian era life was really like. In a world where everything now skews toward political correctness, Chrisman brings forth her own, distinct, opinionated view that I couldn’t help but admire. Her writing style is also a pleasure to read, as she obviously takes great pride in herself and all of her crafts. My only qualm is that occasionally, she criticizes people too much, which can make her sound petty. Despite this, Victorian Secrets is a book I didn’t want to put down, and the author’s messages – to do your own research, rather than blindly perpetuating falsehoods, and to accept true diversity, not just what is popular – are ideas we can all take to heart.
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