Wasp Waist is an animated film about women of the late 19th century who practiced tight lacing corsets to attain an unnaturally small waist. A waist that was likened to that of wasps segmented body.
The ideal of feminine beauty was to have a tiny waist of 16 to 15 inches. Hips were enhanced with bustles and breasts with padding, heightening female sexuality. Creating ideals of sadomasochism, sexuality, frailty and even death celebrated by Victorian art, music and literature.
The practice to achieve this often started at puberty, this was called “tight lacing” to increase the tightness over time in order to achieve the desired body shape a “Finished figure” . Corsets were fitted in early childhood and worn until death.
This eventually as with most extreme body modification caused medical problems such as, cracked and deformed ribs, weakened abdominal muscles, deformed and dislocated internal organs and respiratory dysfunction. The disfigurement and displacement of the reproductive organs, increased miscarriage and maternal death.
Both seductive and imprisoned in their own cage of beauty the women are portrayed in lush environments complemented by artwork of that era. Symbolism and poetry is used to tell this story as the accomplishment of the tiny wast morphs women into wasps.
Wasp Waist ( Taille de guêpe ) a French term for this type of waist.