13:03 PM

A Conversation: The Re(Shaping) of American Women


By Sheryl E. Taylor

If you Google “women’s relationship to their bodies,” the search results in 5,380,000,000 billion (in a mere 0.68 seconds).

The reshaping of women’s bodies through shapewear, from corseting to Spanx®, remains a hot topic of conservation … think Kim Kardashian, Lizzo, and the like.

Recently, Dope Labs interviewed Dr. Wendy Burns-Ardolino, Dean of the College of Humanities & Social Sciences, for its Spotify podcast “Jiggly: Shapewear Then and Now—Lab 080.” 

Fifteen years ago, Burns-Ardolino wrote her first book, “Jiggle: (Re)Shaping American Women” (Lexington Books, 2007), “predicated on my dissertation research, which focused on women’s relationship to their bodies as mediated by social conventions—in this case,BurnsArdolino shapewear,” she noted.

Per the Dope Labs site, the episode took a look at how “Lizzo has Yitty, Kim has SKIMS, and even our favorite influencers are doing ads for waist trainers on Instagram. Shapewear is in. These aren’t your great-great-granny’s corsets … things have changed. Learn about the history of shapewear and how the trends are impacting societal beauty standards.”

While the podcast focused on today’s perspectives about idealized female bodies and shapewear, Ardolino-Burns noted that the podcasters also saw the “necessity in retracing historically how this reshaping phenomenon through shapewear provides a clearer understanding of how women’s bodies continue to be shaped and reshaped by our cultural beauty standards,” she said.


About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.

U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.