This morning, I stumbled across Kelly Lee Dekay, a woman in the news who describes herself as a “designer, model, domina and feminist.” I was aghast by what I saw initially. This is Dekay as Jessica Rabbit:
This is DeKay as Wonder Woman:
You might be wondering how a Ms. Dekay managed to arrive at those proportions. Here’s what she looks like without a costume:
She did it through seven years of tight-lacing. That is: Crushing her ribs with a steel corset until she looked like that.
I admit that the image upset me at first, and because I work on the Internet, my instinct was some level of knee-jerk outrage. Then I read this (click to embiggen if necessary):
It took me a minute to arrive at a place in which I was OK with it, because I want to project my opinions onto other people. But that’s not OK. Whatever has driven Ms. Dekay to do this to herself also apparently makes her very happy. It upset me initially because my instant reaction is to assume that society has in some way driven Dekay to do this to herself in order to fit some arbitrary definition of beauty, but in reality, this is simply what she wants to look like. Some people get full body tattoos; some people punish themselves by running marathons; and some people punish themselves by tight-lacing.
That’s her thing, and you know what? She has an amazingly positive attitude about it:
My tight-lacing has little to do with vanity. It’s a love letter to the couture that inspired Me. When you judge someone, you don’t define them. You define yourself. Your words are a reflection on how you feel about yourself. Calling someone ugly doesn’t make you any more handsome/prettier. So I don’t take any negativity personal. What you think of me is none of my business.
I’m here for the misfits, the rebels, weirdos, geeks, nerds, anyone & everyone who celebrates individuality. #EmbraceDifferences #BeLoveAlways
Do your thing, Ms. Dekay. You get no judgement from me.
On the flip side, however: It can potentially lead to internal damage, and I hope she understands the risks. The world would hate to lose that much positivity to a practice that could lead to medical problems.