I have recently discovered a fabulous YouTube channel: Weird History. The hundreds of uploaded videos cover a vast array of historical topics, places, events, and people. Most of the videos are relatively short but still manage to do a great job of covering the facts. I particularly love the brief explanation of the channel’s purpose on the “about” section:
Welcome to the chronicles of history that your social studies class never covered in high school. This is for the extreme, the unexpected, the untold and the flat-out weird parts of history. Because as weird as people seem today, we don’t hold a candle to history.
I’ll share my favorite Weird History videos from time to time, but encourage popping over to YouTube and checking out what they have to offer for the freaky historical buff.
Today I chose this one on the history of corsets. At just under 11 minutes, it is far from comprehensive, and the topic of corsets (or stays, as the English preferred) is rife with controversy and differing opinions, even amongst serious scholars. Nevertheless, the tone of Weird History videos are always fun while being informative.
“Corsets became popular in the 16th century allegedly because Catherine de’ Medici, wife of French King Henry II, banned women with thick waists from attending court. She was a tyrannical monarch, but the Italian-born woman created beauty standards that held up exceptionally well. Corsets remained incredibly common during the Renaissance, up until the 20th century. Certain historians, however, suggested the restrictive undergarments contributed to the patriarchal system of female oppression.”