By Adam Welsch
Yesterday, when I was at the library, a funny thought occurred to me. Could classic children’s fairy tales be re-written as allegories for adults to help convey the benefits of modern shapewear? Would these be appealing to moms more accustomed to stories of little pigs and sleeping princesses than to testimonials about spandex and nylon? Since checking out my paperbacks, the seeds of fairy-tale e-books have been dancing through my head – fairy tales with a twist (or, rather, a squeeze), of course. I doubt the likes of Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm ever dreamed that their stories might be adapted for such a purpose someday.
Let’s begin by imagining a modern-day version of Cinderella. Perhaps the tale might center on a young woman who’s forced to do housework for her lazy stepsisters. When she suffers back pain from her chores, she could turn to a waist cincher for proper support, improved posture, and pain relief. Later, as she prepared to attend a local country club ball, Cinderella’s fairy godmother might conjure up an extra-firm-control bodybriefer to create the ideal silhouette for her beautiful evening gown. One can envision the jealousy and rage that might be expressed by her stepsisters as they compared the bumps and bulges revealed by their own gowns to Cinderella’s sleek, smooth outline. There’s little doubt whose shoe the hottie at that ball would pick up.
Or how about a contemporary story about a powerful, media personality who’s given seamless shapewear that provides control and shaping visible only to those who are truly enlightened? In this updated version of The Emperor’s New Clothes, this modern-day “empress” wouldn’t be able to tell whether or not the garments were working, but would pretend to think that they were for fear of appearing unenlightened. She’d encourage her followers to believe so too. The story’s key moment might occur when the “empress,” appearing in a tight-fitting gown at an annual awards show, gets called out on the red carpet by a young girl who shouts, “She must not be wearing any shapewear!”
Little Red Riding Hood’s famous third-degree encounter with the wolf could be changed to focus on the wolf’s physique instead of its face. The scene would write itself. “Grandma, what large saddlebags you have,” Red would say. “That’s because I took off my thigh slimmer,” the wolf would answer. “And Grandma, what an unsightly muffin top you have,” Red would continue. “That’s because that thigh slimmer also has a hi-waist feature. I’m just not the same without it,” the wolf would say. “And Grandma, what awful back fat you have,” Red would notice quite suspiciously. “That’s because I’m washing my torsette,” the wolf would respond before finally losing all patience and gobbling up Red Riding Hood.
Some stories have only small parts that would be well-suited to intimate-apparel adaptations. For example, a more mature Goldilocks might stroll into the intimates section of her favorite department store and remark that “light control doesn’t do enough, extra firm control’s too restrictive, but comfortable firm control’s just right.” Or, instead of seeing whether she could feel a pea under her new pillow-top mattress and box spring, a would-be princess might have her royal street cred established via her ability to identify the softest fabric used among a selection of body shaping camis. And what if the Twelve Dancing Princesses were lucky enough to get a hold of some revolutionary briefs that had silicone edges at their leg openings? They wouldn’t have to worry about VPLs or wedgies as they danced their nights away.
Of course, such a collection of stories would be incomplete without a variation of The Three Little Pigs. Instead of building different types of houses, three adult sisters could choose three different types of body shapers. The youngest of the three, preferring to spend her time watching reality TV shows instead of finding the best shapewear, might choose to wear one made with circular-knit fabrication and seamless construction that was available everywhere. She’d be extremely disappointed when told by her girlfriends that her upper and lower halves looked no better as a result. The middle sister, choosing to spend her time downloading music from the internet, would also fail to do her due diligence. She might end up with a body shaper that had a more functional, warp-knit fabrication than that of her younger sister, but had molded cups that lacked proper bust support. She’d be upset after her day of wear resulted in significant boob discomfort. The eldest sister would, of course, be the wisest and might cleverly choose a shaper made not only with warp-knit fabrication and seams that delivered great shaping results, but cut-and-sew cups that ensured exceptional comfort and support of her bust. When the two younger sisters ran to her for help, the eldest would march them to the mall and buy them the same style she had selected.
So, could a more creative, lighthearted marketing approach – using fairy-tales – help overcome the objections many women instantly have when considering shapewear? It’s possible. Storytelling has long been the most effective way to make information memorable and persuasive. Who knows, maybe someone might even be clever enough to make effective use of the tale of Cupid and Psyche ….CC Image courtesy of stevendepolo on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevendepolo/ / CC BY 2.0 CC Image courtesy of Allie_Caulfield on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/wm_archiv/ / CC BY 2.0