Spanx Are Suddenly the New Training Bras for Teen Girls (VIDEO)

Health Check 5

teens spanxMen don't understand Spanx. My fiance is no exception. He remarked recently that he doesn't get why it's one of the hottest inventions of our time, because the concept of a girdle has been around forever. That's when I had to explain to him, of course, that yes, for centuries, women have had to/chosen to wear similar underwear to appear more svelte and attractive. Spanx is basically the 21st century version of a girdle.

And just like younger women were expected to wear uncomfortable undergarments around the time they came of age, teens today feel pressured to wiggle into super-constrictive shapewear. Girls as young as 13 say it's a rite of passage -- first, the training bra, then the Spanx. And sadly, the trend is causing slews of health problems for lots of teens

Doctors tell Good Morning America that "the growing bodies of teenagers are vulnerable to the health risks that Spanx impose like bladder infections, gastro-intestinal problems, and nerve damage that can result in numbness and burning in the thighs." Fantastic! 

The fact of the matter is that grown women are also susceptible to the same issues if we wear too-tight Spanx or shapewear too frequently. It's not unusual to find yourself saddled with a scary painful case of reflux at a wedding, thanks to the disastrous combo of acidic cocktails and a way-too-tight bodysuit. Or to get a yeast or bladder infection as a result of wearing one too frequently in the warmer months. But being that teens are even more vulnerable and are more likely to over-wear the offending undergarments, something must be done.

For instance, I love that Real Housewife Jill Zarin has her own new line of shapewear, Skweez, designed with girls in mind. And of course I'm not against wearing them on occasion in the right context (like under a fitted formal dress or on date night), but this trend isn't just about making clothing look more "flattering" or temporarily eliminating a pint-sized muffin top. It's actually about many teens loathing their bodies so much that they're wearing shapewear everywhere they go, every minute of the day.

It's a frightening RED FLAG that these girls are falling prey to seriously skewed ideas of beauty, and we're permitting them to tie up their self-esteem with the smoothing of every lump and bump. When they're literally squeezing themselves to fit an ideal that doesn't exist and hurting themselves in the process, we've got to acknowledge that this is a serious problem. Our daughters shouldn't be relying on shapewear -- or anything else making them ill -- to feel "normal."

Here's GMA's original story on the trend ...

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How do you feel about teens wearing Spanx and other shapewear?

Image via GMA

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Ashley Rae Boedeker

wow. love the republican campaign ad before the video.

vlk_2012 vlk_2012

I've got a friend with a permanent spanx roll, she just got bigger spanx to cover it.

nonmember avatar allizon

they dont wear spanx as "shapewear" as a teen cheerleader, we wore them under our shorts like the first girl in the pic because soffee shorts are a little loose, and the "spanx" (which brand we never avtually wore), they were more like compression shorts and covered us up fully when doing straddles, toe touches etc

MomLi... MomLily67

Allizon you are so right!! it does not necessarily have to be sahpe wear. I still wear lycra shorts in place of a slip if I wear a sheer dress, more comfortable, or to prevent chaffing in my inner tighs (fat tighs!)

There are some very young girls using it as daily wear. I understand wearing it  for a special ocassion or under a   particular  outfit, but the more you use it, the  looser your muscles get. Young girls today have  very pronoundced rolls around their waists because of  low rise jeans and underwear.  My mom, who was in her late teens/20s in the  1950's says panties were worn up to the waist, dresses were cinched at the waist, so that contributed to those shapely bodies of the era. She is  75 and never had those rolls, mind  you she is not tiny, she wears size  12-14.

Linda Hahn Zaveson

#1 beauty isn't in your waist size #2 kids have rolls, not because of low risers , but because of all the candy, gum and junk they eat #3 we are too obsessed with our waist size! the new wraps are teaching our kids that the solution to our problems isn't to eat right and exercise, but to drink a shake and wrap it away. Moms, teach your kids character, not how to wear spanx!!

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