"Oh cursed corset! If I could let it out, without indecent exposure."
— Samuel Beckett, "All That Fall"
Governor Swann: I'm told it's the latest fashion in London.
Elizabeth Swann: Women in London must have learnt not to breathe!
Carrie: "I'm glad I'm not old enough to wear corsets."
Laura: "Be glad while you can be. You'll have to soon enough."
Early in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (2010) comes the Lament of the Corset. What, you ask, is the Lament of the Corset? This is the scene in a period piece, from Titanic to Ever After to Pirates of the Caribbean, that reminds us how cruelly constrained women have been by patriarchal expectations, how roped in and squeezed into society’s mold.