A local museum is running an exhibit on the history of underwear. In the section on corsets in the 19th century, they showed infant-sized corsets. Mothers were advised to start getting their daughters accustomed to corsets by age four, but companies also produced infant-sized corsets for mothers who wanted to start the process earlier. Corsets, of course, could cause internal damage in grown women who wore them too tightly. Imagine what they did to children.
The parallels to Toddlers and Tiaras stuck me immediately. Apparently such behavior is not a new phenomenon. Now it's spray tans and cone bras. Then it was making sure your toddler had a tiny waist.