Earlier this month, it was National Underwear Day. I had been meaning to write a blog on underwear ever since I first started this site so it seemed the perfect time to publish one. But, I didn’t end up writing anything. Why? Was it due to a bout of writer’s block, a broken laptop or even inexcusable laziness? Well, it might have been a little bit of laziness but mainly it was embarrassment. When I realised why I felt awkward discussing bras and knickers, I decided I couldn’t put off writing this any longer.
As a teenager, I would always look as shifty as a shoplifter the moment I entered a lingerie department. I’d look over my shoulder as I smuggled anything skimpy into a basket and stared to the ground if a male cashier happened to scan my unmentionables. Nowadays, I’m far less awkward but there’s something that still makes me blush.
Sometimes it’s the price tag (Agent Provocateur are charging £100+ for a pair of pants at the moment which, considering the hourly minimum wage, is ridiculous). Writing this, it’s probably the thought of any male friends reading this (“Hello Boys!”). Other times, I think it might be part of a bigger picture.
Much like how I distanced myself from the colour pink because I considered anything feminine as ‘bad’, I feared anything with lace or frills because it wasn’t just feminine, it was sexy too – and that was terrifying. It took me a long time to learn that wanting to look good just for oneself could extend to underwear.
Recently though whenever underwear “made with women in mind” is discussed, it seems that it’s rarely the conventionally sexy that’s celebrated. Whilst I wholly agree with championing every woman’s choice, I’d rather have knickers designed by Rosie Huntington-Whitely than Bridget Jones, and I can’t see why that’s a bad thing. A quick Google of “feminist underwear” (yes, I’m baffled as to how my politics relate to my pants too!) and you’ll find brands such as Neon Moon championing what is “comfortable”, over aesthetics. Sure, we all have our homely days but are there not any women who want to reclaim lingerie for themselves, rather than just as a male fantasy?
In the age of fights against slut-shaming and body empowerment campaigns, it seems unusual that sales of ‘granny pants’ are on the rise. Of course, elasticated knickers are more practical than something lacy and barely-there, but flats are also comfier than heels yet you don’t see women of the world abandoning Louboutin for Crocs (admittedly, I can only waddle in heels so flats rule for me…). So why is “panties” polling as one of women’s most hated words? Why are there endless memes about the joys of being braless? And why will nobody talk about ‘traditional’ underwear positively?
Now, ladies I’m not saying you have to wear slinky undergarments all the time or even any of time but if you want to, you should feel confident, not ashamed – whatever your body type. “Empowering underwear”, whatever that even means, shouldn’t be all about supportless bras and baggy briefs with Feminist emblazoned across the back (as cool as the latter may be). It should be about what makes you happy, and if that so happens to be matching luxury undergarments then so be it. A feminist is no more or less likely to wear stockings and suspenders than a sports bra. Whilst I’m well aware that there are bigger battles out there, you’ve got to fight for your right to panties. Or at least that’s what I think the Beastie Boys were singing…