We like to think of ourselves as modern and sophisticated, but we apply double standards on how we perceive designer lingerie.
While fashion media proclaims luxury underwear as the quintessence of femininity, the cherry on the cake of seduction, most women simply frown on the sight of a suspender belt. Not so long ago, a co-worker of mine embodied the commonplace in one sentence, “It looks pretty on magazine models. I would never wear such a thing, though”. Implied by these words, the hidden truth — no femme sérieuse will be taken like one by openly admitting she has a soft spot for Lise Charmel.
Many years ago, still a literature student and not a spare penny to spend in high-end bras, some friends and I were discussing the topic over cheap rosé. At the time, Gossip Girl was big on TV and we were simply breathless at how beautiful Leighton Meister looked in Agent Provocateur. However, there was some discomfort over conversation since none of us wanted to say we felt both inspired and maybe a bit jealous.
But then again, why did we react like that? By looking back now, a bunch of reasons comes to my mind. As the typical Humanities Bachelors in their twenties, we all considered ourselves as clever, original, and wittily critical with society, which made us unable to be more honest. In our defence, it could be argued that we were young and restless: therefore, a bit lack of experience, as well as a bit prone to the holier-than-thou nonsense (probably derived from a consistent diet of endless European cinema soirées, and the influence of the unavoidably pseudo-intellectual male acquaintances, who enjoyed mansplaining mostly every possible thing to us).
The point is we said many stupid things I will not reproduce here, but also talked about the over-sexualization of Victoria’s Secret angels on stage.
Like many other women, we felt intimidated by this unreal image of sensuality which unequivocally entails a passive gender role. We did not want to represent any of the associated parts — the virgin, the slut, the bombshell. By accepting these we would surely lose control of our bodies, our identities and least but not last, our lives.
At some point though, one of my friends introduced a twist-plot in the chat. “Why do you assume lingerie is just for men?” she said, “Why do they even need to know you are wearing it?” That, for a start, was an interesting question.
As much as we were hard trying to deconstruct our vision of the world, we would not stop focusing the whole thing on male vortex. After listening to a good hour of moral preening, she got sick and kindly explained an obvious but game-changing idea to us, the revolutionary concept of start enjoying ourselves just for the sake of it.
Lingerie could be fun if you simply looked at it as another form of joy and self-expression. She suggested — and this is something that has walked with me not only in my twenties, but also all through my thirties — to wear it, if we pleased, as an invisible armour. Her exact words were to get dressed from the inside. I gave it a thought, understanding that even if I had a lazy old jeans and t-shirt day, I could cheerfully wear my best undies as well. It could be like painting my nails red on a blue Monday, or reading my favourite author while drinking coffee in a nice quiet place. And what was the best part? — Only I would know.
There are still many things I do not buy about the whole lingerie business conception.
I will never be comfortable about how the VS angels are presented, or about how much transparency a single clothing piece can display on such compromising areas. Nevertheless, I truly share the whole new concept many brands have developed: from Dita von Teese to What Katie Did, some are now paying more attention to what we feel like, reinforcing body positivity in the process. This is for sure a feminist contribution: no more slut shaming, body shaming, or any other moral implications.
I bless the fact it is more about us women now, and a bit less about them. And I bless the fact that another woman was able to make me change my mind.
If you are reading this dear, you know who you are.
15 thoughts on “The lingerie Morals (Why wearing fine lingerie doesn’t make you dummy)”
Nice take on lingeries and I agree: we wear it for our pleasure and not the opposite gender. Kinda timely, too. Wish that Irish defence lawyer could read this before assuming wearing thong = consent.
– Rio, http://www.rioribaya.wordpress.com
Oh goodness! I had not thought about that when I hit publish, but you are totally right. It is awful how society can legitimate sexual violence based on someone private preferences or tastes…
What a really interesting post. I love lingerie and, when I wear it, I wear it for me.
I am glad you like it. And yes, same here. I think that is the truth for most women.
I loved it! I am of a mind that lingerie is to be worn by women for themselves. Lingerie can be an extremely powerful boost to the wearer. 🙂
Lots of love,
That’s exactly my view on the topic. We should focus more on how we feel wearing it, and a bit less on how we look with it.
Be very welcome, dear! I do hope you enjoy the posts. 😊💖
“Lingerie could be fun if you simply looked at it as another form of joy and self-expression. She suggested — and this is something that has walked with me not only in my twenties, but also all through my thirties — to wear it, if we pleased, as an invisible armour. ”
What a good read! And your blog layout is so beautiful, well done!
Underwear can 100% be for yourself and for your own confidence, I think we all forget that sometimes x
Many thanks for the nice words. I am very glad you enjoyed the read. Please, be very welcome.
I consider women’s clothes should be women’s bussiness only. After all, it is us who are going to use it and should feel confortable and confident at all times. I truly believe men approval on lingerie, clothes, makeup etc should be anectdotal only. But that is my personal opinion.
Hi Allegra, new blog follower here! Your writing style is very tasteful, mature and super relatable.
Ok, I totally believe lingerie should be worn for yourself. I remember when my mother first bought me a pink lace panties that were slightly sheer. I was a senior in high school and was like, “Mom I can’t wear that, it’s too much.” She told me, no one is going to see it except you. You should wear nice underwear because it makes you feel empowered. She never emphasized the sex appeal aspect. So wearing lingerie makes me feel like a rockstar because my Mommy taught me the power it brings to my mind not the sex appeal for my body. Fantastic read! Retweeting on Twitter!
Natonya | https://justnatonya.wordpress.com
Hello Atonya! Be very welcome to my place. First, I want to thank you for your very nice words. It is truly appreciated. Also, thanl you so much for retweeting!
Regarding your thoughts on lingerie, I totally agree with all you said and can only admire your mother for being so supportive. It is fantastic to get some wisdom from women around us, isn’t it?
Love this post! I’ve always thought of lingerie as something for myself and a hidden way of giving me a bit of a confidence boost without anyone else needing to know!
That’s exactly my point! All seems to be so focused about men vission… But it us who they should market target with the correct message. NOT them…
I agree so much! Especially with Victoria’s Secret, the sexiness in their ads seems it’s designed to attract men more than making a woman feel empowered, which is a point you made on the post! Spot on observation 💯👏🏾
Yeah, don’t even make me start about VS annual show or I will never finish the rant. 🤣 Well, at the end of the day is their bussiness and it’s up to them choosing their priorities. I see it as a poor market strategy, though. Rather old-fadhioned too.