Julie Green: The Other Side of the Coin


Lingerie: Sexy or Stifling?

a necessity for perfect womanhood

How do you feel about lingerie? Does it make you feel more attractive and womanly? Or is it simply what one writer on Jezebel describes as “compulsory femininity”?

Notwithstanding that the writer in question is a lesbian, she shirks the idea that “lingerie is a necessity for perfect womanhood” that seems to be upheld in the media—or at least by the companies responsible for making fancy undies and brassieres.

I tend to agree. Choosing to wear lingerie to make yourself feel good is one thing. Feeling like you should wear the garter and stockings to be sexy for the man (or woman!) in your life is quite another.

Once upon a Valentine's, my man bought me a very expensive, very skimpy red number by Elle MacPherson. It looked pretty enough but trying it on was another matter; it was deeply uncomfortable and ill fitting, owing to some whalebone-type material in the bodice.

Of course I thanked him for the thought—an attempt to resuscitate my self-esteem in light of all those post-baby frumpy pyjamas. While I know he meant well, it was unarguably a fail on his part. First of all, my self-esteem doesn’t come from what I wear (or don’t wear) underneath my clothes. 

Most men give the gift of lingerie for themselves, the feminist in me would stubbornly argue. Needless to say, I returned the pricey, satiny ensemble for something sheer but comfortable, albeit less overtly sexy. A happy medium, I thought. And I never entered the store again.

Any progress in the self-image department has to come from within, not from male or media perceptions of what’s suddenly desirable, right? As the Lingerie Lesbian suggests, the problem with the “Real women have curves” campaign is that while it seems to endorse a healthier frame, it also implies there is a right—and by extension a wrong—body type women should be aspiring to. 

“I hate when we act like beauty and femininity and curvy bodies are somehow synonymous,” she writes. Indeed. She then claims that femininity has become “a stranglehold that I can't seem to wiggle my way out of.”

Do you feel stifled by lingerie, or would you say it's an integral part of your femininity? 


Image credit: Flickr/julienpons