Sunday, February 17, 2013

Panties. It Must Be a Conspiracy -

This morning I happened across Sarah Fentem's article in The Atlantic entitled "Why the Word 'Panties' Is So Awful (And What To Do About It).  It was an amusing and enlightening read and to sum it up easily for you, Ms. Fenton explains that the term "panties" is a sexualized word and that calling a woman's "bottom-undies" the more mainstream name of panties "forces us to call our underwear something sexy, when really we decide for ourselves whether our underwear is sexy or not."  Oh... how terrible.

Ms. Fenton also implies that there is something abusive in calling women's underwear "panties," implying that there is something childlike about the name we call women's underwear. On a whim, I took a poll of the mature women of my own household.  My seventeen year old daughter cocked an eyebrow upward and laughed, unwilling to respond further.  My wife gave me a crazy look and rolled her eyes. Evidently she doesn't feel that being forced to call her undergarments "panties" really affects her life.  "I prefer plain cotton, comfortable panties," I was told.

"Yes, but do you feel that you are forced to sexualize them by calling them panties?" I pressed.

The response I got was THAT LOOK, which basically said "can you not find something more productive to do with your time?"

As a man, I love the term panties.  It's mainstream place and frequent exploitation by Victoria's Secret have made "panties" into something just as arousing as "teddy" or "catsuit" and from a writer's perspective, the word certainly implies a more vivid image, such as the one above.  At least, panties are considered that when they happen to be on a woman's curves.   There is also something more elegant about the word than any of Ms. Fenton's proposed alternatives, which include the plain "underware" and "bottom-undies".  Imagine a woman wearing perfume.  Does she smell nice?  Is her odor pleasant?  Or is her scent enticing?  Obviously the words we choose, even if meaning the same thing, can imply degrees of difference.  How we use words is just as important as their meaning.

And just to let Ms. Fenton know, it is a conspiracy.  Men designed panties, just as we did high heels, corsets, brassieres, and curling irons.  Hell, I'd be willing to bet men designed makeup too, long before Mary Kay took things over.  So yes, Ms. Fenton, we sexualized your underwear.  We're sorry we are forcing that on you, whether your like it or not.  But don't worry, there is one way to keep things quiet.

Don't show anyone your panties!


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