Thursday, January 7, 2010

Underwear, thank you

It came up again this morning. What might be my least favorite word- or at least in my top 10. The word is, panties.

Anti-climactic? Probably. But I've always hated this word. And I hate it on two levels. First, it just sounds like a word that a pedophile would use. I know that sounds stupid. But seriously? Hearing a grown man - or a commercial (thanks, Victoria's Secret!)- use the word 'panties' is just... creepy. It makes me cringe.

Secondly, and this is something that I've probably become more sensitive to in the last ten years or so, is that it sounds demeaning. Even the definition condescends, 'underwear or underpants for women and children'. Women *and* children? Honestly? Because womens' sexuality can't be taken seriously, so we're supposed to use the same word for their underwear that is used for children's underwear?

The word 'panties' brings to mind, well, ok, children's underwear. Which would also bring about the idea of virginal innocence. So, guys who prefer the word 'panties', what exactly is the problem? Can't face the idea that maybe your girlfriend/wife/lover may not be so innocent after all? That you may be one in a long list of men who have shared her bed? Or even a short list? I know. The possibility of 'panties' having an underlying meaning has probably never even occurred to you. But I'm going to guess that it occurred to someone way back when. And now the word has stuck. And now large underwear companies use the word in their commercials while sticking angel wings on the backs of their models. Sexy, angelic virgins. In their panties.

This rant probably doesn't make a lot of sense coming from a woman who, in the past, has used the words 'chick' and 'girl' to refer to grown women (and I'm really working on not using girl anymore- I try to catch myself on that one now. It just sounds terrible.). But I really think that we should at least stop using the word 'panties' to refer to womens' underwear. And look, if you really can't bring yourself to refer to womens' underwear as underwear, then you can use the word, lingerie. Which sounds sophisticated, sexy, and frankly, experienced. Which is how I would prefer to be thought of. Because it is the 21st century people. Grow the fuck up.

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