I’m not aware of any systematic historical knicker review, but it’s safe to say that knickers have been getting smaller.

Nor could I pinpoint the age the consolidation of hate for the hair on our body reaches its pinnacle. The conditioning soaks in over the years, until it feels natural to look and shudder.

In Matalan the other day my sister and I looked at the padded bras for 8 year old girls that Mumsnetters and the Sun went so apeshit about (it must be a moment of rare bliss for a Sun journalist to channel moral outrage over the sexualisation of females, as they skirt uneasily past the 19 year old on page 3 and the way her bare breasts nestle in between news pages, left on trains and buses and read in coffee shops in front of school girls). Big bras to cover up no breasts and tiny knickers to show off more hairless flesh. The veil and the reveal.

The thong must be the last in line, only because you can’t physically get anything smaller. Big knickers don’t require waxing or shaving to remove a line of hair we’ve learnt to see as unsightly. Thongs – if you are remove anything round the edge of it – require removing about 80% of hair that’s there naturally. Boring. So boring.

The history of lingerie and women’s bodies: certain things getting smaller (the childish triangle of pubic hair) and some bigger (the pneumatic hardness of silicone breasts), more hairless, more sculpted, more shiny.

Bigger knickers = more freedom? Undoing years of conditioning so you don’t cringe when you look at yourself. When you really look at yourself.


4 Responses to “Knickers”

  1. Lovely review. It is most needed.

  2. 3 beyondbinary

    Except, those women in the photo also hold their bodies for display to the male gaze. Their giant knickers have more to do with shame and controlling female sexuality than liberation from objectification. Batten down the hatches, there’s a vulva under there!

    I do agree with you about depilatory efforts and surgical alteration for cosmetic purposes. I see this as an extension of the hatred of the feminine in which instead of hiding femininity, a woman’s body must be sanitized: the hair ripped out, her flesh cut up, packed full of plastic, and sewn up into an ideal, pseudo-woman.

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