Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Word I Hate


I hate that word.  Really.  Even typing it makes me cringe.

Growing up my underwear was called, well, underwear.  Or undies for short.  My mother never called them panties and so when I heard others say it, it sounded funny.  When I got older and able to choose my own underwear, the types that could be classified as "panties", I still called them underwear.  No one ever pointed out that I only referred to my underwear as underwear.  Except my husband, who loves to taunt me and try to get me riled up ready to go on and on why I can't stand the word.

It wasn't until I was well into my 20s that I realized why I hate the word.  Panties is sexualized.  It seems anti-feminist.  It's also used in the colloquialism, "Don't get your panties in a bunch"; basically a derogatory way of telling a woman to calm her irrational feelings.

When I hear mothers say to their young daughters, "Make sure you have clean panties with you" or something like that, I cringe.  I feel like it is prepping young girls to feel like they need "cute" and then as they get older "sexy" underthings.

I've watched many true crime shows in which rape and or rape/murder is the topic, and the victim's "panties" are used as evidence.  The use of the word panties in this context seems to be an ever so subtle nod to the woman having some ownership to the assault.  Perhaps this is because I can't stand this word as I see it charged with sexism, but none the less, I cringe at lawyers talking about the victim's "panties".

When you see a picture of a model in underwear, the catalog or advertisement has the word PANTIES pasted all around a young woman with her butt cheeks hanging out while seeming to find herself in some innocently exotic pose.  You know, that subtle marketing to tell you that you need those "panties" to feel sexy and good about yourself.

If you see an advertisement of good ol' cotton "briefs", all you see is a crop picture of a modest pelvis swaddled in waist high, low cut thigh underwear.  It shows you the product.  And that is all.  For me, that is all I need.  But I don't need panties.  I wear underwear.  The kind that covers everything, is comfortable, and practical.  Just don't call them freaking panties, because I am not ever in panties!  I am a human being that wears underwear; just like men.

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