It is a universal truth that lingerie beneath any outfit (even if its sweats and a hoodie), can add a skip to one’s step.
I know women who motivate themselves to go to the library by wearing their sexiest bra underneath a t-shirt. I know women who say they feel far more confident about themselves if their bra and pants match. It’s a little, insignificant thing, but it makes a difference. I, personally, am much more comfortable looking at my semi-naked body in the mirror if I’m in my favourite lingerie. It makes me feel older, more put together. Sexier.
I recognize that a woman’s body does not need accessories to look ‘beautiful’, but it does bloody help sometimes. The days where you’re a little more bloated than you’re comfortable with; the days following an intense essay season filled with nothing but takeaway packaged sandwiches and ready meals, where your body just feels heavier on your bones. Sometimes, a silky two-piece can make body-negativity easier to deal with.
Considering the empowering nature of lingerie, why does mainstream advertising seem to cater the male gaze? To come to this assertion, all it takes is a glance at any lingerie advert. With models coyly looking over their shoulders at the camera, they lounge and writhe in underwear, biting their lips –a sexy-but-submissive manner we’re all expected to mimic. It’s essentially softcore porn.
At shops such as Ann Summers, the lingerie and products are clearly meant for the pleasure of a lover, and not oneself. Why am I not being told that it’s OK for me to walk around my apartment, clad in a black teddy. Even if I’m doing nothing more than listen to cheesy songs and having a glass of wine, I’m taking time for myself while feeling confident and sexy. For some reason, this desire is never reflected in the marketing of lingerie. Sexy lingerie couldn’t possibly be worn unless it is for the benefit of another, and that other also probably has to be a man.
I’m not proposing that the likes of Ann Summers change their advertising scheme. After all, that’s hardly going to happen on a website that is basically selling sex (also specialising in roleplay outfits and mutual sex toys). However, it would be refreshing to see a website, or a shop, advertise their underwear as something to empower a woman, rather than a method of gaining approval.