In (outsized) praise of giant undies

In response to a news story about a family putting out an oven fire with the mother's "big pants"—that's Brit-speak for granny panties—comes this column from the Times Online's Caitlin Moran on the scourge of "pantorexia." To be honest, I'm not really sure what's going on in this overlong column — Moran basically starts off encouraging women to stop strangling their asses with "sexy pants" and creating the dreaded quad-buttock effect with ill-fitting unmentionables, but then she goes on to bemoan the state of big pants as well. (Apparently the deprtment stores in Old Blighty are overrun with underpants in the hue of an "uncooked pork chop.")

Furthermore, she suggests, women are wasting their time dressing (presumably) for men, who are simple creatures and don't need the fancy pants to begin with.

On how many occasions in the past year have you needed to wear sexy pants? In other words, to break this right down, how many times this year have you suddenly, unexpectedly, had sex in a brightly lit room, with a hard-to-please erotic connoisseur? Exactly. On those kind of odds, you might just as well be keeping a backgammon board down there, to entertain a group of elderly ladies in the event of emergencies. It's more likely to happen.

Okay, I laughed. But man, I'm getting bored with this kind of femininnyism — which I define as "employing gender essentialism and stereotyping in order to add heft to a lightweight argument or mount an ostentatiously pro-woman rallying cry." (This column is guilty of both, by the way. Quoth Caitlin: "All the good that women getting the vote has done has been undone by their constant struggle against their tiny, uncomfortable pants." Oh, come on.) Some women like to wear fancy undies, and some don't, and not everyone who does bust a ruffle under their clothing is doing so because they're anticpating some (hetero) love later on. Sheesh.

I took this too seriously, didn't I?


by Andi Zeisler
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Andi Zeisler is the cofounder of Bitch Media and the author of We Were Feminists Once: From Riot Grrrl to CoverGirl®, the Buying and Selling of a Political Movement. You can find her on Twitter.

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4 Comments Have Been Posted

yep, a little

aside from taking it a bit too seriously (which, granted, is sort of your job... as well as what i'm about to do), i think you missed the point a wee bit. she didn't criticize women for wearing fancy or pretty underwear; as she goes on to bemoan the lifeless state of big panties i think she was, rather, decrying the poor fit of the modern underpant. and it is a sorry state of things that a lot of woman and young girls are walking around wearing "glutal accessories" or "arse trinkets". why do they do this -- that is, squeeze their ass into non-functional underwear? individual reasons may vary, but walk into any mainstream lingerie store, and it's clear that the hard sell comes down to, "if he sees your undies, they'd better look as good as heidi's and tyra's, or you'll never get laid".

her criticism of the appearance of "big panties" (and at size 18 to 20 UK, we're talking literally big, as in for a bigger woman)is fairly valid as well. as a wearer of big panties, both top and bottom portions, i too am tired of black, white, or flesh (funnily, the best big/full brand of undergarments i've found, in terms of appearance, is british, so she doesn't even know how bad it can be). i'd love to wear "bright teal French knickers in silk, ribbony bloomers, frilly cancan scanties and amazing satin shorts" that fully covered my ass cheeks and mons. and jesus, try adding "comes in plus size" to that list... i dare not even dream. the not-so-subtle message becomes, "who would want to see a big ass in just underwear anyhow?" apparently, not even the owner of said big ass would want to.

hell, when the fat ass in granny panties has become size 12 renne zellwegger as bridget jones, going back 15 years to the actually chunky mare winnningham having her "scuba gear" snapped by rob lowe in "breakfast club" has become almost painfully naive to watch. had either been wearing the bright teal french knickers with dainty ruffles, and full of the confidence that comes with wearing underwear that fit and that you like, when the moment came that a hot guy did appraise them naked in full light, they might have been able to enjoy it.

they're called foundation garments for a reason; they're the first thing you put on, they affect how everything else you put on looks on you, and, most importantly, they can enhance your comfort-level throughout the day if they fit properly. while i would say a statement like, "How can 52 per cent of the population expect to win the War on Terror, if it can’t even sit down without wincing?" is a a little hyperbolic, the main point is frighteningly valid. this obsession to be wearing a sort of veneer of sexiness at all times is a pretty useless distraction that drains women's self esteem, and the actual weapons required to construct this veneer are a double edged sword at best -- uncomfortable underwear, debilitating shoes, and extra hour a day for make-up and hair? sure, you get the look, but at what cost?

as an educated woman who's embraced feminist thought and tries to be a little bit radical in their lifestyle, i do feel like my panties are my choice, and whatever kind i choose is fairly (but not entirely, as it's a pretty constant battle not to succumb to the hatred heaped upon my fat body from every store i live remotely near) free from outside pressures. but, having just a few years ago attended a lovely state college where, in upper level women's lit classes i've heard women say weren't feminist because they liked being "daddy's girls" or that they wish they could hurry up and meet a nice guy because didn't really want to have to follow through with school, i just can't buy the argument that the majority of women are able to get past the dominant messages of society and make a free and fair choice about what they put on their bodies, especially on their most sexualized bits. but i'd really, really love it if they could, so it's nice to hear someone speak up about it, even in a light and jokey tone.

I think the central idea

I think the central idea shouldn't be to show the worthlessness of ’sexy pants’ in the bedroom, but to arouse the discussion about their advantages and disadvantages concerning woman's health. It's not a secret that tight-fitting lingerie and clothes restrict airflow and blood flow and usually these are the contributing factors causing vaginal diseases and infections.
So, taking into consideration these facts, I would, probably, promote "granny panties" as the healthiest underwear ever! Thanks for the post.

Granny Panties Can Look Sexy and Feel Good

Granny panties are all I ever wear. I love wearing <a href="" rel="nofollow">ladies nylon full brief panties</a> and hate to ever take them off. The feel so good against my skin and don't ride up. Granny panties are just soooo much more comfortable than any other panty. Searching amongst all the different brands it's easy to find some that fit. Between Maidenform, Vanity Fair, <a href="" rel="nofollow">Dixie Belle</a> , Olga, and others there is bound to be a pair that will fit you no matter what your figure. I think most of those other styles with the high cut legs or boycut briefs were foisted on womankind just so the manufacturers wouldnt have to worry about the proportion of the leg holes to the size of the panty and could use a cheaper elastic. Giant undies come in lace trim or exclusive of ornamentation like Vanity Fair's Ravissant brief. They can have lacy waistbands like the Maidenform Wise Buys Full Brief, or lace insets like the Vanity Fair Lace Nouveau full brief panty. If you want something really just for looks and not for the feel there's always the see through nylon mesh Style 1004 Nancy King sheer full panty from Lingerie Outlet. I'm wearing a pair of Vanity Fair Lace Nouveau briefs as I type this and they feel wonderful. I think they look sexy on women and would love to read what women think of how they look on me.

In Hindsight Giant Undie Praise was Prescient, Public Panties

This post praising grannie panties seems to have been prescient. As we now know, Lady Gaga helped bring the wearing of Granny Panties into style even out in public. Pink and Madonna have done it as well. I hope the giant undies stay in vogue for a long time. As an aside, Mister Panty Buns, your panties are lovely too (giggle).

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