I am here to reiterate what so many other lingerie lovers have said: lingerie is not just about sex. Or for others. But ourselves. Etc.
Why repeat? When even I myself doubt if I am going to contribute anything new? It is Valentine’s Day. And there has been a lot of lingerie stuff in my mailbox (specific to shopping and consumerism, from non-lingerie companies as well). And well, at the least, number is a huge advantage in democracy of ideas? (Every bit counts!)
So here I am, talking about lingerie and sex and Valentine’s day.
But seriously—as flippant as I may sound, I really do not like the association lingerie has with sex, and this dependency the mainstream audience forces upon lingerie by making it only acceptable (even conceivable!) when it is to show others.
(I also am a bit averse to the definition of “sexiness” when it comes to lingerie. Sexy lingerie to the mainstream view, at least to me, seems to insinuate some hot bedtime and arousing. Before I go further, I concede that this is a very personal opinion… my own personal understanding and definition of “sexiness”. Because what’s sexy to me is powerful—something that oozes confidence and the aura of “fuck yeah”. Something that says one has dominated, and in full control, of one’s “sex”, rather than simply oozing it to attract/excite others. I would say femme fatale… but maybe not. The lingerie I find sexy is sexy in the way I find dark lipstick sexy.)
And though I haven’t taken “Gender Studies”, nor would I actively campaign as a feminist… there is a strong element of the male gaze when finding lingerie sexy. Think of all the lingerie that’s considered especially sexy or even fetishized—corsets, stockings, and suspenders… all these things that would have been daily normal life for (upper/middle-class) women, but probably a rare occurrence for men. And that rare occurrence would happen only when men gets to have sex. I wonder if the reason why people fine lingerie so “hot” and sexually arousing is because of the anticipation of sex? Think of all that anticipation collected to years and thousands of men’s experience. The aforementioned men probably are middle-class or higher, as lingerie can be pretty damn expensive. Then, we have men who has the sole power of leaving records in the written history and have general influence in culture. That in itself is enough to culturally provide a definition, connotation, or even attitude towards something. Of course, I have no evidence to support this, nor do I really want to fight for this argument…
I suppose a huge part of this post is my personal frustration. When I try to talk about my love of lingerie and, ahem, invite them in this lovely hobby, many of their reaction are about: I don’t have anyone to show it to. Can’t be bothered, nor would I spend that much money for something I can’t show it to someone.
But let me be clear—I don’t want to say lingerie must solely exist for women’s pleasure and self-satisfaction. That would be me doing the same thing as pigeon-holing lingerie that it only exists for a good time. A lingerie designer I know believes in the erotic purpose of lingerie, and I respect that. Lingerie at the end is, simply, an object for human (subject) to use (verb). (Sorry… I couldn’t resist with the wordplay.) And if I may go back to the male gaze stuff… a lot of this cultural definition has been internalized by women as well nevertheless. The status quo indeed is lingerie being associated with sex, and though I don’t have to like it, I am not going to deny it.
So—what am I going to do? Continue with this belief. Also relish in the chance that lingerie gets so much attention when it’s Valentine… As a person whose consumer interests are on the niche side (eg. lingerie, fountain pens, black/dark lipstick, chokers), this kind of attention is really refreshing. I will buy lingerie I like at a sale price… next year. Nevertheless, this market attention really makes me happy—even if the happiness had to be tempered down the implications (that is, sex!).
Plans for today though? I am currently lounging in my most expensive and delicate set—Myla’s “Bouquet Embroidery” in Babydoll, a powder pink color. Yes, the set includes suspenders and stockings (I cheated, so I am actually wearing stay-ups). This is solely for myself as I have no current romantic interests. I think I will treat myself to a sheet mask and listen to Scriabin’s Fantasie Op. 28 before I go to sleep… which I did yesterday as well (as a pre-game for Valentine).