From Modesty To Bare Nothings: Ditching The Undies Revolution Part 1 of 4

“What has been the fashion once will come into fashion again…” Japanese proverb

Women are extremely self-conscious of their bodies, especially after having been married for years and bearing two or three children. Many become genuinely depressed when they glimpse themselves in the mirror and realize how much weight they have gained. What they see is harsh reality, a reflection of lumped, rolling flesh. Breasts are now fuller, butts appear larger, and cellulite thighs have the appearance of bubble wrap. Their self-esteem becomes even more deflated when they compare their bodies to the younger, more beautiful women showing off their shapely figures in their hubby’s supply of Playboy’s. How will she ever hold his interest in the bedroom and keep him from straying with that competition? She has to cook, clean, raise children, do laundry and hold her share of the financial burden. Now she needs a complete make-over to become a sex object for his pleasure? Is he worth it?

Some may subject themselves to a regimented routine of exercise and diet in an attempt to regain their youthful 18 year-old figure, while others try so hard but can’t seem to get past first base. However, there are countless men who are quite satisfied with their well-endowed woman, grateful for her sumptuous flesh, while others prefer a much leaner woman. How a man makes a woman feel about her body during sexual intercourse can either increase or destroy her self-esteem. This will also reflect in the way she dresses. If her sex life is a disappointment, she will see herself as undesirable, which will make her hate her body more. By virtue of her modesty she will expose less of it. Standards of modesty not only discourage exposure of the intimate parts of the woman’s body, they also obscure her shape by convincing her to wear non form-fitting clothing. On the other hand, if her partner says after a moment of sexual passion that she was hot and steamy in bed, she will flaunt her sexuality, to the point of immodesty.

Ah, the naughty word immodesty, or is it to be the other way around? These days, there is an overwhelming tendency of women who exhibit more flesh than ever, the less they wear the better. Whereas, if a naive woman behaves or dresses in a modest way, she is criticized by others as being “sexually repressed” or labeled a prude.

Design companies in the United States have capitalized on this “immodest” trend by making their products as beautiful and seductive as they can, thus tempting men to imagine what women look like beneath their clothes. Frederick’s of Hollywood and Victoria’s Secrets have morphed into a multi-billion dollar industry, creating exotic panties, lingerie and breast enhancers that have a lot of extra push-up packing for female fans. These sexy items bring out the sensuality in women, thus tempting many a godly man in a moment of weakness to fall from grace. Designers are the ones that have encouraged modest women to become immodest. Most of the malls now have stores that cater to preteens, teens and college-age customers, enticing them using the word “Sexy,” in ads that say: “Sexy and Cool” or “Smart, Modern and Sexy.”

But underwear didn’t begin as a sexy advertisement for the female body or did it? In this engaging 4 part article, we examine the history of the evolution of underwear, from its prudish, functional beginnings all the way through the sexual revolution of the 20th century and into today’s world, where underwear can even be a see through edible sex toy.

Modest women over the centuries have evoked man’s respect, yet today women have managed to do very well for themselves without giving a hoot what men think about them or the way they dress. However, immodest dressing may have its negative consequences because it can be distracting. Provocative clothing not only distracts but also puts an incredible amount of pressure on teenagers to keep their weight down unnaturally, through anorexia and bulimia, so they can see themselves in that sexy bikini, G-string or thong. These seductive garments only encourage further indecent behaviors such as “butt grabbing” which can lead to other forms of sexual abuse. Immodesty has encouraged extra-marital affairs and promiscuous sex as men are visually sexually stimulated. Indecent dressing not only creates an erotic impact, but it can also stimulate a man’s sexual desire to the point that they will commit rape. Just seeing busty cleavage or a figure hugging piece of clothing or underwear lines through a pair of tight-fitting jeans can sexually arouse any man, which doesn’t seem to take long.

So now I’m wondering, when did modesty become so shameless? Remembering that idea, let’s take a backwards glance at the history of lingerie as it has emerged over the last few centuries, evolving inevitably “From modesty towards bare nothings” into what it is today, “Ditching the Undies Revolution.”

Before going into this vast subject matter, I want to direct attention to the fact that, although I am a researcher and a historian who always has her head buried in books, I do detach myself sometimes to observe and make note of current issues that are reflected in the today’s world. However, as a modern philosophically mature woman, I assure you that I do feel comfortable discussing just about anything, and I do mean anything, whether or not I agree. Therefore, during this study I may have to take a bold approach in describing parts of the body and the use of certain underwear items.

Aside from trying to understand the complexity of people’s thoughts and actions in modern America, there is still a part of me that yearns for the past, a nostalgic desire for what once existed. Maybe for this reason I am fascinated by and drawn to the Victorian Era, with its pervasive influence and coexistence with the Modern World. People who lived during this time experienced a life quite different from that of today. It was a remarkable era of romance, inhibitions, etiquette, modesty and feminism of dress. In part 2 we examine the beginnings of women’s underwear in an era of sexual repression, examining the passion killer underwear that existed at the time, which will get you up to speed for parts 3 and 4 that examine the evolution of underwear into the sexy accoutrement it is today.