On (Lack of) Diversity & Depiction

Lately, lingerie companies and their marketing departments have been getting under my skin. It’s really hitting me hard how there’s this unspoken expectation of how women who buy lingerie should look, be, or act. And frankly, it’s taking the wind out of my sails.

If I looked at most lingerie advertisements, including those put out by independent companies, I would NEVER guess that lingerie is for someone like me. I find myself becoming increasingly disillusioned by the complete and utter lack of diversity across all brands. While I can generally “understand” why companies choose to go with a white model, I find it almost unforgivable when I see brands promote only white customers.

Maybe it’s a coincidence; maybe it isn’t, but I do know that it’s making me incredibly uncomfortable. When I go into Victoria Secret, I see sooooooo many women of color who shop and work there. On Instagram, I’ve also found people who look like me and also like underwear! Why do companies constantly refuse to acknowledge their diverse customer base?

After awhile, it kind of hurts. Bottom line: why the hell am I funneling thousands of dollars into an industry that does not give a shit about women of color? Especially when I now have purchasing power…

And this isn’t only limited to physical outward appearance; it also involves attitude. I’m so tired of how lingerie is being marketed. The overtly sexual ads put me completely off, and I feel that they perpetuate the myth that lingerie is worn solely to please men prior to sex. Additionally, I’m tired of the implication that all women who wear lingerie should behave a certain way (hello, “bad, kinky, naughty bitch” portrayal). I find that this thought plays dangerously into the ideology that women are doing this for the approval of men and that they should be grateful for any comment about their appearance. And if they aren’t? “What a bitch!” or “She’s a slut anyway.”

Fuck. That.

Just because I buy lingerie doesn’t mean I’m a “sex hungry whore” who needs to be validated by a man to feel good about myself. Nor does it give you any right to objectify me or fetishize me because you’ve logged thousands of hours of Asian porn. You know who I wear lingerie for? I wear it for myself. I buy what I like for ME, and there’s no better person in the world who I’d make these decisions for.

I’m a stable, educated, responsible, cat-loving feminist who adores the likes of 90s prime time gems like Murder She Wrote – who also happens to like pretty underthings. I just want to be myself. Why can’t lingerie companies understand this?

I want to fly away from all of the stupidity. :)  Vintage Natori Robe purchased by me from eBay.

I want to fly away from all of the stupidity. :) Vintage Natori Robe purchased by me from eBay.

  1. This is a brilliant post, thank you. I agree 100% on all of what you are saying.
    A few years ago I was working the fashion photography industry, and the lack of diversity was depressing and offensive. I find it crazy that huge sections of society are just ignored in advertising.
    And as for your points about lingerie wearers being portrayed as kinky and naughty and out to please men – this is something that has troubled me for a while. I love underwear, and always have, but I’ve always felt inadequate in that there’s a stereotype that I’m not living up to. But I don’t actually need to! I buy it for me, not anyone else!
    Anyway, massive comment there, sorry! I love your blog, and this post has made me love it even more.

    • Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving such a thoughtful comment! I really appreciate it. :)

      Sometimes I feel very torn that I should only write about certain companies, but I know that budget constraints and availability are concerns (and to be honest, I’m not only interested in writing about designer lingerie). Maybe one day one of the “majors” will make a positive change. Until then, I hope to find more independent companies who will positively promote lingerie without resorting to cheap sexual tactics. I’m 100% sex positive but not everything has to be about sex! And I’ve always found it very odd how my wearing bra and panties is sexualized or found to be more “degrading” vs. a bikini even though the bikini is similar and some offer much less coverage.

      (And I just checked out your site, and it is wonderful! I love sewing, too, and hoping I can gain some confidence to sew clothing. This has always intimidated me; very strange, since I’ve sewn a lot of home goods and love hand embroidery…)

  2. V said:

    Aw hell yessssss. So happy to read this.

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