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Lingerie and Body Image

Why do we put clothes on when we get up in the morning? To look good? To feel good? Because we have to? Why do women feel the need to wear attractive lingerie and intimate apparel, even when no one is going to see it? How do societal norms affect our perceived self image and what we wear, both inside and out?

In our society, looking good has traditionally been more of a priority for women than men. In terms of lingerie, the implication has been that men derive a sort of voyeuristic pleasure from watching their partner model this apparel. Despite the advances made in women's positions over the years, the main motivation for making ourselves beautiful and wearing sexy lingerie has been for the pleasure of the opposite sex. However, women are beginning to challenge notions of beauty, self image and attractiveness and why we wear lingerie at all.

It is interesting to look at the marketing approach of today's lingerie designers. The new message is that you can look sexy for your partner, but you can also look and feel good for yourself. Lingerie is meant to be exotic and titillating, but women can now derive as much pleasure in wearing lingerie as being viewed in it. For this reason, comfort, movement and practicality have become a much bigger factor in lingerie design.

In an indirect way, changing trends in lingerie design have also reflected women's changing position in society. Think back to the whalebone corset. Laced up in this contraption, a woman could barely breathe, much less move. The implication was that proper women didn't move about and didn't need to. Furthermore, a woman shouldn't even have the desire to be out and about in the world because her realm was prescribed by husband, hearth and home. Of course, working class women were unable to afford such frippery, so binding yourself in lingerie was considered to be somewhat of a status symbol. However, as women began to participate more and more in political, economic and social realms, lingerie became more functional and less restricting.

Today, intimate apparel and lingerie offers a variety of choices for every taste, predilection and body type. Lingerie designers have made great strides in recognizing that there is no longer one standard of beauty to aspire to. Consumers are now demanding that retailers meet their needs for realistically designed lingerie, as opposed to spending their energy trying to mold themselves into an impossible ideal. As a result of this new found confidence, there has been a virtual explosion of plus size clothing in the lingerie business. Lingerie for fuller figures has become the norm rather than the exception in the retail world. In meeting this new demand, retailers now recognize that lingerie needs to be functional, fun and designed for real women with real bodies. Women with fuller figures need to know that they can look and feel attractive, no matter what their size.

Wearing lingerie can be a sensual as well as sexual experience for women. Designers and retailers are capitalizing on this revelation by linking advertising with self image. The line of thought goes something like this. Today's women are strong, independent and free to explore their own sexuality. Wearing sensual lingerie can be a pleasurable sensation, even if no one else knows that you have it on. Wearing attractive lingerie allows for a woman to look and feel good about herself. However, it's not the lingerie that bestows confidence, beauty and sensuality. Rather, the intent is to enhance an already positive body image.

Looking attractive for your partner is a natural by product of your own natural self esteem, but no longer the main purpose of wearing lingerie.

About the Author

Kelly writes for the plus size lingerie blog at Ample Pleasure carries a wide selection of sexy plus size lingerie, including fitted corsets, flirtatious babydolls, sexy teddies, and romantic nightgowns.


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