Why You Need To Be A Feminist If You Work In The Lingerie Industry

11/10/2016 17:31

Imagine if someone came up to you, at your workplace, while you're sitting at your desk -maybe you're composing an email, putting together a presentation, adding numbers to a spreadsheet - and says, "going for a wank over your sexy body".

Yep, it's pretty much an average day online when you work in the lingerie industry.


There's nothing like waking up in the morning and being forced to witness a stranger's fantasy. After all, we are in our place of work, and we honestly don't need to know that information when trying to do our job.

This isn't a treat reserved for us alone. No, many women will have been delighted by dick pics, relishing rape threats and more, all just for being a female on the internet. In fact, we receive these comments because the men believe they are speaking directly to the model, and presumably their charm will woo the recipient. These comments are a dime a dozen, and they point to an internalised need to objectify women. They see a picture of a woman and for some bizarre reason are unable to see that there's a real human in that picture, who could be reading those comments and feel threatened and upset. She's viewed as a purely sexual object.

It's not just us, or the models in our pictures who might feel uncomfortable; how can we create a space for women to discuss lingerie freely without feeling lecherous eyes? Even other men have come forward to say how upset they are by these comments. These objectifying words create an environment that feels volatile - people come to us to view pretty lingerie, not to feel like someone is imposing their sexuality upon them. When you engage in something you enjoy and somebody invades that space by fetishizing your passion or hobby, it can make the experience negative. It encourages the idea that liking lingerie is a promiscuous act that deserves leering at, when really consent comes into it just as much as it does anywhere else - just because this is the internet doesn't mean this rule gets disposed of.

This shows that misogyny exists in the modern age, and therefore how feminism is incredibly important. As citizens of the first world, we've undoubtedly progressed when it comes to equality, but the glass ceiling is yet to be broken.

Objectification and body-shaming is also rife within brands, and other members of the lingerie community. Shaming women for having "saggy breasts", and designers saying someone is "too fat" to be in certain lingerie are both actual things that have really happened. Other brands have used infantilisation or sexualised childhood as a part of their brand image. For an industry that's meant to be for women, a large sector of it sure thrives off making women feel inadequate to drive sales by playing on their insecurities. Putting fear into women's minds about their bodies is a negative way of promoting a product - for example brands who emphasise that slim is the way to be by equating this with "flattering", or that "sagging breasts" is something to be sneered at and can be avoided by their product. We believe only in positive marketing - emphasising how lingerie can make you feel good however you look by showing a range of body types wherever possible, and not using language that holds certain body types higher over others.

These examples are just small snippets of why feminism is necessary. Perpetuating the objectification of women and encouraging body-shaming has repercussions, and could go as far as to create violent relationships between men and women, as well as damaging body-confidence.

As a brand, we constantly strive to create a comfortable environment for everybody across our website, social media, and other platforms. We always try to call out or remove inappropriate comments to drive home that it is unacceptable and that women shouldn't feel threatened or alone. Our social media will always remain a no body-shaming zone - there is absolutely no reason why a brand would need to do this, and quite frankly our products speak for themselves without the need to! Playful Promises pride themselves on being a brand with feminist values, and seeing such things happen within the community are saddening - but they also add fuel to the fire and make us want to be even more vigilant and vocal.

We want to see other brands do the same, and love to see certain brands already using their voice to partake in feminist action against misogyny within the lingerie community and industry. Brands such as Kiss Me Deadly have always been vocal about feminist issues, whilst also being diverse in their branding and social media. One of our lovely stockists, Bluestockings promotes intersectional feminism by having created a boutique that specialises in LGBTQIA+-friendly brands, and brands that focus on garments for non-binary and trans* men and women. Lingerie bloggers in the community too have been vigilant by calling out brands when they fail to be inclusive such as fetishizing race and culture, body-shaming and more derogatory behaviour. These things all add up to create a safer environment for people of all backgrounds. No matter how small the gesture, people will catch on to this feminist attitude and realise that it will help their brand along as well as forming a positive outlook on themselves and others.