Susan Cox on Feminist Current wrote an entry on the concept of “lingerie” and how it really reproduces women’s oppression.
The corset: This is a historical tool of oppression, which deformed women’s organs and prevented them from breathing. Ever wonder why it’s considered feminine to faint? Well, women were fainting a lot during the Victorian era, because their bodies were literally deprived of oxygen.
Fishnet stockings: While the origin of fishnets is debated, the myth is that it began with prostitutes who were too poor to buy actual stockings. So they appropriated fishing nets to use as stockings from their numerous sailor clienteles. A horrifying and depressing mythos which we continue to glorify to this day, by wearing fishnets and trying to capture a little bit of that “bad girl” aura.
Garter belts and thigh highs: The ubiquitous fetish for this antiquated method of holding up stockings comes from the era of the pin-up, which was the beginning of the modern porn industry. This momentous event is lovingly immortalized in the collective cultural boner for the iconic pin-up style.