The Politics of Pants

Go into a regular supermarket and eye up underwear for women, and you will find that pants tend to start at a size small enough to not cover your pubes, and get smaller from there down to buttock-floss with triangle. Cotton pants can be bought, but a great many knickers are made to be lacy, and thus are made from a high percentage of synthetics. This kind of fabric will keep you cold in the winter (inviting piles) and make you sweat in the summer, (encouraging thrush). Women’s pants are designed to be looked at, comfort is secondary.

Now shuffle yourself round to the man pants isle, where you’ll not find anything synthetic or lacy. You’ll find sizes that start at a close fit and expand through to shorts. Pants to keep you warm in winter and pants to keep you cool in summer. Pants to either let your tackle swing free, or to hold it neatly in place depending on your needs. Pants you can pee from without having to take half your clothes off. Man pants are made for use, not for decoration.

Of course women’s pants have to be small otherwise the edges might be visible under our closely fitting clothes, and that would never do!

For a whole array of reasons, I’ve been wearing man pants for a couple of weeks now and it’s been a revelation. They don’t chafe my inner thighs. They’re so much better for temperature management. I have discovered that I feel more confident, more sexy and more powerful wearing them. I can saunter about in just my pants, and not feel self conscious, because these pants cover my genitals rather than drawing attention to them. If I was the sort of person with shaving inclinations, I might be affected by the way that all of my pubic zone is entirely covered up.

Small female pants leave you exposed, and make your genitals accessible. I’ve never felt sexy wearing lingerie, only self conscious and vulnerable. Not least because lingerie is something I’ve only ever worn for someone else. I wouldn’t wear it for me, because what I want for me is to be comfortable.

I know there are people of all genders who enjoy lingerie and who feel sexy in it. All power to them. What bothers me is that if you’re one of the women who doesn’t get on with that, it’s not easy to find underwear designed for women that isn’t designed to be small and ‘sexy’ in line with the idea that revealing is sexy. If women’s underwear was designed primarily to be comfortable, it would be all soft fabric and a variety of leg lengths, and we’d go from thongs to shorts as well. In an ideal world I think there would also be more availability of sexy pants for men. You won’t find posing pouches in the supermarket. Male undergarments designed for the female viewer are few and far between. It would be good to have a more level playing field.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

20 responses to “The Politics of Pants

  • In The Autumn Of My Life

    My humour bone has you sauntering about in some of those y fronted knee length thermals men in the wild west probably still wear but I won’t dwell. I shall simply own up to currently wearing a dashing pair of female boxer type thingys from Peacocks…we won’t dwell on the name of the store either 😉

    • Nimue Brown

      Not quite, although it appeals to my steampunk sensibilities, and I do have several pairs of trousers designed to look like knickerbockers, as well… if red flannel underwear turned up, I would be sorely tempted!

  • Sass (@sashajwolf)

    Men’s underwear is amazing compared to women’s. I switched for reasons of gender dysphoria, and wow. I thought my old underwear was comfy enough, but men’s boxers were a revelation. No elastic digging into your crotch! No itchy bits of lace! Wide waistbands that don’t dig in!

    • Nimue Brown

      I’m never quite sure where I am on the gender front – biologically female, psychologically…. still trying to figure things out. But I feel safe and at home in man pants.

  • John Davis

    Hmmm…not sure as a sixty-something year old male I should make comment, other than agree with you about the intentions behind ladies under-garments, as it were. My wife makes me stand at the end of the isle when she needs to buy something, or sends me to do something else. I do remember something about David Beckham wearing his wife’s underwear when playing football though….or so Victoria said; but there again, he’s famous and of godlike status and me a mere mortal. John /l\

  • vehemenceandemergence

    I love this post! If the men’s style makes you feel confident then I am 100% sure you look sexier in them than you would the other! Being sexy is mostly a matter of confidence.
    I grew up with my mom buying me enormous cotton panties in pastel colours that I could wear well above my belly button. I started rebelling by wearing black cotton briefs *shocker* and my body felt so free! Now I wear what I want to and I love it! Sometimes for me, the smaller is the more comfortable. I am all for diversifying! and now I want a pair of boxers!

    • Nimue Brown

      I’m a big fan of diversity, and I think you’ve nailed a thing there – ease and confidence are sexy, whatever gives you that is good. And otherwise, whatever gives comfort is good 🙂

  • Christopher Blackwell

    I always felt women’s clothing was far too expensive, far too fragile, far too uncomfortable far too lacking in style for anyone not built with a Hollywood figure, and far too short of pockets.

  • druidcat

    Although look at the men’s pants section in Next. So much innuendo… really quite nauseating actually!

  • Tracy Kruse

    I have never tried men’s undergarments, but have often noticed that my hubs comes out of the wash all warm and soft and gets better over time…while mine eerily explode bits of elastic and balls of nylon rats in the fabric where the tag of my pants rub in the back. I once found a great cotton pair of panties and they were $38.00 EACH. WTF??? I have at long last decided that the three things that make life worth living are 1) comfortable panties that don’t ride up 2) a great bed because we spend a lot of time there and 3) comfortable shoes because if your feet hurt then you will not want to do anything but sit down. And so I live my life. I have everything except #1 w hich is THE only reason to go shopping!

    • Nimue Brown

      Yes to all three of those. In the UK a decent, lightweight waterproof coat is fairy essential as well for the going outside, but yeah, shoes have to be able to walk a few miles at least with no pain and run short distances in an emergency, I reckon.

  • bone&silver

    Yup, I like ‘boyleg’ cotton pants, & my girl/boyfriend likes men’s underwear for all the reasons you’ve written about 🙂

  • maenosen

    I’m a “boy shorts” cotton pants, no lace person as well. I’ve got the odd sexy pair but they make me so itchy I suspect any sex-appeal in wearing them is countered by my frantic scratching.

    It’s not just pants – it’s bras as well. I don’t want padding to make my boobs bigger (I’m happy being “small”), underwiring to hoist my boobs further, nasty synthetic material that makes my skin sore, lace that just looks naff…. The only place in the UK I used to find cotton bras was BHS, and they have gone out of business.

  • Crow Girl

    Glad to hear another woman say this! I’d been wearing flannel boxers with old t-shirts or men’s tank tops (“vests” in the UK, I think?) as super-comfy nightclothes for years, and one day in a fit of crankiness I picked up a packet of men’s cotton boxers for regular wear. Underwear that is DESIGNED not to ride up, and twice the number at half the price! It’s a miracle…I’ve also started buying men’s jeans, sick to death as I am of thin fabrics, too-tight fit, and inadequate pockets. As for bras, it’s getting harder to find sports bras free of padding and shaping (lest any woman forget her femininity for a moment, even while lifting a barbell or training for a marathon) but it’s still possible with some effort.

  • Meredith

    The thing that I find most frustrating about this (right this moment anyway) is the moment of looking at the tiny piece of crotch fabric and going “but how am I meant to stick a sanitary towel to this?” I mean, really? WHAT IS THE POINT OF KNICKERS THAT I CANNOT FIT A SANITARY TOWEL INTO?
    Brilliant post 🙂

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