I try not to talk too much about Serious Things on the internet. I pretend that it’s because the world is full of enough people shouting their opinions, and really, nobody needs to hear what I think about Terribly Important Stuff.
Really, it’s because a lot of the time I’m not sure I trust my own opinions on things, and I’m pretty sure that if I try and write some kind of intelligent and incisive takedown of the latest government policy or sexist twitter storm or idiotic statement, then I’ll just expose myself as a rampaging moron who is nowhere near as clever as she thinks she is.
And so, I just don’t talk all that much about Serious Things. I have the odd debate with my Farthing Wood Friend (who recently revealed himself to be a massive stinking Tory, much to my horror, but really we’re a bit far into things now for me to run screaming into the night because he has no political soul). I get a bit indignant about the Daily Mail whilst still obsessively reading its website, like everyone else who has ever been on the internet. I work myself into some kind of election frenzy everytime there’s a vote anywhere. But I don’t really talk about this stuff on the internet, because I just don’t really want to look stupid.
But if there’s one thing in my life that I’ve decided I need to abandon, it’s my fear of looking stupid. If only because I spent a large part of my early 20s in a bit of a drunken haze, and undoubtedly did many, many things then which will have made me look about as stupid as it’s possible for a person to look. And so maybe, sometimes, I might a little bit try talking about Serious Things.
Although the Serious Thing that’s got me started isn’t actually that obviously serious. Because it’s pants. Literally. Women’s pants.
As part of my quest to replace every item of clothing I own, you see, I have had to replace pretty much all of my underwear. I’ve not bought a new bra in years, and my pants mostly have holes in the them, and I don’t own a single pair of entirely ladder-free tights (I would say I feel sorry for my Farthing Wood Friend, but since Tories don’t have sympathy for anyone, I refuse to have any sympathy for him). So I’ve been in a lot of underwear departments. And one thing has appeared over the past few years that was not really there as much before; shapewear.
At first, I saw it and I thought it was BRILLIANT. I could avoid all the effort of exercising and eating healthily and just put on this incredibly uncomfortable and deeply unattractive flesh-coloured lycra monstrosity and have the Body of Dreams? AMAZING. But then I thought about it a bit more, and realised it wasn’t just the squishing of my internal organs that was making me uncomfortable. It was the whole idea of it.
Yes, I know that the media seems to think that Mad Men has brought back the hourglass figure, and as someone whose basic shape is closer to hourglass than waif, I know I should probably be grateful for this. And yes, I know that people like Gok Wan try and pretend that these giant Bridget Jones pants are somehow empowering, but I’m reading stuff about “new-style girdles” and “modern corsets”.
This does not sound empowering to me. It actually just sounds like yet another thing to be self-conscious and insecure about. On top of having a second-rate body, I now apparently have second-rate pants that do a second-rate job of helping me achieve yet another “perfect body”, which anyone with any sense knows does not actually exists. The whole thing’s bloody exhausting.
So after originally buying a pair of the Magic Pants in the hope they would make me feel less dreadful about my body, and then discovering they actually just made me feel worse, I’ve decided that I am not going for any of this Shapewear shit. I am going to carry on with my plan to eat normal food and do normal exercise and wear normal pants, and everything else can just bugger off. Especially the “modern corset”.