What do you get in a thong thesis? Victoria's Secret, pearl thongs, erogenous zones, laws, Sisqó, thong sandals, the essay "Feminism and Femininity: Or, How We Learned How To Stop Worrying And Love The Thong" by Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards, fundoshi, Juvenile, Ludacris, "realness," visibility, class, race, gender, and Coco Austin. There's so much to learn.
In a fascinating essay about thongs is in the new Dis, author Natasha Stagg asks:
It's okay for a feminist to wear a thong, but is it okay for a thong to be representative of feminism? Perhaps more importantly: Can a thong be representative of anti-feminism?
Fashionably, the thong changes its mood every few years and represents something new. The thong is rebellious: It sticks out, hides again, becomes functional, emerges as decoration, and stretches itself thin.
When I was eighteen, my first real boyfriend asked me if I wore thongs. No, I never had, I said nervously.
"Good. A thong is like a railroad track for bacteria to move back and forth between cultural centers."
Stagg traces the historical evolution of the thong, lamenting that underwear in general — because of the shame traditionally associated in many cultures with the body parts it covers — has not been widely documented by people in the past or studied by contemporary academics. She also examines the thong as cultural touchstone, as symbol of female sexual availability, as rap lyric, and as garment for men. (Stagg finds "a dramatic structure, made up of a protasis, epitasis and catastrophe" in the video for Sisqó and Dru Hill's 1999 hit "The Thong Song.")
You could also consider the thong in light of capitalism: small and sold at a high markup, glamourized by advertising and Sex and the City (remember the pearl thong episode?), it's the perfect product. And perhaps the thong itself embodies something essential about capitalism and the commodification of women's bodies. Joseph Kahn, the director of "The Thong Song" music video, once said in response to a feminist critique of his work, "I listen to 'Thong Song', and I say, 'Well, this song is about asses.' So you can either accept it and do something like I did, or you can go and try and turn the 'Thong Song' into some kind of Chemical Brothers video and make it all pretentious; about some fucking communist upheaval or something."
See, if you're against thongs, you must be some kind of communist.
And then there's Stagg on how a thong feels to the wearer:
When one wears a thong, she or he can feel the secret throughout the day. The wearing of the thong can mean a multitude of deviant actions. It is strangely at once conservative and reactionary, for example, that so many feel the need to hide panty lines by creating the illusion of going underwear-less.
Behind, Beneath, and Between: Tracing The Thong [Dis]
Image via maxstockphoto/Shutterstock.