The issue with so many misogynistic aspects of our society is that they can seem so completely normal at first. Until we take a closer look at our behaviors and the messages we are receiving, we often don’t noticed the ways that these actions can inherently hurt women. However, once you know to be more aware of these micro aggressions, it becomes extremely difficult to not see them everywhere. What once went undetected now seems to stand out more prominently than ever and causes you to wonder, what the hell is wrong with the world? That’s exactly what happened to me last week.
While shopping at a local sports store and looking through the women’s athletic clothing section I noticed an entire rack dedicated to an Under Armour product. The product was seamless underwear that was meant to be worn under tight fitting leggings or shorts, the idea being that since the garment is seamless, the edges of the underwear wouldn’t be visible through whatever you wore over them. The product itself is not what bothered me. If you have ever tried on a pair of underwear like these, you will know that they are comfy as hell and do a great job of staying put while you work out. What bothered me about this product was the slogan being used to market them. “Because panty lines are NOT okay.” …What? I’m sorry, was that the best they could come up with? Really? Okay, Under Armour, let’s break this down.
As an athletic company founded on ideals that promise to “Empower athletes everywhere” and “Make all athletes better through passion, design, and the relentless pursuit of innovation” within it’s very mission statement, I find it really disappointing that they would use such a body-shaming tactic to market a product for female athletes. Because amidst the higher importance of athletic training and leading a healthful lifestyle, heaven forbid the world know that these women wear underwear. No. That needs to be hidden. That would be embarrassing. These are the important things to be concerned with. Reality check people, women have bodies and women wear clothes on those bodies, undergarments included.
This really doesn’t need to be that complicated. But it is made to be a problem by a society that cannot seem to allow women to do what they want without shaming them along the way. This is not just an issue with Under Armour. Countless times, women’s bodies have been policed by the public and told that what they wear is not their choice. Let’s be real, that woman on the treadmill in front of you at the gym? She could not care less if you see her underwear lines through her leggings, but she’s been told that this should be her top concern. Forget the health and overall wellness that she is trying to improve. Your outfit, sweetheart, focus on that please.
For some, this may seem like a trivial thing to pick on. But micro aggressions such as this that police women’s bodies add up to a society that feels they can control every aspect of women’s choices, to the point where they may not be their own decisions anymore.
I understand the Under Armour is a brand. I understand that brands need to market to an audience in order to sell a product. I understand that often times a brand will need to tell the consumer why they need a product in order for it to get off the shelves. I do not understand why a company whose mission it is to promote healthy bodies and minds felt the need to body shame women into buying their product. Low blow on Under Armour’s part to use internalized misogyny to sell an overpriced piece of spandex (Seriously, $12 per pair).
For your athletic undergarment needs, sans the body-shaming undertones, I would suggest Reebok’s version of the same product.