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From the august pages of our nation's newspaper of record, which always keeps us apprised of the national zeitgeist -- like how Jeb Bush doesn't eat enough fatty foods for Real Americans to vote for him, and some little boys don't like wearing jeans -- comes this latest trend watch from the always absurd style section of the New York Times:


A young generation of women is discovering a new brand of sexy in the most unlikely of places: their grandmothers’ underwear drawers. [...]

“Within millennial and Generation Y consumer groups, it’s considered cool to be wearing full-bottom underwear,” said Bernadette Kissane, an apparel analyst at the market intelligence firm Euromonitor. “Thongs have had their moment.”

Far be it from us to judge what kind of panties anyone wants to wear -- granny, crotchless, edible, bikini, boxers, briefs, leather, lace, or none -- but how women are protecting their va-jay-jays from chafing these days, if they're not going commando, isn't merely a matter of style or personal preference or comfort or wanting to avoid Visible Panty Lines. Oh no. It's feminism!

“I only wear granny panties,” Julia Baylis, a willowy 22-year-old, declared proudly. Ms. Baylis and her best friend, Mayan Toledano, 27, design the boutique clothing label Me and You. Their best seller is a pair of white cotton underpants with the word “feminist” printed in pink bubble letters across the rear. Since the line’s introduction on April 7, the panties have sold out.

Besides sales, the “feminist underwear” has inspired countless Instagram “belfies” (that’s a selfie for the behind) from Me and You customers eager to show off their feminist convictions as well as their pert posteriors.

Ohhhh kayyyyyy. Sure. Nothing says "Take that, patriarchy!" like posting pictures of your ass on the internet. (Also, belfies? BELFIES?!?! We may sound old and crotchety and GET OFF OUR LAWN here, but how we long for the days when we just called them "photographs.") This is not just about millennials admiring their own asses, though; this is art. Sexy feminist art:

Ms. Baylis and Ms. Toledano are part of an all-female creative collective founded by Petra Collins called the Ardorous that explores feminist topics from a millennial point of view through collaborative and solo art projects. For the generation that counts both Beyoncé and Lena Dunham as feminist icons, female sexuality is wielded for one’s own pleasure.

“Most lingerie is designed to appeal to a man,” Ms. Baylis said. “For us, that’s not even a consideration. This is underwear you wear totally for you. Maybe no one will see it, or maybe you’ll put it up on Instagram to share with everyone you know.”

Making women's underwear for women sounds great and all, but if it's not about appealing to others -- if it's really about your own comfort and not caring what other people think -- then what's the point of social media-ing it all over the MyFaceGram Instaweb? I don't care if you look at me, but LOOK AT ME!!!

We majored in Women's Studies about a thousand years ago, so we know there is no One True Feminism, but many feminisms, which is why we are A Feminist, and if these young women wanna make a buck by plastering "feminist" on their ass in comfy wide letters, wonderful. Good for them. Capitalism, like sisterhood, is powerful. As is the Times's addiction to writing about how Some People Are Doing Some Stuff:

Ms. Dalbesio said she was hopeful that the greater diversity of offerings was a sign that the lingerie industry is beginning to recognize that “there is not one ‘ideal body,’ but a plethora of them.”

In the end, it is about options.

“There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be more traditionally sexy and wearing a thong; that doesn’t mean you’re not a feminist,” Ms. Toledano said. “This is a step toward embracing more variety in what’s offered.”

So in other words, this whole entire Very Important article is about a new kind of marketing for an old kind of underwear, but the Times is here to let us know that these Real Cool women say it's Real Cool to wear their underwear, so we should probably buy it RIGHT NOW, to be Real Cool, for fashion and feminism. Huzzah!

So hurry, little millennial feminists, and buy your Grrrrrl Power panties today, before the Times declares them so last season. Or just buy yourselves some Wonkette panties. They're Real Cool too -- and (hint hint, millennials) a lot cheaper.

[NYT / Image via ItsMeandYou]

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