How has Chité re-centred the thong into the female gaze? For far too long, lingerie was designed and marketed through the male gaze. Styles for women seem stuck in the past and made with the male gaze in mind – think lacy, racy thongs or exaggerated push up bras. Women’s boxers are common but designs often lean towards resembling more traditionally ‘masculine’ underwear – there remains a tension between comfort and femininity. At Chité Milano, we’re refocusing female lingerie through the female gaze. And this may just be exactly what you’ve been searching for.
The thong inside the female gaze: the meaning of feminist underwear
Feminist underwear means different things for different women. For some, it’s an androgynous release from the lustful male gaze; for others, an honouring of simplistic comfort without the extra effort. For the rest, it means a chance to look attractive, ensuring femininity without being objectified. Under first wave feminism the first and second ideas were more utilised, with women favouring boxers or simple underwear as a sign of female empowerment. This meant for many, a complete disregard of the oversexualised thong.
As Steff Yotka, a Vogue editor in a garage.vice.com article explained why many women expect so much from lingerie: “The mainstream narrative of what lingerie should do or look like has been dominated by very few voices, and it’s about time that brands started looking at lingerie from a more diverse perspective. Lingerie is the garment that fits closest to your skin, it’s the thing you wear every day, and it’s being asked to serve so many functions, more so than anything else you put on your body (…) It’s a lot of responsibility.”
Due to the thong’s risqué appearance, it has been tied to sex work much of its existence. In the UK, the rise of thong usage has been asserted by Christian Minister Oneil McQuick to be linked to a rise of sexualisation in society. Thongs are viewed as an invitation by men for sex – in Scotland, a 17-year-old Girl’s thong underwear meant her rapist was acquitted of charges as she was ‘asking for it’. Something that should ensure female empowerment and celebrate female sexuality, has instead been curated to justify male unwanted sexual attention.
Can we still consider the thong as a tool of seduction?
The thong can be a tool of seduction, a symbol of overt feminine sexuality. However, any power the thong could hold is quickly taken by the male gaze. The male gaze, a theoretical term coined in 1975 by the film critic Laura Mulvey in cinema: “the male gaze looks while the female body is looked at” the woman is powerless under the male gaze.
Rather than doing away with the thong or choosing to favour a simplistic and plain design, a third option has appeared: acceptance and excitement over femininity, with timeless luxury that will make you celebrate your womanhood. Encouraging and reinventing the thong for her, instead of for him. Chité Milano recentres the thong inside the female gaze.
So what’s the female gaze?
The female gaze focuses on the woman – she becomes the forefront, her wishes, her beliefs, her luxury. She does not just exist to be seen. Chité Milano is curated by women for women, it is acutely separating fashion from masculine perversion and focusing on women’s wants and wellness. This is clear in their creation of the thong – both effortless and feminine, but also not hypersexual – it is created to be worn and enjoyed, not for men to view. It is for our gaze alone.
Chité Milano’s subtle thong is feminist lingerie your way: it celebrates womanhood and self-love. It’s smooth satin appearance with subtle, delicate frills alongside a 100% cotton gusset; a breathable fabric, helping to keep things dry and ventilated which ensures everyday luxury.
It is the complexity of women, regardless of what they desire that Chitè Milano honours at its heart: with satin thongs or androgenous boxers for any feminist. “Empowering yourself as a woman is taking care of yourself. Maybe taking care of yourself as a woman does include putting on lingerie”, Jonesy founder Rachel Jones told thecut.com. “Ultimately, they’re just clothes. Women are complex. And that is the key.”
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