Marie Lodi
September 15, 2016 1:46 pm

Panties. It’s a polarizing word. Some people can’t even stand seeing the term displayed on lingerie ads, while others (like Christina Hendricks, apparently) praise the “girlieness” of the term. Exactly WHY the word gives some people the heebie-jeebies is hard to explain. Thankfully, The Dirty Word is here to help.

As per yooj, The Dirty Word’s host, Amanda Montell, graciously guides us through the history of the term. Previously, Montell explored why the word vagina stresses her and other people out. This time, she studies the common nickname for the undergarment that ahem, dresses, the vagina. (Quick question, why are words relating to the female anatomy freaking out so many people?! GAWD).


As for “panties,” Montell first deconstructs the word itself. She points out that the first syllable of the word is fine, but that the second part is more of the issue because the suffix “-y” or “ies” is diminutive and makes things sound “littler and cute.” She then delves into the history of the word, citing an Atlantic article that describes “panties” as first appearing in a 1908 set of instructions for making doll clothes. DOLL CLOTHES.

Then there’s the ~sexy~ connotation. Lingerie companies like Victoria’s Secret unabashedly use the word in their advertising. And in a 2010 interview with Esquire, actress Christina Hendricks co-signed usage of the controversial term.

Montell also points out that men get to refer to their undergarments by cuts. She offers the same things as a solution, but is hesitant — who wants to outright admit they’re wearing a g-string?! (Well, some of us probably, and that is fine, too). Finally, Montell asks for suggestions for a new, less-contentious word.

Find out new options for the word PANTIES in the video, below.