Why the Exposed Thong Is My Favorite Trend in a Post-Roe v. Wade World
The slightly slutty look carries political power.
Even though I wasn’t allowed to watch Degrassi as a child, Cassie’s iconic exposed thong scene lives rent-free in my mind. The TV character’s bold saunter down the Canadian high school’s hallway marked her last day as the good girl next door and signified her entry into a new era of brazen sexuality.
Since then, the sight of a whale tail has become ubiquitous with a Y2K brand of rebellious, and distinctly female sexuality. Coinciding with the rise in Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian’s celebrity status, alongside our country’s gross mishandling of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, the wearable fashion symbol arrived at a time when we were sex-crazed. While 2000s pop culture has a lot to make up for in terms of its deeply misogynistic and borderline abusive treatment of women, many young women today have adopted the iconic fashion of the times from trucker hats to oversized sunglasses. Exposed underwear has become a mainstay as It-girls from Bella Hadid and Dua Lipa are stylishly baring their intimates, while several brands have added straps around the hemline to mimic the sultry aesthetic.
Once considered a trashy and vulgar look, visible underwear has become a streetwear staple. While it could just be chocked up to the widespread love of nostalgia, I wonder if the resurgence of the visible thong has a deeper meaning. While the MeToo movement and inclusive sex positivity have pushed feminism in a more progressive direction over the last twenty years, the recent overturn of Roe v. Wade demonstrates how far we have to go in terms of respecting bodily autonomy and destigmatizing sex.
With half of the country’s population being punished for having sex and not wanting children, the choice to expose your thong has become a fashionable middle finger to the puritanical patriarchy. Once associated with sluttiness, visible underwear has become a commonplace look, channeling a nonchalant and carefree expression of sexuality. Perhaps girls in micro mini-skirts and G-strings may just be modeling their outfit after their favorite early aughts icon. However, the recent trend of embracing such a provocative aesthetic, while our society begins to resemble The Handmaid’s Tale is a hopeful sign that we can’t, and won’t, be tamed.