I Got My Own Candy
Australian lingerie label Honey Birdette, and one I've featured only recently, has come under fire by journalist, Sherele Moody, who accused the brand of peddling 'soft porn' with their Christmas shop windows. The campaign features a closeup of a woman in sheer knickers with the tagline Ask For Your Candy. Sherele has big problems with the fact the model has no pubic hair and thinks her ‘labia’ is on display.
The journalist's scathing, and woefully misguided article, goes on to say that brands have a responsibility to create "socially acceptable" products after using the example of a rape victim who's lace thong was held up in court as a contributing factor in her rape. She goes onto state that there are men and women out there who will judge your underwear choices if you get raped.
By using this example to express her distaste at Honey Birdette, what she is effectively saying is that women should take responsibility for ourselves by not wearing the kind of underwear that could be scrutinised in this way. By her logic she is implying that brands who sell sexy lingerie are contributing to women being raped and are therefore being socially irresponsible. I’m not sure if she knows how rape works, but men generally decide to rape a women long before they’ve gotten to her underwear. They don’t strip her, assess her underwear and if it’s cotton and plain, she gets a pass.
The fact the attitude that women are somehow to blame for rape still exists in 2018 is bad enough, but the fact there are women out there with this attitude is utterly terrifying and Sherele herself doesn’t even recognise herself as being one of those women. In her Twitter profile she claims she's campaigning to "end violence against women one heart beat at a time" - unless there’s a pair of sexy knickers at the other end of that heartbeat, in which case you’re on your own. I’m in trouble then because 90% of my knickers are see through.
The founder of Honey Birdette, Eloise Monaghan, hit back at the article in the Honey Birdette Instagram, calling out Sherele's ridiculously backward article in a series of responses.
Sherele represents everything that’s wrong with the world for women, right down to her accusatory attitude towards an entirely waxed vagina. How a woman chooses to ‘style’ her pubic hair is entirely her own choice and we should not be shaming her for her choice, whatever that may be. The tagline to me is merely playing on the honey aspect by relating it to candy - ask for Honey Birdette lingerie for Xmas. Or it could be hinting at female dominance - if you want to eat this candy you’re going to have to ask for it. However you read the campaign, a women wanting either sexy underwear or oral sex for Xmas should not be demonised. But more simply, it’s just a vagina, all women have one! Yes, some people have very conservative attitudes towards sex and sexuality but that doesn’t mean to say that should be the dominant opinion and one which dictates how we live our lives.
We are still, even now, making women’s sexuality taboo; something shameful, hidden or secret. This attitude that women’s bodies are somehow dirty or explicit is why women can’t breastfeed in public or why women’s nipples are banned on Instagram. We need to work towards celebrating and normalising women’s sexuality, whatever form that takes, not reducing women in their underwear to merely being “soft porn”. And BTW Sherele, some women enjoy porn.
Women wear beautiful lingerie for countless reasons that quite often have nothing whatsoever to do with sex. There are single women, women in celibate relationships and even women who simply don’t enjoy sex, who are all wearing beautiful lingerie entirely for themselves because it makes them feel beautiful and empowered. Just look at the Honey Birdette Instagram where endless customers talk about how good the brand make them feel about themselves and how very few actually mention men in the equation.
Personally, my love of lingerie is an extension of my love of fashion. To me it’s another way to explore silhouette and fabrics, and if you had a rummage around my underwear drawer you’ll see it filled with straps, lace, leather, mesh and - pretty everything I wear on the outside.
A woman’s body is a truly magnificent thing. Not only because of what it’s capable of doing - hello, keeping the human race going - but because of it’s intrinsic beauty: the softness of our skin, the delicate, undulating curves of our breasts, the sway of our hips, the elegance of our necks. These things should be rejoiced, admired and celebrated not turned into something shameful or dirty. But more importantly, we should be free to enjoy our bodies in any way we see fit, be that in sexy underwear or a goddamn poncho.