The Sexy Feminist Lingerie List

I’ve written before about how the right underthings can make a woman feel confident, sexy and invincible. But it’s also important for us to purchase our lingerie from the right places. A hot pink bra with black lace panties have a way of losing their feminist power if they’re acquired from a company that puts commercialism above all else—including, apparently, the common sense to not be blatantly racist in its campaigns.

feministlingerie-300x222Victoria’s Secret’s latest collection called Sexy Little Geisha was quickly pulled from its inventory after immediate, widespread backlash. And for good reason. The “cat woman” image of Asian women basically reduces them to sexual fetish objects (and, sadly, this stereotype is still quite prevalent in popular culture). Dear VS: Women don’t want to be angles, sexy school girls or wear bras with diamonds on them or thongs with chain metal g-strings. They just want underwear that works.

In our forthcoming book, Sexy Feminism, the editors of this website discuss in length the empowering nature of women’s clothing and lingerie. The next time you’re due for a new bra or want to spice up your sex life with a hot new underthing, shop consciously. Here are some brands that get our stamp of approval:

Betsey Johnson. She’s about the coolest lady in fashion,  period. Unapologetic for her sexy-ragamuffin style, BJ has become a fetish brand and a female businesswoman to admire. Her bras, quite simply, get the job done. With underwire that encases the whole breast (none of that tissue-stabbing demi-shaped nonsense), fabrics that conceal and protect, and adorable details, it’s clear these items are crafted as impeccably as Betsey Johnson couture.

Stella McCartney. She’s the daughter of music royalty but has become an empire of her own. Stella founded her brand on principles that protect the earth, and all of its inhabitants—from animals to garment workers. These ideals extend to her swoon-worthy lingerie collection.

Prada. Yup, that Prada. Founder Miuccia Prada is perhaps the biggest name in fashion, and a 60s-era feminist who talks about the issues. She said recently, “I always say sexy dressing is fantastic if it’s a choice … If you want to go out naked, I like it. But if you do it because you want to get a rich husband, no, I hate it.” Her lingerie collections mirror the brand’s understated elegance and perfect tailoring. Shopping this brand is, of course, for those with some change to spare, but if you’re a fierce fashionista who’s going to spend it anyway, do it here.

Bella Materna. Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers need sexy underwear too, and this U.S.-manufactured brand delivers on style and comfort. With details such as layers of sculpted lace, seamless cups and support without underwire, non-mommies will want these bras too.

Gillian O’Malley. Totally cute. Totally wearable. Totally cheap. If you like to hoard lingerie—or at least coordinate it with every outfit—this Target brand’s $5 underwear and $14 bras foster gluttonous consumption. Any time you shop at Target, proceeds from sales help fund public schools, a feminist cause that needs us all.

What are some of your favorite feminist lingerie brands?

5 Feminist TV Shows to Watch This Fall

In case you haven’t noticed, things are going relatively well in the feminist-TV realm. No longer are we forced to call a show “feminist” just because it has a lady crimesolver at its center! Nor because there is a lady who is funny in it, or even because there is a lady who runs the whole damn show! Here’s to hoping “peak vagina,” as one disgruntled male producer called the trend, lasts forever. Because, really, we’re more like at normal vagina, which is to say, close to 50 percent. Huge progress, yes, but also known as closer to equality.

Now. Onto our favorite shows for this fall (so far), new and old:

The Good Wife: This show is so damn good, isn’t it?

804_1_0_prm-emmys2012_1024x640-300x187Homeland: This homeland-security drama is poised for a breakout season on the Downton Abbey level. It stars Claire Danes as, essentially, Kiefer Sutherland in 24. Yep, that’s pretty much all you need to know.

The Mindy Project: You knew this would be here. Creator/star Mindy Kaling, formerly Kelly of The Office, is a revelation here as an OB/GYN who’s got her career act together but is still working on her personal life. She combines killing it at work while still being super-girly (her character worships romantic comedies) while still making fun of all of the above (she knows romantic comedies are silly, but still). Yeah, hers is the latest in a string of female-driven comedies being compared to The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The fact that hers is created by and starring a woman of color shows we’ve made at least a little progress since the ’70s.

Suburgatory: This ABC sitcom snuck up on us last season, and we’re totally hooked now. The main reason: The sparkly Jane Levy as sardonic Manhattan-to-suburbs transplant Tessa Altman. Other reasons: Cheryl Hines as a sweet mother figure in the body of a Real Housewife, Jeremy Sisto (lightening up, finally!) as Tessa’s dad George, and our girl-crush Alicia Silverstone as George’s crunchy girlfriend. We love how Tessa is an alterna-girl who isn’t really an outcast, but isn’t all that interested in popularity, either. She just is, which makes her one of the best teen heroines we’ve seen in a long time.

Up All Night/Guys With Kids: Something old and something new in the men-as-participatory-fathers comedy genre. (Please, let this become a genre!) Neither of these approaches the transcendence of Louie, which also happens to be about a dude who cares about being a dad, but as the next level down, and the next level down (respectively), they are solid. If you’re going to watch one of these, choose NBC’s Up All Night, which is hilarious whether or not you have kids, thanks to the brilliance of the writing and the cast — Christina Applegate, Will Arnett, and Maya Rudolph. Arnett’s stay-at-home dad stays at home like it’s a totally normal thing to do, though also deals with the adjustments that go along with being the primary child-rearer. Guys With Kids, a new NBC comedy combines the idea of men who are fathers with the buddy-comedy genre and comes from producer Jimmy Fallon. It’s a down-the-middle sitcom in the tradition of ABC Family and TV Land, which is in the tradition of retro ’80s hits, but it’s cute. And it makes kids the center of the three main bro characters’ lives, which is both realistic and progressive.