I’ve just bought my first pair of trainers. I’m wearing workout leggings, and I’m not even on a health-kick. I’ve never stepped foot inside a gym, apart from feigning interest on hotel arrival, and have no intention of joining one.
I bought them to wear, just to wear, because I like feeling fully equipped to scale a wall, jump from a great height, or run at breath-taking speed. And, inevitably, once you buy trainers, come the breathable, and who-knows-what-else-able fabrics, collectively known as Active Wear.
The thing about Active Wear, is it requires actual activity to justify a new wardrobe, so when Yoga Season returned to the office, I signed right up. I’d formerly Yoged in a pair of Harem pants. A casual nod to exercise more Netflix than Namaste, but now, I decided to dress like I meant it.
It was only as I boarded the train, I noticed, there it was: Barbie box. Other lewd catchphrases apply. One belongs to a humped mammal and ends in ‘Toe.’ The other, to a Canadian native, ending in ‘Knuckle.’ No offense to Camels, Moose, Toes or Knuckles, but I know when I’m being insulted.
“I’m going to put this to the vote!” I apprehend the first similarly-dressed woman to visit the printer that morning. A twenty-seven-year old, fully-fledged gym member, with the coordinated two-pieces to prove it. “Charlotte? Is this,” I circle my crotch, turned to share my butt-bumps, “acceptable?”
“Girls have vaginas,” she scowles, before wisely continuing on her way. “Deal with it.”
If ever there was a slogan to sum up how Feminism looks in 2018, it’s having your crotch firmly encased in Active Wear. Ever since Donald Trump (I refuse to call him the ‘P-word’ unless it’s Porcine), made Pussy Grabbing-headlines, we’ve grabbed ours back. Much like Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues revolution, we’ve reclaimed our crotches as the ultimate Feminist emblem.
My generation was instructed to be demure, covering our Victory V’s like a collective Achilles’ heel. There was a sense of shame, contributing to a lack of ownership. Boys thought breasts were pretty, but whatever was between our legs was there for babies and Prom night.
In the name of decency, we surrendered to either the omnipresent Male Gaze, or withering female criticism. Not so much today’s females. While I’m reluctant to cite the crotch as the new cleavage, who knows how future generations will wear theirs?
During Yoga, I noted the lack of self-consciousness. Drifting away from concerns about how our bodies look, we instead celebrated strength and movement. An almost physical manifestation of the Feminist evolution. And, if the thought occasionally crossed my mind, I was adopting more scandalous poses than a pay-per-view, I told myself: Girls have Vaginas. Deal with it.
While I’m resolutely in favour of boycotting body shame, and recognize the importance of girls’ claiming full-rights to their own bodies, I’ve decided I’m not buying any more leggings. In the name of gender equality, I fear a return to the dick-skimming-jean-seam of the 1970s for our male counterparts, which can only be counter-productive.