Monday, February 15, 2016

Leandra Vane in "Attack of the Butt Enhancer"




I was fully planning to do a book review for this week’s post as I have a ton to get caught up on…

… But then I bought pants.

Buying pants is a bit of an adventure for me. First off I’m always feeling resentful when I buy pants because I have to buy them fairly often. My braces tear terrible holes in most of my pants and not in a cool “Rock Star” sort of way, but more in the “They Really Frown Upon the Hobo Look at Work” way. The second is that I can never find pants that really fit me because awesome nerve damage digestive issues have kept me about 20 pounds underweight. Since most stores have psychotic sizing that makes no sense, I have pants varying from size 00 to size 4.

There’s an outlet mall near where I live so my plan of action with pants is to just go there and sift through the weird discount racks in the back for the smallest pants I can find that only cost four dollars a pair. This has worked pretty well for most of my adult life.

So the other day I did a round of discount diving and bought some pants. They were a brand I had bought before so I didn’t bother to try them on before I left. However, I needed some excitement in my life so I decided to try on my new pants when I arrived home.

It was at this juncture that I discovered something was amiss. There was a swimsuit- type lining inside the pants and they were stuffed with… something. I thought perhaps the tags would offer some explanation so I started reading the instruction manual that was attached to my pants. I was thus informed that the pants I bought had been equipped with a “butt enhancer” to give me the gift of sexier curves and a more flattering fit.

I couldn’t believe I had just accidentally bought a push up bra for my butt. But I can’t say I wasn’t curious. I went for it.

I then stood there looking in the mirror reenacting the “gay deceivers” scene from The Glass Menagerie from that time in college when I played Laura Wingfield:



Let’s just say my body is not well served by a butt enhancer.

Luckily the butt enhancer in both pairs of pants was removable and the pants fit fine without this feature.

I live under a rock so I’m sure butt enhancers have been in pants for awhile I just wasn’t aware. However, I’m going to guess that the butt enhancer is not yet as popular or as widely used as push up bras.

Now, I’ve heard plenty of arguments about how push up bras are all lies and they’re bad for women’s body image and they’re ruining the country. I’ll admit I used to feel this way. As a visibly disabled woman it was fairly aggravating to think so many women “needed” something like a push up bra to compete with societal beauty standards. I wanted women to feel happy in their own bodies, but even more so I was insecure with my own body – at the time I figured if your apparent cup size could make or break your appearance, things like my leg braces and ileostomy doomed me to a life of sub-standard relationships and opportunities.

I’ve chilled out a lot in that department and discovered I can have a disability and also have awesome relationships and a vibrant sexuality.

I also understand that different women want different things from their bras and push-ups are no more or less evil than any other type of bra. I used to be crazy for bralettes but now I really like the structure and coverage of T-shirt type bras. I even own *gasp* a push up.

But the butt enhancer did bring back a lot of memories to times when I was insecure about myself and was fixated on dressing my body. I used to wear really uncomfortable clothes because I thought they would make me fit in or be more socially fashionable than clothes that were comfortable or stylish to me. I wanted to diminish visible aspects of my disability and enhance sexual aspects – including my curves.

I remember quite well when a crush I had in college posted on a social media site that he thought skinny women were gross and he wanted to date a woman with curves not a woman who had “the body of a ten year old boy.” Considering my struggle with being underweight this statement made me really self-conscious. 

And while extra padding in the rear would be the last thing many women would want in their pants, I wonder if I would have gone after the butt enhancer at the time, thinking it would help me be more attractive. At that time I was often turning to mainstream remedies to “fix” my body, though I was usually doing myself a huge disservice, being even more uncomfortable and worried about what other people thought about me rather than making my own memories and enjoying my body.

No, I’m afraid that a butt enhancer does not give my 5’0’’ Flapper frame a sexier veneer. It might be the right thing for some other women out there, but not me. And that’s all right. From now on I’ll just make sure to check the labels before I buy pants. Not to mention I now have some plushy things to perhaps make some vulva puppets or something.

For some further reading check out a post I wrote about body positivity or this article from the Lingerie Lesbian, “Sex, Lies, and the Politics of Padded Bras.”

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