Leggings Are Now Dominant in Our Culture

In a recent New York Times article, Vanessa Friedman asks, ” When did leggings make the leap from garment to cultural lightning rod?”

When, indeed? The appeal of leggings is not rocket science. And the priests at Notre Dame know evil when they see it: Women’s legs and butts look terrific in the leggings silhouette. Faux-leather leggings tucked into boots are even more spectacular.

Women on Top

But there is an intellectual background here. One of the big new trends in sexuality over the last thirty years has been “women on top”: women assuming a guiding, or leading, role in sexual encounters (as opposed to the Doris Day image). And there is lots of evidence of female dominance. I rehearse some of this in my book Stormy’s World.

But you don’t have to actually be dominant to look good in tights and boots: You just have to want to look dominant. Because this is the Zeitgeist. This is where our culture is heading, and young women often want to get there first.

It is this element of “women-on-top” that the Times missed in its fashion story: clothes for a big new era that includes “Me Too,” and pushing back against Joe Biden with his octopus hands, and five female candidates in the running for the Democratic presidential nomination. Hillary understood that she had to dress the part, and stalked about on stage in her leather jacket. So did Sarah Palin.

We can go one step farther. Lurking in the background is a kind of bondage-y look that Fifty Shades of Grey touched off. Not that Ana, in the novel, wore faux-leather. But the roleplaying concept set many minds awhirr. Even women who don’t aspire to the bondage look know what works.

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