Firmly Girdled - Symbolic Subservience

After a couple of days of rather serious and maybe even somber ramblings on my part, i thought i'd share something a little lighter with my readers today.

It's a picture and a piece that reflects many of my own thoughts, fascinations and related fantasies about the ultra-feminine garment known as the girdle.

Like the writer, i also recall how captivating these images were when, after sneaking away with a copy of one of my older sisters' Seventeen Magazine, i would dreamily fantasize about the girls in the pictures.  i was always reluctant to admit i wanted to wear what they were wearing, instead trying to convince myself my feelings were exclusively heterosexual in nature.  But even then, my true feelings were that i wanted to be like them.  It certainly was enjoyable "Early Sissy Reading."


Of all the ads in these copies of Seventeen, one in particular stood out, a simple shot of three girls in pastel underwear: pink, white, and blue. Looking back on it now, it seems a fetishist’s version of Botticelli’s Three Graces. 

In the center was a girl in white pettipants, a baggy, bloomer-like slip substitute that enjoyed a brief vogue during the miniskirt years. She seemed younger than her companions, too young to be appealing to me even then. 

On the right was a pretty blonde in pink bra and half-slip. She knelt demurely, sideways to the camera. I don’t think I’d ever seen a half- slip before; I liked the look, and I still find it sexy.
It was the girl in blue who fascinated me, though.  A striking brunette with a full and frank face, she stood erect and proud at the left side of the photo. Unlike the shy girl in white, or the kneeling, passive girl in pink, the girl in blue seemed completely at ease. She showed no hint of embarrassment at being photographed in her underwear; her dark eyes challenged the camera, fixing the lens with dignity and poise. The more I looked at the girl in blue, the more she seemed a real person: complex, multifaceted, and confident. 

Even in a state of undress, she projected composure and strength. She demanded to be accepted on her own terms, and eventually, in my mind, I came to understand just what those terms were, and why I found her so intriguing. The girl in blue accepted her own sexuality, and she was willing to share it with a partner who acknowledged her equality.

To a teenaged boy whose only previous images of female sexuality were a few tawdry centerfolds, this was a revelation of unparalleled significance. But there was still one paradox to resolve as I contemplated this new concept, because the girl on the left was wearing a pale blue bra and panty girdle. A girdle… an emblem of subservience, not independence! How could this vibrant, self-assured young woman present herself in a garment so symbolic of outmoded conceptions of woman’s role? There was no insecurity about the girl in blue; just the opposite. Surely such a girl would not sacrifice her comfort and freedom for the sake of mere vanity. 

Yet the girl in blue offered no apology for her decision to wear a control garment. You must accept me as I am, her expression said, and not as you think I ought to be. I tried to make sense of this puzzle, and eventually, I distilled an understanding.  

The girl in blue had no illusions about herself, I decided. She knew her strengths, but this confidence bred no arrogance. Instead, it gave her a willingness to accept the strictures of femininity. She had no fear that by doing so she would seem weak; there was no weakness about her. She could accept a minor encumbrance because she was free in more important ways. Because she was strong, she was free to make her own choices, and the choice she made showed me that beauty and grace might coexist with honesty and strength. 

I knew, of course, that the girl in the photograph was a model, paid to wear what an art director told her to wear. She may never have worn a girdle again in her life. It matters not; I know that my perceptions were valid. The girl in blue, as I understood her to be, was every bit as real as any other character created by the interplay between artist and observer. The photographer and the model, working together, had painted a picture of womanhood that has stayed with me to this day. 

~adapted from The Girl in the Pale Blue Girdle, by the Virginian; from: Zona – The Girdle Zone 

I found this on the tumblr site Monica's Vintage Bliss, but i believe the original source is Firmly Girdled.


sissy terri