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#1
Old 04-11-2008, 05:54 AM
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Panties: My Young Daughter Asks...

No, I'm not a pervert! My 8 year old daughter wants to know why they print patterns on girls underwear if no one sees it. A practical question! What would you say to this?
#2
Old 04-11-2008, 06:05 AM
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Because it's cute? I'd bet large sums of money that they sell a lot better than plain white panties, or even plain colored panties, regardless of whether the girls choose them themselves or whether their mothers buy them. Even we guys will sometimes buy underwear with patterns now that there are some available.
#3
Old 04-11-2008, 06:11 AM
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Because a thing can be pretty, even if noone is looking at it!

If you really want to blow her mind, show her the beautiful work watchmakers do on the back of clocks...
#4
Old 04-11-2008, 06:11 AM
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Hmm...

Cute? Hmm, there must be something very Freudian subliminally at work here! I bet in the garment business, this falls into the "don't ask, don't tell" bin!
#5
Old 04-11-2008, 06:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandra_nz
Because a thing can be pretty, even if noone is looking at it!

If you really want to blow her mind, show her the beautiful work watchmakers do on the back of clocks...
Huh? I guess I better start looking myself! Do you mean antique clocks, or does it include the Wal-Mart line?
#6
Old 04-11-2008, 06:18 AM
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It's an interesting question - and it's great when kids ask stuff in that way.

Maybe you could nudge her towards appreciating the answer for herself, by asking how she would feel about owning/wearing underwear in some horrible colour (olive drab, perhaps).

Last edited by Mangetout; 04-11-2008 at 06:19 AM.
#7
Old 04-11-2008, 06:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinx
Huh? I guess I better start looking myself! Do you mean antique clocks, or does it include the Wal-Mart line?
Hmm...I'd say antique clocks (in a museum) and well-made clocks, perhaps not the Wal-Mart line.

And of course, clockmakers make clocks. Watchmakers make watches.
#8
Old 04-11-2008, 06:38 AM
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It's not just little girls, little boys love to have Spiderman, Lightening McQueen, Bob the Builder or Thomas undies.

Little girls are no different to most in society...they buy into advertising and stereotypes. Having a fairy on your knickers means you are a real girl, knowing you don't have pink undies and you prefer trains to fairies means you are a real boy.

If you listen to what little children believe it is possible to hear the worst of our societies. They are sponges, they hear things and translate them into basics like what colour shoes boys should wear, girls should always wear pink and "only girls like Barbie".

I know a three year old boy who LOVES dress ups (fairy costumes mostly) but he can only wear them if he thinks no one is watching. It is sad his creative play is so stifled.

Girls love fairy/Barbie/Dora knickers because they have always been given to them and they have a very clear idea of what being a girl means....it doesn't mean Bob the Builder undies.

Last edited by calm kiwi; 04-11-2008 at 06:40 AM.
#9
Old 04-11-2008, 06:46 AM
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I grew up in a tighty-whitey atmosphere. I thought colored underwear was girly. If it was my turn to fold clothes when they came out of the dryer, I handled the girls'/women's stuff like it was toxic waste.

Anyway. They probably have to color even the white stuff to make it pure white. So why not use other colors? Then you don't have to do a separate loads for whites. Patterns? Variety I guess.

When she starts changing out for gym class, other girls will see what fabulous undies she has and be all jealous.
#10
Old 04-11-2008, 06:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandra_nz
Because a thing can be pretty, even if noone is looking at it!
That's like the tree falling in the wood with no living creature around...
#11
Old 04-11-2008, 07:27 AM
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/hijack

When I was a little girl, I remember being so incredible frustrated with the designs available for girls. I was really into fairies, and into all things fairytale, and I would have loved fairytale underwear, even if no-one but me and the fantasies I made up myself would see it.
But the choices available to me, were the last clothes a real fairy would wear. Would fairies wear bright pink polyester jammies with shrill prints of disney-fairies on them? Hell no! Why couldn't I get undies made from rose petals or leaves or insect wings or dandelion fluff, like a real fairy?

In the end, I settled for nostalgic white cotton underwear, if I could get it. At least then I could pretend to be a girl from Ye Olden Times When fairytales happened. Which was not as good as fairy underwear, but hey, I knew when to settle.
#12
Old 04-11-2008, 08:17 AM
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Your daughter is observant and curious, [B]Jinx.[I] I suggest telling her something thoroughly untrue (underwear designs protect you from radioactive fallout!) and letting her run on her own. A smart kid like that will understand.
#13
Old 04-11-2008, 08:30 AM
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As the father of two (not-so-young-now) daughters, there's a very simple answer to this.

Parents take young daughter to undies shop. Daughter sees panties, displayed in see through wrapping. Plain white panties - walks past. Panties with pretty patterns, flowers, fairies, latest cartoon characters: 'Daddy - I want one, please, please, please, now. I'll die if I don't have it. I'll scream if I can't have it...' You get the picture. That's why they have pretty patterns.

Last edited by NineToTheSky; 04-11-2008 at 08:32 AM.
#14
Old 04-11-2008, 08:49 AM
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The simplest answer is that someone does see it - your daughter herself! We dress to please ourselves as well as others.
#15
Old 04-11-2008, 09:24 AM
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Okay, then I must have been the only girl who thought the hearts and flowers stuff was garish and gaudy and hideous. It made me not want to show it to people, so I guess you could say it still served a good purpose.
#16
Old 04-11-2008, 09:53 AM
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Also, the days of the week 1) remind you what day it is, and 2) remind you to change your underwear!
#17
Old 04-11-2008, 10:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calm kiwi
It's not just little girls, little boys love to have ... Lightening McQueen ...
Makes it fun to flash somebody and yell "Ka-CHOW!"
#18
Old 04-11-2008, 11:27 AM
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In our house, the princess or fairy or Hello Kitty motif on the front helps tremendously in assisting a small person in figuring out which side of the undies is the front side. All over patterns get worn backwards half the time (but the wearer doesn't seem to mind).

And the more mature answer is that it's nice to wear pretty things even if you're the only one who gets to appreciate them. (this argument does not work on your mother when you're 20 and home from college and she starts ribbing you about all the Victoria's Secrets she's seeing in the laundry)
#19
Old 04-11-2008, 11:33 AM
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And if there's more than one girl in the house, the patterns can be used to sort out whose panties are whose.
#20
Old 04-11-2008, 11:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calm kiwi
It's not just little girls, little boys love to have Spiderman, Lightening McQueen, Bob the Builder or Thomas undies.

Little girls are no different to most in society...they buy into advertising and stereotypes. Having a fairy on your knickers means you are a real girl, knowing you don't have pink undies and you prefer trains to fairies means you are a real boy.

If you listen to what little children believe it is possible to hear the worst of our societies. They are sponges, they hear things and translate them into basics like what colour shoes boys should wear, girls should always wear pink and "only girls like Barbie".

I know a three year old boy who LOVES dress ups (fairy costumes mostly) but he can only wear them if he thinks no one is watching. It is sad his creative play is so stifled.

Girls love fairy/Barbie/Dora knickers because they have always been given to them and they have a very clear idea of what being a girl means....it doesn't mean Bob the Builder undies.
I dont know... I think society has evolved all those things for a reason. But yes, little kids are a great mirror into how all of us are. The overwhelming "cool" emotion that kids feel at the sight of superman underwear is the same one that directs our buying choices throughout life, wedding us to brands and other meaningless things. It has a huge effect on the market that economists usually don't think about, and it makes the market less fluid and effective. Still, one can't ignore that those feelings exist in us for an evolutionary reason, and even in economics we have no idea what things would be like if the "cool" emotion or aspiration toward stereotypes didn't exist.
#21
Old 04-11-2008, 12:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinx
No, I'm not a pervert! My 8 year old daughter wants to know why they print patterns on girls underwear if no one sees it. A practical question! What would you say to this?
A linguistics lecturer I heard talked about how cathedrals have ornate and elaborate carvings way up high on the backs of things where nobody could possibly see them. (He didn't explain how he learned that without seeing them.) He says useless elaboration is just something humans do for the heck of it.

This is how he explained some of the seemingly pointless curlicues that creep into language over time. Perhaps this post is another example!
#22
Old 04-11-2008, 01:34 PM
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I don't know about when I was young, but once I hit an age where I wanted to start expressing my individuality, having underwear and socks that were different from those my sister had seemed important to me. Those were hers and these are mine and we are not the same (we are 2 years apart in age, but still, there are times when we were just treated as "the girls" as if we were one entity!)

Even now, I like wearing different colours and patterns and styles, because I chose them and they are fun for me to have (my husband tends to like them too, but that isn't always why I choose certain items over others on a daily basis!) Especially at work, where we had to wear relatively boring clothes and a lab coat that pretty much hid everything anyways - at least I knew that under the plain white coat and the cheap pants (I worked in a lab, I destroyed more than one pair of pants to chemicals!), I was wearing [insert crazy coloured/patterned] underwear! And socks with monkeys on them. You can make me wear business casual, but you are not taking away my monkey socks!
#23
Old 04-11-2008, 01:50 PM
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Well, I've always been a girl, and I never understood it either. What's the point? You can't even see them yourself most of the time. I go for maximum comfort. Also, plain white cotton can be washed in hot water with bleach.

When I was a kid a popular style for little girls was starched crinolines. Salesclerks would try to talk me into them. NO! ITCHY! DO NOT WANT!
#24
Old 04-11-2008, 02:18 PM
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This is probably more technical than she's ready for, but in economics this is part of what's called "monopolistic competitition." If a product is not differentiated from competitors at all, it is a commodity, and there is no economic profit to be made. If a product can be differentiated by its features, profit can be made. In other words, if all underwear were plain white, everyone would just shop based on price. If there is a wide variety available, some people will be willing to pay a little bit more to get a color, picture, or design they like.
#25
Old 04-11-2008, 02:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harriet the Spry
If a product is not differentiated from competitors at all, it is a commodity, and there is no economic profit to be made.
Surely you don't mean no profit? Otherwise why does anybody bother to sell pork bellies, or whatever? Or is the commodities market truly a gambler's proposition?

There's a gamble to differentiation, too. If you emblazon panties with an icon that just doesn't "hit," you'll lose out to the folks who sell the plain white version.

Last edited by mwbrooks; 04-11-2008 at 02:32 PM.
#26
Old 04-11-2008, 02:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinx
No, I'm not a pervert! My 8 year old daughter wants to know why they print patterns on girls underwear if no one sees it. A practical question! What would you say to this?
[Bolding Mine]

Of course someone sees it. The person buying it sees it. The person wearing it sees it. So, besides advertising itself to the buyer, its for the person who wears it. Its printed just for your daughter!

At least that's what I told my kids.
#27
Old 04-11-2008, 03:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mwbrooks
Surely you don't mean no profit? Otherwise why does anybody bother to sell pork bellies, or whatever? Or is the commodities market truly a gambler's proposition?
"Economic profit" is something of a tricky concept. Zero economic profit basically means no windfall--you're making just the amount of money the competitive market will bear, which covers all your costs as well as your opportunity costs, just nothing extra. It's as if I opened a store which brought me a profit of, say $25/hr. If I could earn that same $25/hr by working for somebody else, then my store is bringing in zero economic profit.
#28
Old 04-11-2008, 04:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iwakura43
"Economic profit" is something of a tricky concept. Zero economic profit basically means no windfall--you're making just the amount of money the competitive market will bear, which covers all your costs as well as your opportunity costs, just nothing extra. It's as if I opened a store which brought me a profit of, say $25/hr. If I could earn that same $25/hr by working for somebody else, then my store is bringing in zero economic profit.
Yep.
#29
Old 04-11-2008, 06:52 PM
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i'm still wondering about the ones with drink recipies on the tush in size 6x. i do hope kidlets who wear that size don't drink salty dogs.
#30
Old 04-12-2008, 01:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MLS
When I was a kid a popular style for little girls was starched crinolines. Salesclerks would try to talk me into them. NO! ITCHY! DO NOT WANT!
Exactly how old are you? Crinolines haven't been worn commonly since the late 1800s.
#31
Old 04-12-2008, 09:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rocking chair
i'm still wondering about the ones with drink recipies on the tush in size 6x. i do hope kidlets who wear that size don't drink salty dogs.
Do these really exist?
I sure wouldn't buy 'em for my 8YO! Of course, I would never buy her shorts that had words printed right across her butt, either, because I thought it was tacky as hell.

But the relevant points have all been made, I think:
One, we tend to wear what pleases us. As an adult, I will sometimes buy undies I think my hubby will appreciate, but mostly I buy ones that make me feel good.
Two, especially if the rest of your wardrobe is/has to be boring, fancy undies and socks are a way to feel a little more like you have some control over what you wear.
Three, if you have more than one little girl in the house, it makes sorting easier (such-and-such has the panties with flowers, so-and-so has the ones with the stripes). It's a lot easier than having to search out the size tag every single time (and from a visual standpoint, it ain't easy to tell the difference between a pair of size 8 panties and size 10 panties)
Four, they catch the attention of the kid and/or person doing the buying, hanging on the store racks, so are more likely to make money than the plain white ones.

FWIW, my 8YO mudgirl, who could care less if she ever owns anything with the Disney Princesses, and will always bypass Barbies in favor of Matchbox cars or something you build with, prefers solid-color bikini panties with a white elastic that has a coordinating color-stripe around the band. (And no, she doesn't think of bikinis as sexy; she has something of a tummy, and the bikinis are more comfortable for her than the ones that come up higher). She has also expressed interest in boy-short style undies, but I think that's just because that's what I wear.
#32
Old 04-12-2008, 12:19 PM
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One of my favorite strips in Calvin and Hobbes has Calvin strutting around looking all proud of himself in the first frame. The second frame has him losing some of the spring in his step. Third frame, he's hunched over with his hands in his pockets:

"What's the point of wearing your rocket ship underwear if nobody ever asks to see it?"

Last edited by kaylasdad99; 04-12-2008 at 12:21 PM. Reason: Codding. Hey, at least it wasn't speling this time.
#33
Old 04-12-2008, 12:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleel
Exactly how old are you? Crinolines haven't been worn commonly since the late 1800s.
Exactly 61 years and 11 months. Crinolines were common for girls' dresses and skirts in the 1950s. You can see some examples here.
#34
Old 04-12-2008, 08:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinx
No, I'm not a pervert! My 8 year old daughter wants to know why they print patterns on girls underwear if no one sees it. A practical question! What would you say to this?

Too bad you could not order up that Episode of Whose the Boss, when Alyssa Milano, being a percosius 10 or 11 year old, told Tony Daniels, that she wanted the training bra with the flowers.

Declan
#35
Old 04-12-2008, 10:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aldiboronti
The simplest answer is that someone does see it - your daughter herself! We dress to please ourselves as well as others.
This. I'd rather know I'm wearing pretty underwear, and I'm more likely to wear underwear that's pretty. Just for me. (And she doesn't need to know about my husband liking my pretty underwear.)
#36
Old 04-12-2008, 10:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lobotomyboy63
I grew up in a tighty-whitey atmosphere. I thought colored underwear was girly. If it was my turn to fold clothes when they came out of the dryer, I handled the girls'/women's stuff like it was toxic waste.
I did too. Imagine my embarrassment when the pair that accidentally got washed with the red blanket was packed for my overnight at my pal David's house (David Matthews, but not THAT Dave Matthews).

David's mom pulled the pink briefs out of my bag and made a huge scene.

Would you like to see my scars?

Of course it strengthened me. Later, when I joined a fraternity in college, the lads were freaked out by my COLORFUL and unusually brief underwear. I like to think it strengthened them.

Now that I'm over 50, I've long since learned that an astonishing number of people see my underwear. Kids need to know this.
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