Advertisers have long used handsome men to hawk their wares. In the 20th century, marketers who realized that women did a majority of the household shopping created dashing spokesmen, such as the Arrow Shirt Man, to appeal more to the ladies than the menfolk. And certainly advertising has played an integral role in the male beauty culture that has skyrocketed in the past 20 years, too. In fact, some scholars and experts trace men's heightened attention to self and—more importantly—how they appear to others back to a single, revolutionary image from 1982.
I lived in France for a short time in my carefree younger days, and I have fond memories of their refreshing attitudes about sex (and also soft cheeses): Ne t'inquietes pas! C'est naturel! and so on. However, call it the American prude in me, but I am thoroughly creeped out by this new line of lingerie for girls ages three months and up by the French company Jours Après Lunes. Making out on a park bench or not shaving your armpits or what have you is one thing, but putting a bra on a four-year old is something else entirely.
In response to a news story about a family putting out an oven fire with the mother's "big pants"—that's Brit-speak for granny panties—comes this column from the Times Online's Caitlin Moran on the scourge of "pantorexia." To be honest, I'm not really sure what's going on in this overlong column — Moran basically starts off encouraging women to stop strangling their asses with "sexy pants" and creating the dreaded quad-buttock effect with ill-fitting unmentionables, but then she goes on to bemoan the state of big pants as well. (Apparently the deprtment stores in Old Blighty are overrun with underpants in the hue of an "uncooked pork chop.")