Comments on: [Guest Post] Lingerie, Women and Eroticism: A Brief Study of the 21st Century Agent Provocateur Woman (Part 1/2) /2013/03/26/guest-post-lingerie-women-and-eroticism-a-brief-study-of-the-21st-century-agent-provocateur-woman-part-12/ A feminist pop culture adventure Sun, 05 Mar 2017 18:44:05 +0000 hourly 1 By: Farewell to Agent Provocateur – Rarely Wears Lipstick /2013/03/26/guest-post-lingerie-women-and-eroticism-a-brief-study-of-the-21st-century-agent-provocateur-woman-part-12/#comment-489487 Sun, 05 Mar 2017 18:44:05 +0000 […] woman (turning it into a two part guest post for feminist pop culture blog Bad Reputation: 1. Agent Provocateur, Discourse and Performativity and 2. The Myth of the Agent Provocateur Woman) and that’s when I began to realise that the […]

By: M /2013/03/26/guest-post-lingerie-women-and-eroticism-a-brief-study-of-the-21st-century-agent-provocateur-woman-part-12/#comment-30643 Wed, 24 Apr 2013 11:52:00 +0000 In reply to Lori Smith.

An entirely unenhanced (and happily cake-enjoying) 30HH here! Just flagging up my agreement with this. :)

Generally my experience is that the majority of retailers do not cater to larger cup sizes. Places which do are often (when it’s an in-house brand like M&S) not great at making adjustments to the design that actually makes the bra fit me properly. I am effectively Bravissimo’s captive market on this – I’d love to write/read something analysing *their* marketing, actually, because it’s very “love your curves” – so far, so predictable – but I’m never 100% sure about it all the same. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is, though!

By: Lori Smith /2013/03/26/guest-post-lingerie-women-and-eroticism-a-brief-study-of-the-21st-century-agent-provocateur-woman-part-12/#comment-30638 Wed, 24 Apr 2013 11:09:42 +0000 In reply to Pet Jeffery.

I take a 32E in some brands and my assets are due to a love of pie and cake, so I don’t think that women need to have had surgery to fit into small back sizes and large cups. However, I think you might be right about them only stocking sizes which fit the image they are trying to project these days. They are a large enough brand that they could easily afford to offer a wider range than they do.

By: Pet Jeffery /2013/03/26/guest-post-lingerie-women-and-eroticism-a-brief-study-of-the-21st-century-agent-provocateur-woman-part-12/#comment-30584 Tue, 23 Apr 2013 19:05:10 +0000 In reply to Miranda.

Since I had no intention of buying, I hadn’t bothered to check their sizes. Now that I do so, I find that the largest knicker size seems to be 14-16. I checked a random bra, and found what seemed to me a bizarre size range. It was available 32, 34 or 36, each of those available with a B, C, D or DD cup. It’s surely hardly a reflection of the female population as a whole. (I just checked on Marks and Spencer site, and found a very different size range… very much to my relief.) To take just one of those Agent Provocateur sizes, I wonder how many women fit a 32DD bra without silicon enhancement.

There may be feminist issues around the sizes, in so far as they represent what is considered a “sexy” size to be. It may be that (as a commercial company) Agent Provocateur produce the sizes for which there is a demand. On the other hand, the size range they offer is probably at least in part dictated by the image they wish to project.

And… I just wonder what kind of a woman wants a 32DD bra and is prepared to pay £95 for it.

By: Miranda /2013/03/26/guest-post-lingerie-women-and-eroticism-a-brief-study-of-the-21st-century-agent-provocateur-woman-part-12/#comment-30568 Tue, 23 Apr 2013 13:59:06 +0000 In reply to Pet Jeffery.

I can’t buy anything from them even with the money – I’m too top-heavy! :S

By: Pet Jeffery /2013/03/26/guest-post-lingerie-women-and-eroticism-a-brief-study-of-the-21st-century-agent-provocateur-woman-part-12/#comment-30567 Tue, 23 Apr 2013 13:53:42 +0000 I can see why people on Bad Rep are interested in Agent Provocateur — because it projects powerful images about femininity.

All the same, I find it hard to engage with Agent Provocateur on any level. It doesn’t seem to have much to do with the world I inhabit. It is a brand of very expensive underwear. I wear (an buy) underwear, I expect we all do, and prefer to wear reasonable quality brands. I usually opt for Marks and Spencers or Sloggi. But Agent Provocateur knickers (ignoring the thongs) seem to run from £45 a pair to £125. I wouldn’t consider paying those kind of prices, nor (I feel confident) would anyone in my circle of acquaintance.

Perhaps Agent Provocateur might seem to belong in the real world if I lived in Bankside or Hampstead. Alas, I actually live in Leytonstone. Is this a class issue?

By: Lisa /2013/03/26/guest-post-lingerie-women-and-eroticism-a-brief-study-of-the-21st-century-agent-provocateur-woman-part-12/#comment-30129 Thu, 18 Apr 2013 10:00:51 +0000 In reply to Lori Smith.

Hey Lori,

I mention femme because I think the argument against femme is a more sophisticated and inclusive form of the argument against femininity. Most of us can see the problem, in some way or other, with white femininity. But I think those problems are obscured when it’s argued that by introducing an active component, we can make it work for us. That’s the strategy I’m referring to when I say “femme”. I use the word “ironic” to mean a form of expression which includes multiple levels of meaning as well as an intentionality about that multiplicity.

I don’t think it’s a worthless strategy; I understand why many women use it, and I think that if you only think in an individual framework – what’s the best thing that I can do if I’m the only one who does anything, and nobody coordinates their action? – it actually makes good sense. For some people. But I think it also has some limitations on who can do it, and who it most helps. I’m not one of the people who can do it, and I’m not one of the people who considers herself helped by it!

If you’re interested in the reasoning behind my thoughts, I’ve written them out at more length on my tumblr, and on where they fit into a framework of sexual liberation in my series on feminist desire, particularly here and here.

in sisterhood,

By: Lori Smith /2013/03/26/guest-post-lingerie-women-and-eroticism-a-brief-study-of-the-21st-century-agent-provocateur-woman-part-12/#comment-29916 Mon, 15 Apr 2013 11:19:18 +0000 In reply to Lisa.

I like the phrase ‘bargains with patriarchy’ – it sums up what you’re saying perfectly. I can see how/why you have issues with femininity as the bar against which all women (trans or cis) are judged. I have been reading an interesting book on female masculinity that highlights all sorts of issues that women who don’t present as traditionally feminine have to face.

It’s interesting that you mention ‘femme’ because I’d always thought (based on what femme friends have told me about their identity) that it was based on a rejection of traditional femininity and a reclaiming of supposedly feminine things. Therefore, femme is a performance that anyone, regardless of gender, can undertake. I guess it’s not quite that straightforward as you have to be choosing to bend/break these patriarchal rules… does that make femme an ‘ironic’ embracing of femininity? I’m not sure.

By: Lisa /2013/03/26/guest-post-lingerie-women-and-eroticism-a-brief-study-of-the-21st-century-agent-provocateur-woman-part-12/#comment-29600 Fri, 12 Apr 2013 12:51:58 +0000 In reply to Lori Smith.

Thanks for the engaged response, Lori. I worried after leaving my first comment that it had come across too snarky, even though I certainly didn’t mean it that way!

For me it helps to be transsexual in doing this kind of analysis, because that explodes the fictions around femininity. For me and I suspect a lot of trans* women (as well as many others), there’s nothing glamorous about femininity. It’s exposed to us very clearly as brutal hard work which comes at significant cost.

There are all kinds of bargains with patriarchy which some women (e.g. white, judged “thin”, not-visibly-disabled cissexual women) can make which just aren’t available to many of us. I don’t use the word “bargain” to suggest collusion or blame women; I mean it more as making a trade-off for reasons of survival/self-worth. But it’s important that life as a woman is patriarchally designed to only be survivable through making many of those trade-offs, yet not everyone has access to them.

Dressing up in Agent Provocateur, I suggest, is one of them. A woman gets a certain kind of self-worth, a certain feeling of power, at a certain cost. That’s a bargain she makes. Not all of us can. So I think the cost can be clearer for those of us who can’t make it, because we can see it from the outside with less temptation or confusion.

Femme, for some women, can be playful/fun. But in my case, femme is trying to kill me. Femininity is the standard against which I’m judged and found wanting. Every cissexual and transsexual woman who rejects femininity makes it easier for me and all women to survive by making femininity less compulsory for women as a class. “Ironic” embrace of it sadly doesn’t do much to liberate me from its standards!

By: The Sex History I’ve Been Reading – Silent Porn Star /2013/03/26/guest-post-lingerie-women-and-eroticism-a-brief-study-of-the-21st-century-agent-provocateur-woman-part-12/#comment-28851 Thu, 04 Apr 2013 15:18:17 +0000 […] on Lingerie, Women and Eroticism: A Brief Study of the 21st Century Agent Provocateur Woman (Part 1 of […]