By Mia Abrahams
Summer is my *season*. I spend the long winter reminiscing about days spent on rooftops and in parks, that one time I went to a public pool and no one threw up (I live in NYC ok, our options are limited). Through those bitterly cold months I look through old photos of sunnier times like I've been through a breakup, and fill online shopping carts with floral skirts and sandals. So, when the first real hot steamy day arrived recently, I was thrilled. I threw on a little sundress and decided to walk to work. It’s such a nice day, after all! Sun is shining, birds are tweetin’, and then 10 blocks from my apartment, I thought — shit.
Thigh chafe, for those of you who aren’t #blessed with thighs that touch, is truly, literally, the worst. Not only is it super painful and uncomfortable, but once you’re out on the streets, there really isn’t much you can do about it except stand still until the temp drops below 75 degrees — and even then you might be in trouble.
But, for something that I assume affects a reasonable amount of women, I rarely ever hear anyone talk about it outside of select body-pos bloggers. Even then, for someone who writes a lot about taboo women’s health issues (masturbation, birth control side effects, heavy periods, painful sex…. Am I missing something?), this is still something even I feel a little #awkward writing about.
Like *so* many things that happen in/on/around our bodies, the fact that thigh-chafing is a huge pain in the ass (or, thigh, I guess) is compounded by this weird silence. We all have to quietly pretend that we “hot dog or legs” our way through summer, breeze drifting through our thigh gaps. We secretly experiment with deodorant, vaseline, forgo dresses and skirts on particularly sticky days, or just make sure we aren’t doing any long distance walking (which, if you live in NYC like me, is virtually impossible).
Well, it’s enough! In the interest of having an open conversation about bodies, I investigated a couple of ways that you and your thighs can glide through summer, chafe-free.
The first option is an actual physical barrier, like wearing spandex short-shorts, or boy short style undies (Lauren from our CX team swears by THINX Boy Shorts for this very reason). This totally works, but might not be ideal when the temps really start soaring.
My preferred method is anti-chafe balm, but I always feel kinda weird browsing a sports store with dark glasses (yes, this is for my boyfriend’s nipples—he’s a marathon runner) or, of course, you can more discreetly order off Amazon.
So, I was thrilled to see that Katie Sturino of the 12ish Style Blog has worked out a way to combat the beauty industry’s insistence that THIS IS NOT AN ISSUE. Her new brand Megababe is making cute, effective, non-toxic, chafe-battling balm. Why has the beauty industry taken soooo long to create products that actually acknowledge real women? Well, why has there been no innovation in the menstrual hygiene industry since the cup was invented in 1937? I can think of a couple of reasons… *cough* womenshealthisstilltaboo *cough*. Being a woman can sometimes be uncomfortable and inconvenient, but it should never be shameful!
Also remember, once it gets hot out there, you can wear *whatever* you like to help you beat the heat (as long as you feel comfortable). Spaghetti straps and short-shorts are as much yours as they are your skinnier sisters’. We all deserve to wear whatever we can to prevent us from melting into a puddle, Wicked Witch-style, on the subway platform.
As feminist and fat-acceptance advocate (her term) writer Lindy West notes in her memoir Shrill (which, also, go and buy and read!), there is something super-powerful about filling your feeds with body-pos imagery. Positive reinforcement does something good in your brain, so big doesn’t always = bad. If you feel like you’re in need of some summer style inspo (and like, who isn’t?) i recommend following @12ishstyle, @kellyaugustineb, @barbienox, @palomija, and @mynameisjessamyn.
What are you doing to beat the heat/chafe? Who are your summer style inspos? Let’s talk about it!