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Modesty Garments Language 101

Updated: Nov 30, 2023

In the evolving landscape of film and theatre, the need for a language that reflects inclusivity, devoid of gender stereotypes and political connotations, is more crucial than ever. Modesty garments, an integral part of on-screen intimacy storytelling, can be reframed to contribute to a more diverse and respectful narrative.

Here's how INTIMASK's product development team embarked on the journey of creating a de-sexualised, de-political, and non-gendered language around these essential wardrobe elements.

1. Avoid Stereotypical Imagery

Steer clear of imagery or language that perpetuates stereotypes related to modesty. Challenge preconceptions by choosing visuals and words that break away from conventional representations, embracing a more diverse and accepting language.

2. Embrace Inclusivity in Terminology

Start by reconsidering the language used to describe modesty garments and genitalia. Opt for terms that emphasise aims and functionality such as: "modesty garments" or "intimacy garments" or "modesty wear" can help shift the focus away from traditional labels that carry gendered or political undertones like "jock strap" or "cock sock".

Prioritise "external genitalia" and "internal genitalia" rather than "penis" and "vulva" for the latter terms can be excluding.

3. Highlight Functionality and Structure

Describe or call modesty garments by their functional aspects and how they are structured. Emphasising the function and structure can contribute to a more neutral and inclusive dialogue.

For examples, prioritise using the words "Thong", "Brief", "Shorts", "Pouch", "Strap", "Strapless" "Nipple Covers", "Tape" rather than terms which associate garments or product to certain genders or to particular disciplines such as "Dance Belt", "Jock Strap", "Boy Shorts", "Penis Pouch", "Nipple Daisies/Flowers", "Fashion Tape" etc.

4. Educate and Raise Awareness

Promote understanding among cast, crew and costume teams about the importance of a language shift. You can chat to the show's Intimacy Coordinator or Intimacy Director or LGBTQIA+ Consultant on language and the impact of words on inclusivity. Encourage open conversations that foster a shared commitment to creating a respectful environment which is trauma informed.

6. Solicit Feedback from Cast and Crew

Create a feedback loop within the production team to continually refine language and practices. Encourage open communication, allowing everyone involved to contribute to the ongoing evolution of a language that respects individual preferences and identities. Every cast and team can be different and may have their preferences as long as others are not affected in a negative fashion.

By consciously reshaping the discourse around modesty garments and barriers, the film and theatre industry can contribute to a more inclusive and respectful environment. This commitment to language transformation aligns with the broader goal of fostering creativity and storytelling that transcends gender and politics, inviting audiences into a world that celebrates the rich diversity of human experiences.

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