Lingerie and Morality: Generation Y Kazakhstani Women’s Attitude toward Lingerie

Gulnara Z. Karimova, Aidana Rassilbay, Daniel A. Sauers


This paper explores the tension between ‘resistance’ and ‘obedience’ manifested in narratives concerning lingerie expressed by Kazakhstani women born in the 1980s and 1990s. The attitude of Kazakhstani women toward lingerie and the way they formulate these attitudes illustrate the complex strategies used to negotiate and construct femininity. Such strategies reveal two contradictory beliefs: that of empowerment and suppression. We argue that these contradictory beliefs are the result of the respectable norms of female sexuality being imposed through the mechanisms of power to keep women in line with the requirements of the existing socio-economic structures. In such structures, the labels “vulgar,” “provocative,” and “dissolute” are given to certain types of lingerie and are opposed to those of “modest,” “restrained,” and “decent.” The qualities mentioned as crucial by Kazakhstani women in defining femininity: “kindness,” “affection,” tenderness,” and “modesty” reflect what Friedrich Nietzsche called the ‘slave’ morality that celebrates ‘passivity’ and “weakness.”


Femininity, lingerie, Kazakhstan, attitude, “slave” morality, “docile” bodies


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