[Ads-l] more from chatting w/ costume historians re: "teddy" the undergarment

Amy West medievalist at W-STS.COM
Wed Jan 27 16:29:43 UTC 2016

So, I've asked the costume historians I know about why there might be 
the appearance of the term "teddy bear combination" as opposed to just 
"combination," since that term had been around for a while.

Some said just fad/marketing, trying to ride the wave of teddy bear 

I asked, "Could there also be a hint of intimacy by adding in 'teddy 
bear'? Could there be infantilization of women by its use? Equating 
women with the toy? (That's really the realm of semantics, pragmatics, 
and sociolinguistics rather than etymoloy, though. . . .)"

And one responded, "Definitely infantization of women in the 
'teens--look at the artwork--so much baby sexualization starting, while 
losing the hourglass figure and childbearing hips...."

I also asked, "What, if anything, was different about these combinations?"

And another responded, "Some differences between combinations and 
teddies: Combinations were generally made of cotton. They were 
  sleeveless with knee length legs. Teddies, on the other hand, begin to 
be made more often out of lighter, thinner materials including silk. 
While still sleeveless, the legs shorten to be mid to high thigh length."

---Amy West

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list