Play Out Underwear is the first line of gender neutral undies. It was designed by Abby Sugar and Sylvie Lardeux, who wanted to create a line of “lesbian-inspired, gender neutral” underwear for women. No frills, lace or pink bows are to be found in this line that prioritizes comfort and style. And it’s a breath of fresh air when it comes to lingerie. Just saying the word ‘lingerie’ in your mind will immediately remind you of super sexy and uber uncomfortable pieces of clothing from Victoria’s Secret. But that is exactly what you won’t find in these amazing designers’ clothes.
The collection features cute boxer briefs with fun prints, but in a shape that flatters a woman’s body. Despite this, the designers say that Play Out is for men, women and anybody who identifies as in between. They also claimed that creating these androgynous undies was a way to break out of the constrictive gender binary. “we strongly believe that personal style is a huge part of feeling comfortable in your own skin”, they said.
Despite the fact that their brand is marketing mostly to the gender queer community, they insist that their ideal consumer is anyone looking for comfort and style, with a tomboy aesthetic. Their ultimate goal is to redefine concepts of femininity, gender and sex appeal. Which is why in their latest campaign, they decided to feature three breast cancer survivors as models to highlight their beauty.
As much as 58% of breast cancer survivors choose not to have reconstruction surgery. For play out, this doesn’t mean they are less beautiful, less feminine or less sexy. Melanie Testa, Jodi Jaecks and Emily Jensen were the three survivors modeling for the campaign, together with androgynous model Rain Dove.
Play Out wasn’t alone in creating this campaign. They were collaborating with a new LGBTQ oriented breast cancer support community, FlatTopper Pride, founded by Emily Jensen. Gender expression and cancer are undoubtedly related, as women are told all their lives that breasts are the most important part of femininity. “These scars are a testament to what I have been through”, writes Jensen. “But more importantly, they are a testament of what I intend to do with those experiences”.
“I refuse to hide my scars away as though I am ashamed of them or of my body”, says Jensen on her website. And showing their scars can be an important part of healing for many cancer survivors as well. It is a way to regain agency and ownership of their bodies after such a difficult and invasive experience. “This is a body that I refuse to keep hidden”, said Jensen.
This campaign is looking to normalize different bodies. To spread the idea that owning breasts is not necessary for being a woman and that gender presentation is a very individual, personal thing. But above all, to remind us that scars are not shameful. “I felt lost as a patient and a statistic throughout two years of treatment”, said Jensen. “Now that I have regained my agency, I want to use my voice and my story to spread information about this very important and all-too-common experience because they are the most powerful tools I have”.