Diana Oh: {my lingerie play}

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My lingerie play is Diana Oh’s brainchild: ten underground street performance installations in my lingerie that culminate into an 80 minute solo concert-play about Diana’s lingerie collection. In her first installation, Diana stands wearing lingerie, sunglasses, a sun hat, on top of a soap box in the streets of New York, holding brown paper bags bearing messages that challenge the way we talk about women. Her feminist project strives to create a safer, saner, more respectful world for women to live in.

How do feel your brand of feminism fits in with others’?

Honestly, I fucking love my brand of feminism. I think it’s the shit. Mostly people and other feminists are supportive. The message of {my lingerie play} is awesome: stop being shitty. Period. Some people don’t read the project closely enough and just react to a single picture of me standing in public in my lingerie and call me horrible things, which is all part of the project too. I want to show people’s responses and how one picture of a woman standing in lingerie can make a person feel very violent and judgmental reactions. I mean, that’s just so ludicrous. You can have people killing each other and ripping each other apart and rape lyrics on the radio, but a woman in her underwear? How dare this world encourage such behavior! If people don’t read the brown paper bags, then yes the message is lost. But I guarantee you this – when you read the paper bags, your mind will be blown and changed forever.

Does your work seek to subvert the representation of women found in the mainstream lingerie industry – as exemplified by the Victoria’s Secret fashion show – or are you advocating an attitude to lingerie and to female sexuality which can stand alongside this industry?

Just don’t tell us that thin is the only way to be a beautiful woman and I’m happy. For now, yes, {my lingerie play} subverts what Victoria’s Secret represents in terms of acceptable female body image, but it also stands in support of Victoria’s Secret as {my lingerie play} encourages women owning their sexuality and not being shunned or degraded for expressing it. I think Victoria’s Secret needs to play catch up and can do better in terms of representing a wider gamut of women, encouraging healthy body image and female sexuality that doesn’t just serve a male dominated society and audience.

Is there a problem with lingerie itself or purely with how it is perceived? 

No, I think lingerie is awesome. I think it’s the people who talk shit about lingerie are the messed up ones. But I think lingerie is awesome. Men can hang out on billboards in underwear and it’s fine, women do the same, and she’s a “slutwhoreskankbitch.” That’s fucked up. People are threatened by the word “lingerie” in a way that they aren’t by the word “underwear.” We must drop the slut shaming and dehumanizing; it feeds into unacceptable violence against women all over the world. We’ve been taught that women attract violence, attention, catcalling, violation and that they’re asking for it. And this needs to stop. Immediately.

Do you think women wear lingerie for themselves or purely for their partners? Does lingerie have the potential to be truly empowering for women?

I think this whole women doing things for men bullshit needs to stop. My final installation assesses my personal journey with lingerie, from wearing it for lovers to wearing it for myself, to learning about how fucked my own narrative was inside of my head because of what I was taught to think growing up. Lingerie is empowering because being loving yourself and owning yourself is empowering. It’s only disempowering if you are consistently making choices for other people – that’s unhealthy and gross. I’m done with all these advice articles I grew up with telling me how to style my hair to get a hot husband. I mean, teach me how to connect with human beings. Teach me how to enjoy my life and become a grounded strong human being. Don’t teach me how to lose 70 pounds in four days to have the hottest sex with a hot man.

What kind of lingerie do you wear during your performances? Do you think this choice is important?

I wear my own personal lingerie. I wear what I own. And one set of my lingerie was gifted to me by a company called Nais Lingerie. {my lingerie play} accepts donations of lingerie which I will happily and publicly wear. And please participate in {my lingerie play}: Installation 8/10: The {my lingerie play} Challenge.

 

 

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