Spanx Are Not A ‘Necessary Evil’ Because They’re Not Necessary (But They Are Kind Of Evil)


Yesterday, Huffington Post published an article by Christine Anderson insisting that women should all own and wear Spanx, regardless of discomfort. This is stupid. Do not listen to her. The post, titled “Katy Perry And Octavia Spencer Swear By Spanx, And You Should Too,” explains that there are certain situations in which all females must utilize shapewear.

“The phrase ‘necessary evil’ says it all. They are painful and annoying, but at times, they are a must-have. Much like thong underwear, they reside in every woman’s underwear drawer, and whether they are worn every day or just scoffed at when pulling out one’s granny panties, they are a staple. We present to you those occasions when the control wear is obligatory.”

Well, no, Spanx are not like thong underwear, actually. While shapewear squeezes your fucking insides like a huge open-ended body condom, thongs are teensy by definition. However, like shapewear, thongs are uncomfortable to many people and therefore by no means necessary. I get the whole “beauty is pain” thing — actually, wait, no I don’t — but if you don’t want a piece of cloth shoved up your asscrack, don’t do so. If you’re looking for a way to get coverage without outward lines, snag some panties without seams. Anderson continues, listing the three situations in which you totally need Spanx or else you’ll look fat and die:

“When donning silk or satin dresses (especially for those holiday parties when one or 10 canapés may or may not pass your lips).”


“Wearing white? Don’t hesitate to wear Spanx. The chances of your clothes being transparent are too high to risk it.”

You know, because slips are extinct.

“Jersey is comfortable, but the thin, stretchy fabric can also show off lumps and bumps. If you’re dressed in dark jersey pants with pockets that cover your behind, no problem. But if you’ve chosen a clingy little dress, consider control wear another layer of protection from leering eyes.” 

Hear that? If you don’t want leering eyes (that obviously have no control over where they look) to peek at your “bumps and lumps,” you had best be wearing Spanx, which is basically like slightly less breathable knight’s armor for women. That jersey fabric you’re so happy about being “comfortable”? Of course you can wear it, but only if you put something non-breathable, uncomfortable and obnoxiously tight underneath. But at least you’ll look like you’re comfy, am I right?

Every ad you’ve ever seen for Spanx includes a model for whom this particular type of clothing would not be deemed “necessary” by most pro-Spanxers (ehrm,, that sounds like a very intense sex club). If their ads were a little more realistic as to the actual customer base, you’d see somebody around a size 10 — a la moi — squeezing her way through shapewear like a terrible actor through an anaconda in a 1997 adventure-horror movie starring Jennifer Lopez and Ice Cube.

Spanx anaconda

Oh, hell no.

In short, no: you do not need to wear or own or worship Spanx to look and feel good. Seriously.

Photo: QVC

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    • Alle

      There have been times where I’ve tried on a dress and thought “Hmm. This makes me look a little lumpy.” I did not then make the jump to “Maybe I should buy a hideous bandage-like girdle!” Instead I BOUGHT ANOTHER DRESS, preferably one that doesn’t make me look like a butternut pumpkin stuffed into a condom.

      Someone should alert this woman to the fact that there are other materials than silk or satin, as we are not 1950s debutantes. And if your outfit is transparent, then maybe…don’t wear it? Unless you are the ACTUAL Christmas angel, I don’t think there’s a holiday event where an all white get-up is mandatory.

      • JennyWren

        This, so much this.

    • Fabel

      Ha, I barely want to leave the house wearing pants most days & “they” are trying to say it’s necessary to also put shapewear on, in addition to everything else I probably don’t want to put on? Fuck that!

    • Maggie

      I think I hate that woman. I wore a pair of Spanx for prom, had them on for pictures, and had to take them off because I could barely breathe (and getting them on was a nightmare. I now know how a sausage feels when it’s made). It’s ridiculous to say that Spanx are “necessary,” just like it’s ridiculous to say that 6-inch spike heels are necessary. It’s painful and stupid and not at all necessary to looking or feeling good.

    • Colleen

      I’ve never worn Spanx before. I prefer a well-made corset underneath my fancy cocktail dress. It gives better support and the spring-steel is actually really flexible. I have better posture and it makes my tits look great.
      If you go the corset route, though, make sure you get one made with the steel boning instead of the cheap plastic. Plastic will warm up with your body heat and get stuck in whatever position that is, usually a > shape that stabs you in the side. Spring steel boning will flex with you but retain its shape.

      • Samantha_Escobar

        Y’know, in all seriousness, I’ve tried on a corset belonging to my friend a couple times and she laced it up really tightly, and it still was more comfortable than Spanx. So strange.

        Thanks for the tips, by the way!

      • Penny Dreadful

        Thank you for this. Comparing spanx to a corset is like comparing actual apples to computers. It’s stupid. Corsets are beautiful, heavily involved articles of engineering usually worn for mild to extreme body modification (don’t hate unless you also have issues with tattoos etc) and are VERY comfortable when they fit properly. Spanx are just tight fabric shorts that feel annoying, but if they’re painful there’s something wrong with it or you’re just a baby. If you don’t like spanx just don’t wear them, it’s not a big deal.

    • Debra

      Blah. Tried those on once and was instantly beset with nausea. I can’t imagine going out being constantly nauseated. Although I guess that would be one way to cut back on the canapés.

    • JennyWren

      Does everyone REALLY have thong underwear in their drawer? I don’t. The only time I’ve ever worn a thong was when I was working a retail job and my crappy uniform pants not only revealed my panty lines (which, really, I could care less about) but also gave a solid indication of what particular color said panties were that day. Once I left that job I almost frisbee-ed the damn things out the window, so uncomfortable did I find them (and they were quite Spartan, 100% affairs). In regular circumstances I just would have found a better pair of pants.

    • Dilemma

      Spanx are just evil. I gave in and bought some last year, to wear under a particular dress. By the end of the day I thought I was going to pass out from stomach pain. You know what’s MORE comfortable than spanx? My 1940s FUCKING GIRDLE. I can stand in it for hours, and my posture is great. Plus, instead of flattening my ass it makes it look fucking amazing. Oh, and if it feels too tight or I need to, you know, fucking EAT, I can just loosen it a little. So yeah, I’d rather be laced and clipped into a girdle with steel boning than wear spanx ever again.

      • Stephanie-ish

        Where did you find a 1940s girdle and how did you size it correctly? I’ve always wanted one, but I have no idea what I’m doing!

    • Benita

      I have never purchased nor worn Spanx, I don’t plan on ever purchasing or wearing Spanx BUT I like the fact that it’s a billion dollar company started and run by a woman.

      On the other hand, it’s fucking Spanx.