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Why Is A Thong Called A Thong Why Is A Thong Called A Thong


Why Is A Thong Called A Thong

Written by: Harli Slack

Discover the origins behind why a thong is called a thong and explore the fascinating history of thongs. Learn more about the cultural significance and evolution of thongs.

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The thong is a type of undergarment that has gained popularity and controversy in equal measure. Known for its minimal coverage and distinctive design, the thong has become a fashion staple for many. But have you ever wondered why it is called a “thong”? In this article, we will explore the origins of the term and delve into the history, evolution, and cultural significance of this unique undergarment.

The thong, also referred to as a G-string, is a type of undergarment that consists of a narrow strip of fabric at the back that connects to a band or string around the hips. The front portion provides minimal coverage, making it an appealing choice for those who want to avoid visible panty lines. While some may consider the thong to be a modern invention, its roots can be traced back to ancient civilizations.

The term “thong” itself has an interesting history. It is believed to have originated from the Old English word “thonne,” which means “to pull” or “to stretch.” This term was used to describe a narrow strip of leather or fabric used to fasten clothing or accessories. Over time, the term evolved to refer specifically to the undergarment we now know as the thong.

In the following sections, we will take a closer look at the historical usage of thongs, their portrayal in popular culture, the evolution of their design, and the controversy that surrounds them. So, fasten your seatbelts and get ready to explore the world of thongs like never before!


Origins of the term “thong”

The term “thong” may have originated from the Old English word “thonne,” but the concept of minimalistic undergarments has been prevalent in various cultures throughout history. In ancient times, both men and women would wear loincloths that were often made from animal hides or simple pieces of cloth. These loincloths served a practical purpose, providing support and modesty while allowing freedom of movement.

As societies evolved and fashion trends changed, the design of undergarments also underwent transformations. The concept of a narrow strip of fabric fastened around the waist or hips gradually emerged in different parts of the world. In ancient Rome, for example, men and women wore a type of loincloth known as a “subligaculum,” which resembled the modern thong in its minimal coverage.

The term “thong” truly came into prominence during the 1930s and 1940s when swimsuit designers began experimenting with bolder and more revealing designs. The emergence of bikinis and one-piece swimsuits with high-cut legs paved the way for the thong to gain recognition as a garment that embraced minimalism and freedom. It captured the attention of fashion-forward individuals who were looking for an alternative to traditional underwear and swimwear.

The term “G-string” is often used interchangeably with “thong,” and its origins can be traced back to the music halls and burlesque shows of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Performers would wear costumes that featured minimal coverage and accentuated their curves. The G-string was named after the string that passed between the buttocks, resembling the letter “G” when viewed from behind.

In the modern era, the term “thong” has become a widely recognized descriptor for this particular style of underwear. It has transcended its origins and has become a popular choice for both men and women. The term has also been incorporated into various other languages, adding to its international recognition and popularity.


Historical usage of thongs

While the term “thong” may have gained popularity in recent decades, the concept of minimalistic undergarments dates back centuries. Throughout history, various cultures have embraced and utilized thongs for different purposes.

In ancient Egypt, for example, both men and women wore loincloths called “shendyts” made of linen. These garments provided support and modesty while allowing freedom of movement. The design of the shendyts resembled modern-day thongs, with a narrow strip of fabric at the back and a front panel that covered the genital area.

In ancient Rome, gladiators and athletes often wore a type of thong called a “subligar.” Made of leather or cloth, the subligar provided minimal coverage and allowed for flexibility during physical activities. It was worn under a tunic or as part of a gladiator’s costume.

In certain indigenous cultures, thongs were also used as traditional clothing. Native Australians, for instance, adorned themselves with “possum skin” thongs, which were made from the hides of possums. These thongs were not only practical but also represented cultural identity and heritage.

Fast forward to the 20th century, and thongs made their way into mainstream Western fashion. During the 1930s and 1940s, swimsuit designers began incorporating thong-like elements into their designs. This shift reflected societal changes and a desire for more risqué swimwear options.

As time went on, the popularity of thongs continued to grow, extending beyond swimwear and making its mark in the realm of underwear. In the 1980s and 1990s, thongs became a symbol of sexiness and liberation, often showcased in movies, music videos, and fashion shows.

Today, thongs are worn by individuals of all genders and have become a staple in many people’s underwear drawers. They continue to be appreciated for their minimal coverage, comfort, and functionality. With a wide range of styles and materials now available, there is a thong to suit every personal preference and fashion statement.


Thongs in popular culture

Thongs have become more than just a functional undergarment – they have also made a significant impact on popular culture. From music to movies and fashion, thongs have left their mark in various ways.

One of the most iconic moments in thong history came in 1999 when Brazilian model and actress Gisele Bündchen walked the runway in a revealing, shimmering thong during a Victoria’s Secret fashion show. This moment catapulted both Bündchen and the thong into the international spotlight, solidifying their status as powerful and provocative symbols of beauty and sensuality.

In the realm of music, thongs have appeared in numerous songs and music videos, further cementing their influence. The song “Thong Song” by Sisqo, released in 1999, became an instant hit and celebrated the appeal of women wearing thongs. The accompanying music video showcased elaborate choreography and a strong emphasis on thongs, sparking conversations and debates about the role of thongs in society.

Thongs have also become a common sight in movies and television shows. Whether it’s a beach scene in a romantic comedy or a character confidently strutting in a fashionable thong, these instances have helped normalize and celebrate the wearing of thongs in popular culture.

Fashion designers have embraced thongs as well, incorporating them into their collections and showcasing them on runways. High-end fashion brands have featured creative and avant-garde designs, demonstrating how thongs can be both fashionable and provocative.

Additionally, social media has played a significant role in spreading thong culture. Influencers and celebrities often post pictures showcasing their thong-clad bodies, contributing to the normalization and acceptance of thongs as a fashion choice.

Overall, thongs have become an emblem of confidence, sexiness, and liberation in popular culture. They have transcended their traditional purpose and have become a symbol of fashion, empowerment, and self-expression. Whether embraced or criticized, thongs continue to captivate and provoke conversations, leaving an indelible mark on popular culture.


The evolution of thongs

The design and perception of thongs have undergone significant transformations throughout history. From ancient civilizations to modern fashion trends, the evolution of thongs reflects changing attitudes towards comfort, modesty, and personal expression.

In the early days, thongs were primarily functional garments, serving the purpose of providing support and freedom of movement. They were made of simple materials like animal hides or cloth and were often worn by both men and women in various cultures.

As fashion evolved, so did the design of thongs. In the 1930s and 1940s, swimwear designers began experimenting with bolder and more revealing styles. The emergence of bikinis and one-piece swimsuits with high-cut legs paved the way for the modern thong. These early thongs still provided minimal coverage, but their popularity grew as they offered an alternative to traditional swimwear options.

In the 1980s and 1990s, thongs began to gain mainstream recognition. They became synonymous with sexiness and liberation, fueled by their frequent appearance in movies, music videos, and fashion shows. This cultural shift led to an increase in demand for thongs, with designers innovating to meet the changing preferences of consumers.

Today, there is a wide variety of thong styles available to suit different tastes and preferences. Traditional thongs have a narrow strip of fabric at the back, while other options include the G-string, which consists of a single string running between the buttocks, and the T-back, which forms a T-shape with the waistband. Some thongs feature lace, embellishments, or patterns, adding a touch of elegance and style.

Advancements in textile technologies have also contributed to the evolution of thongs. Fabrics with stretch and moisture-wicking properties have made thongs more comfortable and practical for everyday wear. Additionally, eco-friendly materials like organic cotton and bamboo have gained popularity among those looking for more sustainable options.

The evolving attitudes towards body positivity and inclusivity have also influenced the design of thongs. Brands are now offering a wider range of sizes and catering to diverse body shapes, ensuring that everyone can find a well-fitting and flattering thong. This shift reflects a greater acceptance and celebration of different body types.

Overall, the evolution of thongs demonstrates how they have transcended their practical origins to become a statement of style, confidence, and personal expression. From functional undergarments to fashion-forward pieces, thongs continue to evolve and adapt to the ever-changing preferences and needs of individuals.


Controversy surrounding thongs

Throughout their history, thongs have sparked controversy and debates, often centered around societal norms, modesty, and body image. Here are some of the main points of contention surrounding thongs:

  • Modesty: One of the main arguments against thongs is their perceived lack of modesty. Critics argue that the minimal coverage of thongs goes against societal norms and promotes a hyper-sexualized image of the body. This has led to debates about appropriate attire in certain settings, such as schools or workplaces.
  • Objectification of women: Thongs have been criticized for reinforcing unrealistic beauty standards and objectifying women’s bodies. Some argue that the emphasis on revealing and provocative clothing perpetuates the idea that a woman’s worth is solely based on her physical appearance.
  • Health concerns: Another point of controversy is the potential health risks associated with wearing thongs. Critics suggest that they can increase the risk of infections due to bacteria transfer and irritation caused by the rubbing of the fabric against sensitive areas. However, proponents argue that with proper hygiene and well-fitting underwear, these risks can be minimized.
  • Cultural and religious sensitivity: In certain cultures and religions, the exposure of certain parts of the body, including the buttocks, is considered immodest or offensive. Thongs, with their minimal coverage, can be seen as contravening cultural and religious norms, leading to concerns about cultural appropriation and disrespect.
  • Body shaming: Thongs have been criticized for perpetuating unrealistic body ideals and reinforcing body shaming. The visibility of thongs can sometimes lead to judgment or negative comments towards individuals who choose to wear them, contributing to body image issues and self-esteem concerns.

While thongs continue to be a source of controversy, it is important to note that personal preferences and choices should be respected. What one person considers empowering and comfortable, another may find inappropriate or uncomfortable. Ultimately, the debate surrounding thongs reflects society’s ongoing discussion about individual freedom, body autonomy, and the boundaries of public versus private expression.



The thong, with its minimalistic design and controversial image, has established itself as a prominent undergarment in the world of fashion and popular culture. From its origins in ancient civilizations to its modern-day evolution, thongs have undergone remarkable transformations, reflecting societal changes, advancements in textile technology, and shifting attitudes towards body positivity and personal expression.

The term “thong” may have ancient roots, but its contemporary usage emerged during the 1930s and 1940s, as swimsuit designers embraced more revealing styles. Since then, thongs have made their way into mainstream culture, becoming an emblem of liberation, sexiness, and confidence. They have been celebrated and criticized, with debates ranging from modesty and cultural sensitivity to health concerns and body shaming.

Thongs have left an indelible mark on popular culture, appearing in music videos, movies, fashion shows, and social media. They have become a symbol of empowerment and self-expression, challenging societal norms and redefining beauty standards.

In the end, opinions on thongs may differ greatly, and personal choices should be respected. Whether one embraces the comfort, freedom, and fashion-forward nature of thongs, or views them as promoting objectification or immodesty, it is important to recognize and celebrate diversity in personal style and individuality.

As fashion continues to evolve, it is likely that thongs will remain a part of the lingerie and swimwear industry, adapting to changing trends, preferences, and societal attitudes. Whether they are loved or loathed, thongs have undeniably made their mark on history, leaving a lasting legacy in the world of fashion and self-expression.

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