The Planned Obsolescence of Panty-Hoes

Getting ready this morning, I went through my usual routine: I woke up, I made coffee, I washed my face, I got dressed, and I ripped a pair of panty-hoes.

Or rather, a pair of panty-hoes ripped.

Panty-hoes are a woman’s best friend in so many ways: they keep you warm, they make your outfit look cute, and they come in a variety of fun shades and patterns. Then they rip.

If panty-hoes were five cents a pair, I’d have no complaints. I’d throw them out and move on with my life. But they’re not five cents a pair, they’re more like eight to fifteen dollars a pair. Every morning, when I go through my routine, I might as well take a five dollar bill and a few coins and throw the money over my balcony.

It’s not like I’m buying the wrong size. Admittedly, I have amazon-long legs, but I buy extra long panty-hoes. I even pay more money for extra long panty-hoes. So why do they rip?

Because Panty-hoes are designed to rip. It’s a marketing strategy called “planned obsolescence”: products are designed with a built-in life-span, so that the product will become non-functional or obsolete after a certain period of time. This way, consumers must continually purchase and repurchase (and repurchase and repurchase) the product—in my case, panty-hoes.

Panty-hoes last two wears. That’s it, that’s all. Two cute outfits, and then it’s all runs and frays from there. I have a few pairs that have lasted longer, but for the most part, the rule is two wears and then the panty-hoes quit. And what else can you do but buy more?

I’m mad about the panty-hoes because they represent the ethic of consumer quality (or lack-there-of) that’s built into the structure of a capitalistic consumer society. All this thrown away hosiery costs women more money and occupies space in our landfills. It benefits nobody except the producer, the jerk who planned for the product to break in the first place!

Girly complaint, or cultural critique? You decide. I’m off to buy more panty-hoes.


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