Last Updated on February 5, 2024

Whale Tails, Granny Panties and Everything In Between:

What Is Your Daughter Wearing Under There?

With the rise (pun intended) of low-rise jeans, it’s become a fashion statement to show just a hint of thong, aptly called a whale tail. I confess, I tried wearing a thong once. I couldn’t walk the next day and decided that this fashion statement wasn’t for me. From a sheer standpoint of comfort, I’m not a fan, though many say they find them more comfortable than panties. (Incidentally, thongs aren’t anything new. Usage dates back to ancient Rome where men — not women — reached for them prior to athletic competitions because they found them more — you guessed it — comfortable!)

More and more, teenage girls are pleading with their moms to come into the new millinea and just let them wear thongs! Should you say “yes”? Should you say “no”? Here are some things to consider and discuss with your daughter when the question arises. The answer is up to you.

First, consider your daughter’s health. Wearing thongs has been associated with recurrent urinary tract, vaginal, and bacterial infections. The most common type is a yeast infection, which is nasty and itchy but not terribly dangerous, but some infections can have long-term implications including infertility. One doctor explained that the tiny string of fabric is like a little subway that carries bacteria from (shall we say) the hind region to the forefront. That’s not good. If you decide it is okay to wear thongs, consider not wearing them all the time. It’s important to give the female body some breathing room by trying other styles. It’s especially important not to sleep in thongs, according to doctors. If “granny panties” scare your daughter, try a cute pair of boy-shorts or bikinis. If VPL (visible panty lines) are even scarier to you than granny panties, you could consider Spanx or cheaper versions of the same type garment. (But most teenage girls find them even more frightening. You can, however, make the point that there is more than one way to get a smooth look.)

Second, consider the guys in your daughter’s life. Here’s a fact: thongs are sexy. Seeing a thong — whether it’s through the fabric you’re wearing or because it’s peeking above your low-rise jeans — is sexual. (Incidentally, in case you didn’t know: when a thong peaks up over a girl’s pants, it is called a “whale tail” since the shape looks like … well, a whale’s tail.) No matter what, tell your daughter to remember this. Thongs are underwear. Where are they meant be worn? Under! (Just like a bra strap should be!) Make sure that whatever you wear, it’s concealed. Romans 14:21 admonishes us not to do anything that would cause our Christian brothers to stumble. Ask Dad or an older brother to weigh in on the conversation if your daughter is having a hard time understanding how inappropriate it is to show off your bra strap or whale tail. They’ll tell you many a guy has stumbled over a girl’s underwear.

Finally, be open to their opinion, but use this as a teachable moment to teach respect and submission. Your daughter just might have some strong opinions about this. If she disagrees with yours, encourage her to respect your authority.

One more thing: a whale tail isn’t the only way to make a splash in this fashion-conscious world. (Pun definitely intended!)

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  1. Allie Robbins says:

    What a great post. A nice balance between fact and opinion (a very valid opinion, I might add). I work with teens and I can tell you that guys love to see the 'thong' popping up from girls' low-rise jeans. The only reason a thong is worn is to be sexy, period. And teenage girls have no business wearing them.

    1. I disagree. I have worn them for years (I'm 27), and I do honestly believe them to be more comfortable. I don't think anyone needs to see them except my husband though.

    2. I agreed with this comment up until the very end. I’m an a teenage girl and I just bought my 2 thong. I’m pretty sure the only reason I’m wearing a thong is to not have a panty line. Not to be sexy. So I do agree that the ONE of the reasons to wear one is to be sexy, but please don’t say that’s the only reason. I just felt I needed to say this and my rant is now complete.

    3. Hello, i am 15 years old and i wear thongs. Not all of the time but, on ocasion. I go to a christian/catholic highschool and i NEVER intend to be sexy. Quite honestly, I really do just like them because they dont show panty lines. Sure, you could try Spanx or something, but in my experience whenever i wear them with something like jeans, they just tend to roll up at the bottom. I am sorry but i know that I, personally, would never intend to have a whale tail on purpose. And well, if you think that your daughter would be using thongs for that reason, you have bigger issues than her choice in underwear. That really just comes down to your daughters morales and her faith in God. I have a promise ring around my finger, a strong faith in God, and read the bible daily. It is going to take a whole lot more then a whale tail to break my commitment and promise to God. Yes, i believe that we should protect our brothers. But really, they aren’t terrible people. Not everything that guys think about is sexual. We need to respect that and give the men in our lives a little more credit.

  2. I enjoyed this post. I have a 19 yr old daughter and when Thongs first became popular she was right in her teenage prime. Of course she asked and even told me about her friends wearing them. We discussed the why’s and she ended up losing interest. I totally agree with your first comment. Sexy + teens = Inappropriate

  3. I am currently in college, and I began wearing thongs as a freshman in high school. Before I began wearing them, I talked it over with my mom. She wasn't exactly thrilled with the idea (partly because they sounded so uncomfortable to her). My mom, however, raised me to be modest and to respect myself; in fact, we got into a fight or two when I was younger about letting my bra straps show when I wanted to wear a spaghetti-strap shirt. She was always careful to point out fashions that might be distasteful, embarrassing, or immodest.

    Because of her upbringing, when the issue of thongs came up, she knew she could trust me to be responsible. She knew I would find it extremely embarrassing to have any of my underwear peeping out (especially a thong), and she knew I would respect her and myself by being responsible.

  4. To this day, I am still careful to conceal my undergarments. I personally hate VPLs, which is why I choose to wear thongs. I did not wear them to be purposefully "sexy." I actually find them comfortable and helpful in eliminating VPLs. I credit my mother, however, for giving me the freedom to try them and for giving me the freedom to have a taste of making my own decisions when I was 15 while still being responsible and considerate of myself and of others.

  5. tjsthings says:

    This is such a great, timely post. I have friends who wear them to address VPLs, and tried them once and hated them.

  6. Mrs. Matteson says:

    I think the rule should be that no one should see undergarments of any type. I don’t like thongs, but I have friends who like them because they don’t create a panty seam. I personally find “hipsters” to be the most comfortable. Shirts should be long enough to provide coverage to the midriff while moving.

  7. Laura Petherbridge says:

    I have found "boy short" underwear thats made well to be my solution for VPLs. Barely There has a great one that fits super, doesn't show, and doesn't roll up on the bottom. Hallelujah!!
    And before reading this post I didn't know that a whale tail was anyhting more than…the tail on a whale. Since I don't have teens, and my grandaughter is only 6…I feel more informed. 🙂

  8. ministrywifefamilylife says:

    Loved read this – I really do love this blog – I feel like I want to "like" or re-post everything on my blog or facebook but I wasn't sure if I'd be wise in reposting "Thong" in my fb status… HA! 🙂 I appreciate the wisdom you all share and the humor and tips involved. As a momma of little ones and a pastor's wife I find myself often in the position where questions like this arise (and my little ones are tiny, I am just thinking of the questions that are coming my way in a decade. ugh!).. 🙂

    You're a blessing, thanks:)

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  10. He He, I think I would say, sure you can where thongs, you just have to ask your father first. I have a feeling that would end the conversation right there : )

    1. Jennifer Dyer says:

      Lol. That's a great reply, KML.
      Great overall post. Very timely. As we are still in the preteen years, I have wondered when this will come up… Thanks, Dannah!

  11. I am a young teen so I don’t exactly care about panty lines yet, but I’m sure I will in the future. When the time comes though, I wouldnt wear one to be sexy, and I think its wrong to show it off, but to each is own. I however dont think that someone seeing your bra straps is innapropriate. Sometimes my shirt will slip and ill cover it, but most women wear bras and shouldnt be ashamed of it. God designed our bodies with meaning and we shouldnt feel we have to hide what he gave us. I am deffinately not saying to show it on purpose, but i dont feel it is terrible on accident. I’d much rather see a bra strap peeking, than a woman with no bra! Thanks for the great article!

    1. Alexpeacelovehappi says:

      Amanda that is so so true. I feel, I don’t know, worried when people are like Oh No my bra strap! It’s showing! I should go die in a hole now! I mean I dont show it off because I want to be sexy, but sometimes the thing just slips! And as for the article, I think that us teens should not wear a thong unless we are wearing something tight, and even then I don’t think a hipster or boyshort type underwear will show through the tight pants. And I really don’t think we SHOULD wear tight pants because they are so uncomfortable! I can barely walk in skinny jeans and i hate wearing them the whole day! Anyways, great article!

  12. If you wear thongs, be careful when you squat or bend. Ha Ha I saw a young lady picking her baby out of a stroller the other day at the post office. Pink string and then pink you know what all in one view. I see teens and tweens doing the same at the mall quite often as well.

  13. I hope to not offend anyone but I personally don’t consider it wrong to wear one… That is based on the premise that nobody is seeing what you’re wearing under your pants in the first place. I bought a pack of three from my local target of the sole reason of eliminating the VPL which is created with my work pants. I tried boyshorts and they were still visible so I went to my last resort. You do get used to them but I must say — I always prefer a good, comfortable pair of boyshorts.

    Just a modest 16 year old’s weigh in on the topic 🙂

  14. I researched and found that the thong started with strippers. Therefore, I think it has a skanky connotation. And it is definitely not healthy for the sensitive female body. The fashion industry does not care about your health so why stupidly follow what they tell you what yo think is important. I hate mind control of any type. By its nature its purpose is to harm. Turn your brain on and leave in that position

  15. I enjoyed this article up until the end, honestly. Not to sound preachy or anything, but should men really be considered when it involves a lady’s underwear? It’s not like THEY are wearing it. Personally, I don’t wear thongs, but I just do not think it really matters whether or not it will “distract men”. If they’re so unfocused and immature to be distracted by something so insignificant as a bra strap( I mean, they should know it’s there. It’s not like boobs aren’t highly visible and directly on the front of someone’s body or anythong), then their opinion shouldn’t hold all that much salt. Besides, teenaged boys do that pants sagging thing all the time and girls aren’t distracted by that.

  16. Young woman says:

    I agree that you should inform your daughter about the unwanted attention she may get from wearing a thong but do NOT teach her that she is a sexual object and she should hide herself and feel guilty for being a female. She is not responsible for anyone’s thoughts.