Relax, Ladies. Don’t Be So Uptight. You Know You Want It

Remember the ’80s, when men preferred Hanes and could legally rape their wives?

Anastasia Basil
Human Parts
Published in
11 min readSep 19, 2018


Credit: Fanatic Studio/Getty Images

InIn 1982, Donald Trump was 36 years old and he preferred Hanes pantyhose. Not because other leading brands constricted his balls, but because women belonged in dresses; it pleased the male eye.

If you’re a Gen-Xer, you undoubtedly remember these ads. For nearly two decades Hanes ran television, print, and radio ads as part of their Gentlemen Prefer Hanes campaign.

As for your preferences, ladies? No one gave a shit, least of all, you. You were happy to tuck that ass in Hanes if that’s how gentlemen preferred it. Why? Because you, Gen-Xer, were socialized not to see a problem with this campaign. Even if you did see a problem, what were you going to do about it in 1982? Form a hashtag army on Twitter?

Gen X. We came of age with movies like Sixteen Candles, Weird Science, and Revenge of the Nerds. Date rape scenes were “funny.” Harassment meant you were “hot.” Getting pinned to a wall by a guy at work, at school, or a party was normal. Relax. Don’t be so uptight. You know you want it.

The good old days, back when the F-word stood for “fag.” Back when sexual conquest was a lauded male sport, when blue-balls deserved pity and blondes were a punchline. Remember this one: What does a blonde put behind her ears to make her more attractive? Her ankles! Our adolescence played out on the set of a racist, sexist, bigoted America. Don’t believe me? Watch Sixteen Candles again. Or this old commercial for Pepsi. Or this commercial for toxic masculinity — oops, I mean Nissan. If you’re nostalgic for the great films of your youth, I recommend keeping your VHS copy of Heathers and Teen Wolf buried in the garage.

Movies, ads, and TV shows of the ’80s were tailored to give your dad a testosterone boost and teach your brothers to be men. Strong, no-bullshit men, the kind who say what they think and take what they want. Grab ’em by