Unitards & Catsuits

I can’t help but notice that a “BDSM Catsuit” and a “Dance Unitard” are, in many ways, pretty similar “bodysuits.” Considering the two pink-clad women above, even though Lycra and Latex both begin with “L” and have 5 letters… I think you’d be about as surprised to see Lycra-Woman show up with whips and chains as you would be to see Latex-Woman teach yoga or Pilates.

Interestingly, the two women have somewhat similar bodies, which just sort of begs the question: are the similarities between the “dance uniform” and the “kink uniform” just coincidence? Or something more?

Photo from Flickr / Treivilo

Here’s part of the Wikipedia entry on “Unitard:”

A unitard is a skin-tight one-piece garment with long legs and sometimes long sleeves. It differs from a leotard in that a leotard does not have long legs. The garment can be considered to be a combination of a leotard and tights. It should not be confused with a wrestling singlet.
Unitards are worn by acrobats, gymnasts, dancers, equestrian vaulters and circus performers as well as others who require overall body coverage without impeded flexibility. Superheroes in comics and films are generally depicted wearing unitards.

Here’s part of the Wikipedia entry on “Catsuit:”

A catsuit is a close-fitting one-piece garment that covers the torso and the legs, and frequently the arms. They are usually made from stretchable material, such as lycra, chiffon, spandex (after 1959), leather, latex, PVC, or velour, and frequently close using a zipper at the front or back.
Catsuits, which date from at least the 1940s, can be worn by both men and women, and, despite the name, do not generally have feline characteristics.
Some people consider catsuits to be a fetish item. Catsuits for fetish use are often made of latex or PVC where such a catsuit is typically highly shiny, tight fitting

People, notably women, often wear clothing that is more “revealing” than the unitard or catsuit, but that is often a provocative “part” focus, like, for example, breasts. The unitard and the catsuit both display the body… well… “sex” is an inescapable part of it… but they’re also a way to experience the pure form of the body, without all the disruptions of those genitals… as noted, there are “sexier” ways to exhibit the body, but not a more total, curvaceous, physically present way. That’s the experience of the suit going out to the eyes of the observer, from the surface of the suit moving in there is a satisfying tension, perhaps of being restricted, but more of being held, of being supported, of being aware of every fiber of your being, from wrists all the way down to ankles.

Flickr photo by Treivilo

And so the bodysuit is… well… about the body! Unitards and catsuits offer an interesting amalgam of theatricality and honesty. The are at once very intentional and performative… and simultaneously “naked” truth. In an amazing dress by VB/CO pal Alisha Ultsch / House of Alisha, if you’re strong enough to actually stand up and give a shape to the dress, then it’s a lot about that dress. But a unitard? It’s as simple as can be… as YOU as can be… every sit-up, every chocolate eclair, they’re all there.

House of Alisha / Pink Empress Gown
House of Alisha / Pink Empress Gown

House of Alisha: http://slurl.com/secondlife/AmaZingg/55/88/691

Do BDSM and Dance have similar parallels? I’m not sure that practitioners of either field would wax poetically about the compelling nature of the other field, yet both do seem to be about a body that is more present, more truly awake, than most of daily, narcoleptic, life.


As a virtual public artist my work invites avatar communities to express their identity, explore their culture, and demand their civil rights.

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