Spring cleaning always raises an awkward question: What to do with the raggedy underwear you cull from your top drawer? It’s kinda gross to give it to the Salvation Army, right, but it’s wasteful to throw them in the trash. Now there’s a creative humanitarian answer—and one that’s potentially powerful enough to inspire you to get cleaning. Panties for Peace encourages women to send their panties to Burmese officials.
The point isn’t to outfit anybody in donated underwear, though the country did just suffer a devastating cyclone: This movement is symbolic. Women’s underwear simply creeps the hell out of the men who comprise the military regime that’s been brutally ruling the country—not least through rape and systemic violence against women—for the past 20 years. “The Panties for Peace campaign plays on the regime leaders’ superstitious fear that contact with a woman’s underpants will rob them of their power. Women around the world are asked to post their panties to local Burmese embassies in a bid to strip the regime of its power and bring an end to its gross violations of human rights, especially those committed against Burma’s women.” The movement was started by a Burmese women’s action group and has grown in scope via solidarity campaigns from feminist groups in Canada and around the world.