I adore the questions children pose.

"Mama why do american super heroes wear their knickers (underwear) over their pants?" Our oldest daughter Hilke asked me as we watched an episode of the excellent series Big Bang Theory on dvd.

Of course I could only reply that I did not know. There was a pause. Then she commented that "The boys in this programme all wear their t-shirts over their long sleeve top shirts so perhaps in america super heroes wear their knickers over their 'men-tights' and ordinary people wear their under-shirts on top of their outer-shirts and that is how you tell Super Heroes and Ordinary person apart".

Interesting idea I thought.

Then my oldest son, Nicky,  who had been watching (he is deaf) this little debate chipped in and said "Why do they need super heroes in america if they have that god of theirs?"


"Perhaps their god created Super Heroes to help his people, they claim america is chosen by god don't they Mama?" signed Hilke.

"Really ? He created men with super powers who wear their knickers one OUTSIDE ? Rather dumb and not very hygienic of him!" said Nicky.

It was about at this point my wife Judith walks though and seeing this conversion smiled just before she tossed in a hand grenade; "So what about the X-Men, did their god create them or are they blatant evidence of evolution ?"  It was at this point I thought to myself "Nuts, I am never going to see the end of this episode!" as the children launched into a whole new debate.

So here are my - light hearted - questions……….

  1. Why does a country so immersed in the nonsense of god dream up supplementary god characters?
  2. Are the X-Men evidence for the existence of god or strong evidence for evolution ?
  3. Why does Superman, batman etc where their knickers on the outside and given this rather unsanitary state of affairs who do you think washes their pants/ man-hose  in their households ?
  4. What is this fashion for wearing t-shirts, which are essentially undershirts, on top of outer clothing and what is the logical extension of this - should I now be wearing my bra over my blouse and jumper ?

Have fun !


Nina van der Roos.

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What a fantastic question! Much amusement going on in our house now! I think the answer to the first is that human beings developed language which gave us a strong concept of linear time and sequence of events which led to our interest in telling and hearing stories. This sadly led to the invention of gods which did not stay in the realm of fiction because of our need to understand the world. I think America's superhero thing especially the X Men is an excellent sign of healthy fantasy which remains fantasy - tho I'm sure the people who boycott Harry Potter also boycott The X Men etc.

As to the clothing thing.......no idea!

Very interesting points.  In all seriousness, I think the superheroes, including the X-Men, are fantasy characters, and, like all fantasies, they are popular because they meet the emotional needs of their audience.  American society is more "dog-eat-dog" than others because of our history of immigration by different groups who do not feel "in-group" morality for each other and because of our nearly unbridled capitalism.  After all, we are the descendants of people who stole this country from the natives--largely by killing them.  This atmosphere causes a lot of insecurities, which leads to compensation through fantasies of strength and power.  Hence, the popularity of superheroes--including X-Men.  The X-Men, with their implicit acceptance of evolution appeal more to the market segment that believes in evolution.

Superman wears his knickers on the outside because if they were on the inside it would look like he just had on tights.  This would make him look too effeminate and would make it look like his genitals weren't properly covered--i.e., he would look almost like he were naked.  With them on the outside, he looks more like a bodyguard at the beach.

I think the T-shirts on the outside are a result of the fact that the T-shirt is now considered to be the primary garment in large segments of the population.  The long sleeve shirt underneath is the undergarment worn because the wearer feels cold, hence the long sleeves.

Heh heh heh!

That's pretty funny. :D

Now, as to "underwear" on the outside - typically superheroes wear underwear where it should go (except Spiderman, he says it chafes); superheroes wear trunk,s such as wrestlers would wear, over their tights for the sake of modesty - so you can't see all their bits as easily. :)

Now that I've outgeeked myself by putting that knowledge out there ...

From the time Stan Lee and Jack Kirby arrived on the scene, the super powers of superheroes have acted as a sharp counterpoint to their human natures. Most superheroes now have to face issues that can rarely be solved with their powers, and in fact their powers sometimes make things worse. :)

So, most of them, not so god-like, unless you are referring to the Greek or Norse gods, who were fairly human themselves.

X-Men ... tricky. I think they prove the existance of Loki, myself :)


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