The results are undeniable. These stockings, which are made to look like a pair of very hairy legs, induce groans, nausea, and physical discomfort and according to Weibo they're the best deterrent to cat calls and objectification that the country has to offer. There's one problem if you want a pair though—they're probably an elaborate joke.
Make no mistake, upon showing the image of said stockings to The Atlantic Wire staff, 92 percent of the staffers reeled in horror. And that was pretty much is in step with reactions on Weibo, where pictures of the purported stockings were first posted, with the tag "essential for all young girls going out"—basically they're billed as pervert repellents and deterrents to cat calls and whistles from male onlookers, something that's isn't just common in China. And it's one of the micro-blogging site's top posts. "Essential for the subway," one user noted, while another added:
This will not only prevent against perverts, it’ll definitely also result in preventing handsome guys from approaching you. When things go to the extreme, they can only go the opposite direction!!!
It's all sort of smart, right? But there's a problem (besides the basic concept that this doesn't help anyone who wears pants): it's unclear whether you can buy them. The Weibo post doesn't say where you can purchase them, and Mashable notes that it's unclear whether they're for sale. The Telegraph's Katy Brand notes (sarcastically) that she's managed to purchase them. "I have ordered a dozen pairs. It is to be my new summer look," Brand writes, but it's more of a point to rail against women's magazines and their summer fashion spreads.
And the other thing: it's really hot and humid in spots like Beijing and Shanghai right now. Wearing these tights would be uncomfortable and really warm and defeat some of the intent of wearing a skirt or dress.
What it adds up to is that these wonderful pervert repellents are probably not for sale, taking some of the air out of the joke. If the hairy stockings are a hoax, then they wouldn't go into the Chinese DIY invention hall of fame which includes nylon ski masks to prevent sunburn. And that no one was really driven to create a pair of ugly stockings to get their neighborhood lech to stop leering, could possibly mean that (hopefully) the Chinese cat-calling hasn't the point of terrible no return (yet). If some one was indeed driven to creating hairy stockings and making huge piles of money from them, it'd be both sad and darkly humorous.
So far, the closest thing we have for people interested in the hairy-leg stockings are these vintage beasts from J.Crew (right). Gawker found them in 2010 and it turns out their hirsute appearance was completely accidental. They were actually made of lace and were supposed to be "an essential ingredient in the season's textural mashup." There's also this Chewbacca Halloween costume, but then again, that might attract a whole different kind of admirer.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.