What is Sexy?


What is Sexy?

Sexiness in women can be portrayed and looked at in so many different perspectives. What one person thinks as sexy, the other may not. Social media affects our culture so much considering the ways in which we think, act, and perceive the world around us. In Western culture the media is around us everywhere we go. Billboards, TV shows, commercials, music, social networking cites etc. and in each one often shows slim, tall white girls who are wearing little to no clothing.

However, the western worlds ‘perfect’ view of a women is not always attainable. How many women are sizes 6 or larger? In the world of modelling this is considered a ‘plus size.’ What the media portrays as ‘sexy’ influences society… which in result creates many self-esteem issues. The media often looks at Jennifer Lopez as ‘bigger’ but really she is much smaller than the average Canadian women. How are these views healthy? EXACTLY. They are not. These views infect the minds of young people, creating much pain and havoc in their lives, as well as giving men an unrealistic view of what a women is to look like.

While examining First Wives Club; Salish Style by Lee Marcle, I saw many ideals of ‘sexy’ but also how the characters were confronted with issues connected to this. In the first story she states “Today’s society is focussed on imaging sexiness only through youth, but many of our Elder’s don’t but into that and, of course, neither do I” (Marcle. 1). Like she said, the youth are given the ideal of ‘sexiness’ but not the adults? Weird right? So if I understand this correctly… they want young girls to look sexy, but act like ladies? Easier said than done in my opinion.

We want our teens to stay pure and keep their morals however continuously bombarding them with images of people their age are being “sexy.” This whole concept seems twisted to me. Every day we are smothered with the idea of sexuality and yet are asked to do something different with ourselves. She stated “Western society’s values have always confused me. On the one hand, sexiness in young women is desired. On the other hand, a women actually engaging in sex has been considered immoral for a long time” (Marcle. 2). We put our young people in a HARD position. Be sexy, but stay pure. Instead we should be teaching our youth to dress modestly and therefore it would make it easier to stay pure.

Women are constantly faced with challenges by the media, however that of self-image seems to be the most predominant. Sexy should be looked at as the way you feel; healthy, fit, and comfortable in your own skin. Media should not have the right to inflict their opinions on society, however regardless of right or wrong, they do. Many companies such as Nike and Dove have begun new initiatives to enforce healthy at all sizes as beautiful, creating a broader form of the term ‘sexy.’ As women continue to be themselves, and respect themselves the view will change. This resistance to social norms and ideals will create new ideals for the future.



7 thoughts on “What is Sexy?

  1. Jessica, I am not sure if this will help your project at all, but this post especially the part about Nike and Dove trying to redefine sexy though adverting reminded me of something Sara brought up in a previous course I have done with her. It might be worth checking out.

    It is a photo series by Holly Norris called American Able. If I remember correctly the goal of these series is to show how disability is sexy. The images are spoofs of American Appeal advisements that met the criteria of what the media tries to inflict as sexy. American Able does the same poses that the American Appeal ads have, but the model is a woman who is physically disabled.


  2. I love that you are bringing attention to the fact that our society’s ideals of “sexy” do not reflect the lived reality of society. I know I am constantly comparing myself to other people around me in society, and seeing if I am “as sexy” as them. We spoke in class about the Swedish department store that was criticized for bringing out size 6 and 10 mannequins…I can’t believe that people, who are not one size or shape, would complain about a realistic portrayal of mannequins! If we are constantly told about what is “sexy” and not “sexy”, we cannot effectively construct our identities, and therefore are perpetuating the stereotypical gender roles that are present in our society.

  3. I have a real problem with this whole healthy/unhealthy binary that people have been using lately. I’m a 00, but I’m healthy. I just can’t seem to get any higher in my weight. There comes a point where people are at a weight where they actually can’t gain more or their body won’t let them-I’m just saying that there are so many different factors to take into consideration; there’s genetics, there’s eating habits and exercise, stress; you can’t say that people who are under a size six have unhealthy body body issues or have eating disorders. I was a premature baby, I’m 85 lbs-It’s normal for premature babies to have low weight into adulthood-I don’t think I’m fat, and I don’t think I’m unhealthy-I don’t obsess over weight-I just think that we need to be very careful when saying that we all have unhealthy body images, because although yes, there may be people who are driven to eating disorders from the pressures of society, it’s wrong to assume that because people are lower than the “average” weight they have eating disorders or are unhealthy.

    • Thank you for bringing this to my attention… I really agree with what you are saying, I just did not think of it while writing. Perhaps I too had the stereotypical view in my mind. Thank you!

  4. I thought this was a great blog post! I appreciated how you highlighted the unrealistic expectations society can place on people – especially women. I also thought you made a great connection between the fact that these social ideals can have real consequences in the lives of girls and women. I reblogged this post onto my blog about the pressures to perform a female identity.

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