A few weeks back you may have a seen a short video between my friends, Rachael McCrary and Marci Weisler about our reactions to the #metoo movement. One of the areas discussed was our attire. How should women dress? Are we asking to be seen as sex objects if we wear something alluring or are we displaying our sense of empowerment? This isn’t a new debate but it’s just that much more heightened due to the times. Rachael and I believe its the latter. This should be of no surprise if you know me, my blog posts, and how I tend to dress; and no surprise given Rachael’s role as a CEO of lingerie company, Jewel Toned.
But now this question is also being discussed by the fashion and its surrounding industries, i.e., publishing. In a recent Financial Times article, “Lets Talk about Sex,” Lou Stoppard reflects on the fear of fashion designers and magazine brands to display sexuality in their designs and photo shoots. The story cites the trends by fashion brands to cover up, develop more unisex items and create “reserved” looks in response to today’s climate. Likewise, style magazines are forcing themselves to rethink their often-hyper sexual imagery. The article aptly kicks off with these words:”There is little joy of sex in the fashion industry right now. In fact, the industry seems seems almost scared of it.”
As a mother of boys and a girl, I’m not disappointed that the media industry is challenging itself to portray women in a more empowering light. But must we avoid sexuality all together? Of course not all brands are avoiding it. As the article points out, designers such as Christopher Kane are still developing alluring designs. His words sum it up for me: “No one should be taken advantage of, but sex is not a bad thing, either. Abuse is a bad thing.” EXACTLY! Demonizing sex or avoiding it isn’t the solution. If we assume sex or being sexy is bad, we will not only inhibit women from trying to look as alluring as they choose but also will link sex with abuse. By making such a tight connection between sex and abuse, we may be encouraging the abuser to further use sex as a way to exert his/her power over and anger towards others. If we regarded sex and looking sexy as a beautiful thing and as a wonderful way to commune with others (assuming its consensual), we will begin to stop using it in an abusive manner. Call me crazy, but I liken it to our relationship to food. We need food. And it’s wonderful! Of course we should treat our bodies with respect and not over do it. Nor should we stuff crap down our throats. Both of those are harmful. But to demonize food is harmful too. But when we have a screwy relationship to food –when we feel both consumed by it and then ashamed when we eat it — we begin to hate it. The result? We abuse it and abuse ourselves that much more. We need to change this negative relationship …with food and sex.
Everyone has a different interpretation of sexy attire. No matter what that is, I think we should all be free to embrace our own version of it. As I’ve said in past posts and in our video conversation, eschewing sensuality or sexuality isn’t necessarily empowering. For me is depressing. Just as eschewing lovely foods or spirits. Sexuality is part of our amazing lives. We just have to respect it’s boundaries and honor it.
Look out for our next video chat in a the coming weeks!