Skip to main content

Sending "Sexy" Back


At the risk of sounding like my great Aunt Bertha, I would like to say that I am absolutely sick of all this ”sexy” stuff. The word "sexy" is being used ad nauseum and women can’t escape the pressure to embrace it.

Sexy entered our vernacular in the 1900s, as an adjective used to describe someone that provoked or intended to provoke sexual interest. Advertising propaganda, however, has been on the forefront of “bringing sexy back” with a whole new meaning: sexy is the embodiment of everything a woman desires. Now being sexy means you are desirable, confident, powerful, and beautiful all wrapped up into one very tiny little word.

What we are dealing with is the birth of an idiom, a plague of the English language, and it is being capitalized on by the media and advertisers.

Based on a cursory glance of magazine headlines, TV ads, and billboards, one could logically conclude that women desire to be viewed as sexual objects instead of multidimensional people. “Sexier Sex!” “Sexy Bod in 10 Minutes!” Everywhere I turn I am being told that my value as a woman depends on how good I might look slathered with oil and my clothes clinging to my body.

Apparently it’s not enough for a woman to be a CEO, an actress, or a mom. We must also be sexy.

I think in our hearts, we women know this is not true. Instead, we desire to be alluring, to be viewed as beautiful, inside and out. That goes beyond what sexy conveys, because no matter how many meanings we pack into it, or how frequently we use it, ultimately sexy is an insufficient word.

It seems to me that women are being sold self worth, but what we are really getting is just plain old sexy. It’s up to us whether to buy it.

Photograph via flickr user athena.

chill out music

Monica Gabriel

the bachelor, reality show