The Problems of Living in a Sex Culture
We live within a society that places an importance on sex. All you need to do is look at pretty much any ad to see an over-sexualisation of the human body. I read an article by Rashida Jones in Glamour magazine in January 2014 titled “Major Don’t: The Pornification of Everything.” The article goes on to tear down our sex culture and explain the implications of “pornification,” particularly on women. Take me for example. It is extremely difficult for me to look in the mirror and say that I’m beautiful. And by beautiful, I mean sexy. “Sexy” is not a term I would use to describe myself whatsoever. The reason for that is that I don’t know what being sexy means. Media tells me that being sexy means being promiscuous and skinny and revealing parts of myself that I’m not comfortable with. That’s just not who I am. So am I still sexy?
Apparently, I’m not the only woman to question this. Glamour did a study in 1993 that said 39% of women enjoy sex more if they lost weight. Then, at the time of the newest study, the number rose to 75%! Body image doesn’t just affect our minds, it affects our actual sex lives. How unfair is that? In ads and porn, women’s sexuality is portrayed in a certain way. Lorelei Sharkey, as quoted in Glamour, says “pop culture and porn . . . reflect a very narrow, preconceived idea of what female sexuality is ‘supposed’ to look like. It’s all sexiness as it relates to men’s fantasies, rather than actual female pleasure” (Glamour, January 2014, p. 68). So what does this mean? That when I look at what is put out there for my eyes as a consumer, all I’m seeing is what men expect me to be? Like I said, that is just not me. However, I don’t think this is accurate at all. Not all women are what is seen on a wide-scale basis, and not all men expect this out of women. In short, “[t]his isn’t showing female sexuality; this is showing what is looks like when women sell sex” (Glamour, January 2014, p. 37).
So what’s the conclusion here? The conclusion is that I’m not going to find the answer to “am I sexy” by combing through ads and articles. Similar to the experience of feeling beautiful, feeling sexy is a personal journey. Media tells me I’m not supposed to feel sexy because I’m not skinny. I tell me that the right bra makes my boobs look great and the right jeans make my butt look fabulous. And that makes me feel pretty darn sexy. Take that media; I win again.