“Ask yourself why you’re being a bitch”- how the media polices who is sexy and how to overcome it

So, some thoughts on how the media have warped our image of “what is sexy”.

If you follow the main stream media, the likelihood is that you’ll be fed only a few sanctioned images of what is a “sexy woman”.

Usually a white, western thin woman.

We all know this. And the idea that there is only one kind of sexy can have a huge knock on effect on our libidos and body confidence if we don’t meet that ideal. And even if we do.

How can we feel sexy when we’re bonking if we don’t match the image in our minds and that our society tells us is sexy?

Why would we want to have sex if we feel negative about exposing our own bodies? The bum jiggles, the hairy armpits, the scars … we judge ourselves and condemn our bodies because they don’t match up to the perfect ideal.

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Yesterday I happened to look round into a mirror, and felt horror at what I saw. I noticed all my bumps, lumps and flaws, and I thought- how can someone who looks like me ever be sexy?

My whole life I’ve never thought of myself as a “sexy person”. I have always been the tallest girl in my class, towering over the boys, and although I remember being told that supermodels are tall and that I’ll be glad when I’m older, I found myself feeling like a giant skyscraper that stuck out like a sore thumb. I also can’t dance and my height just reminds me of my inability to keep any rhythm. How can someone be sexy when you can’t move in a sexy way?

I also have Kyfosis, meaning my back sticks out at a slightly funny angle and I get bad back pain. Probably not helped by the fact that I stooped to fit in, apologising for the space I was taking up in the world. How can someone be sexy who has slightly hunched shoulders and is super awkward?

These two things also add to my feelings of anxiety, which until lately has been the backing track to my life. A constant hum and tide of worry washing over and drowning most of my positive thoughts.

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However, recently I had a huge revelation…

Being sexy is NOTHING to do with how you look and ALL about how you FEEL.

Maybe obvious to some, but it hit me like a ton of bricks.

Who wins from us hating our bodies? 

We certainly don’t.

We hide ourselves away, hurt ourselves, cover up or spend money on altering how we look. And we lose out.

Think about who profits from our insecurity? And why they’d have a vested interest in keeping us that way?

Breaking out of the way that “the system” wants us to feel is really hard, but one of the most liberating and empowering things you can do for yourself.

This is your call to action:

Reject the idea that only a certain body type is sexy.

Don’t allow the media to narrow your perceptions of sexiness.

The craziest thing is that often our partners don’t see this ideal! My boyfriend tells me I’m really sexy, he loves my curves, doesn’t care what size my boobs are just that they’re lovely, he appreciates me and sees completely through the lie the media try to sell us. He doesn’t see my body in the harsh like that I do.

So why don’t we see it that way?

I think for me, I’ve spent a long long time trying to DO sexy. I thought if I buy this certain product, or this brand of lingerie, or have my hair like so, or weigh a certain amount, or dance like Beyonce, I’ll be sexy.

And it’s total bullshit.

Sexiness is ALL about how you feel and how you are.

I’m cringing when I say this (haha), but we should be a human BEING sexy not a human DOING sexy.

Until recently, I’ve always felt awkward, dowdy, lanky… you name it, I’m the least sexy they come!

But, by breaking out of the usual trope of beauty and looking in new places, I’ve become so much more accepting and proud of my body and with it I feel much sexier.

I hope below you’ll find all the inspiration you need to love the skin you’re in too….

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06fe2744e1da070afb9ce1f88b4cac97--about-heart-queen-of-heartsSURROUND YOURSELF WITH WHAT YOU THINK IS SEXY:

Before, if someone would have told me to look at Pinterest to feel better about my body, I’d have laughed so hard. My boards have just been clippings of nice wallpaper or christmas gifts.

But it wasn’t until I accidentally stumbled upon a post of Ashley Graham (a plus size model) on Pinterest that I suddenly realised what a treasure trove of beautiful body positive images that are on there. Looking at stunning plus size models like Ashley Graham or Christina Hendricks has blown my mind at the ability of curvy women to be smoking hot. They completely blast through any stereotype of what is sexy and I almost cried because of how empowered I felt just seeing them exist! Granted, they again only represent one ‘type’ of sexy, but it’s the variety of sexiness I want you to see.

The same goes for Instagram (although I must admit I do prefer Pinterest because I personally don’t feel as easily exposed to other unhealthy images). My fellow Scarlet Ladies blogger Amy has a wicked article about who you should follow on Instagram that are body positive, as well as this article by Naya about five models who aren’t afraid to be different.

So, go ahead- create a board that is all about what YOU personally find sexy. It’d be stupid for me to tell you what is because everyone is different- thats the whole point! But most importantly, reject the idea there is just one kind of sexy!

For inspiration, feel free to find me on Pinterest or Insta. My idea of sexy is vintage pin up women and tattoos, plus the two women mentioned above 🙂

06fe2744e1da070afb9ce1f88b4cac97--about-heart-queen-of-heartsBEWARE OF HORIZONTAL HOSTILITY:

Horizontal hostility occurs when “members of a targeted group believe, act on, or enforce the dominant system of discrimination and oppression”. Or in other words, when women bitch about the way other women look.

A great recent example is Gemma Collins from TOWIE and the backlash to her wearing a mesh swimsuit. The internet was rife with disgusted people commenting on the way she looks. However, what I want you to think about is… is that your voice and your genuine thoughts? Or is that the voice of the system getting you to police her for looking a certain way? Because she doesn’t fit the “ideal” shape? Because shes daring to step out of the box and live her good life?

I LOVED this article “Ask yourself why you’re being a bitch before you judge Gemma Collins in mesh” because it got right to the core of this issue.

What it means when we use horizontal hostility is that we’re also applying that judgement to ourselves. And we’ll feel shitty afterwards. The more you can challenge those inner voices and realise why you might judge others, who benefits from those thoughts, and what that means for all women, the less you’ll begin to judge yourself.

06fe2744e1da070afb9ce1f88b4cac97--about-heart-queen-of-heartsCHALLENGE THE DOMINANT VIEW OF WHO CAN BE SEXY:

All I can say for this is, watch burlesque.

Dita Von Teese made it famous, but burlesque is for everyone. Watching women of all shapes and sizes strip tease is always so empowering.

Also, take a look at what other resources are out there that celebrate diversity and sexuality. I love this collection of pictures about the strength of Mums bodies after child birth (and the tiger stripes movement to rename our stretch marks!) as well as this Playful Promises collection of older women looking gorgeous in lingerie.

06fe2744e1da070afb9ce1f88b4cac97--about-heart-queen-of-heartsFIX UP/LOOK SHARP:

So, I’m not here to tell you that to be sexy you should look a certain way. Thats bullshit.

When I first started out researching lack of sex drive, lots of places give “helpful” advice about self-care and it made me want to punch the author in the face. I felt so shitty and dead inside, every time I read an article saying to do your hair or whack a negligee on made me sick. It’s something wrong from INSIDE not how I look that’s the issue. And throwing lipstick at the situation isn’t going to help.

But, I came to realise that how we look on the outside is often a reflection of how we feel on the inside. Being your best self and bringing her to the bedroom is important to your overall sense of well-being and confidence. And a confident woman IS a sexy woman.

I am the worlds worst at looking after myself. I’m too busy and don’t ever find the time to look after myself. I just look so so- I’m also well known to go a week without brushing my hair! It’s the “messy” look I always tell myself, when in fact it’s probably more birds nest….

I’ve come to realise that caring for yourself is crucial to feeling good about yourself. And finding even five minutes to do this everyday really does do wonders for your ability to feel sexy (and this will naturally lead to you feeling more like you want sex).

So what is it that helps you feel good? Some of my ideas are …

  • getting a hair cut or coloured
  • painting your nails (painting my red is a sure fire way of making me feel like a siren!)
  • moisturising your skin
  • giving yourself a mini face massage
  • lighting candles
  • having a bubble bath

How about you, is there anything you do to make yourself feel sexy?

Laura

P.S. Thankyou to Amy who told me about the wonder and beauty that is Ashley Graham (and who blogs about body confidence) and to Grace Latters who inspired me by her gorgeous post on being body confident whatever your experiences!

 

 

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