Tuesday, July 30, 2013


This trend has been a long time coming.  I will admit to being fully taken by it at first.  I still have to fight the impulse to give in to it. I don't always win.

Sexy. That's the goal now. Have you noticed? Almost anything else about a woman can be accepted as long as it's wrapped up in sexiness. "Be a sexy mom." "Be a sexy grandmother." "Be a sexy CEO.""Be a sexy teacher."  There's probably not any longer a stigma to being a lunch lady as long as you look sexy doing it. (No offense to the fabulous lunch ladies I know ... but you remember the stereotypes I am sure.) Then there are the grass-roots esteem building campaigns that blow my mind. "Don't worry about what society or the media tell you about your weight or clothing style.  Be and wear whatever makes you feel sexy." Equally mind-blowing are the religious campaigns. "Modest is hottest." Because clearly, the only way to sell the virtue of modesty to young girls (and even women) is by declaring it to be sexier than being more scantily clad. Irony defined.

Now, don't get me wrong here. I'm not saying that sexiness is bad. I am ABSOLUTELY not saying that sexuality is bad. It's good, and it's an essential part of who we are as humans. I am not posting to give commentary on sex or relationships or even modesty. This is a separate issue. We've deluded ourselves into thinking that by embracing sexiness we are empowering ourselves. The reality is that what we are actually doing is teaching our daughters, our sons, ourselves, that the most important thing we can be in this life is sexy.

I feel like I need to state that again.

We are teaching our daughters, our sons, our friends, our spouses, our colleagues, and ourselves that THE MOST IMPORTANT THING WE CAN BE IS SEXY.

I can't be the only person who finds this degrading.

I'm vain, and I always want to look good and frequently mentally beat myself up for falling short of my ridiculous personal expectations of myself. It's a problem. And the problem is compounded ten fold when I start believing this lie that my goal in life should be to look, act, dress, feel ... sexy. Because then I forget the other, much more important characteristics that I want to develop. Intelligence. Accomplishment. Confidence. Femininity. Strength. Honesty. Diligence. Tolerance. Compassion. Kindness. Generosity.

40 is the new 20. Strong is the new skinny. Sexy is the new what? What are we yearning for? What are we afraid of? Is it just that it's relatively simple to accomplish sexiness? Smokey eyes, bedhead hair and a push-up bra and we're set? I don't need to worry about all the other areas of my life that I fall short in because at least I look hot? I'm not mocking that thinking ... I totally get it. But if I think about it too long or hard, it saddens me. Having teenaged daughters has opened my eyes to the value of women, and all the many ways that I personally sell myself short or am too hard on myself.  Watching them worry about their worth and beauty, when I can see SO plainly how valuable and beautiful they are, has become a painful mirror for my own insecurities.

Embracing sexiness will not empower us the way that embracing our bodies and souls and hearts and minds will. I don't have a grand plan for helping society to collectively do this. I don't even have a great plan for helping myself and my daughters to really do this. All I can do is be aware, and make those around me aware, remind us of worth that is not hinged on something as superficial and fleeting as sexiness, and challenge us to reach for more.