Bigger Expectations: Sex Sells, But at What Cost?

Bigger Expectations: Sex Sells, But at What Cost?

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Buzzfeed Photo
Buzzfeed Photo

I never thought I’d see the day I’d write those words: “Too Much Sex.” It feels like something has died a little inside…which is why I am making the important clarification between the act, and the adjective.

We’re talking “adjective” today, people.

Call off your mob.

To that end, BuzzFeed Video recently did something… I don’t know, I’ll go with “pretty cool”. I’d give them an A for effort, at least.

Hell, I’m sure they think it’s groundbreaking. The point of this experience?

“We think it’s very important for women of all different shapes, sizes, and colors to be represented and give an accurate depiction of what a beach body really is.”

AND THAT IS TRUE.

SO true.

All the truths, smushed together, wrapped in a giant, truthy hug, smothered in Truth Sauce, served up just for you.

… but it raises more concerns for me than it does praise.

Oy with the sexiness already!

I think every woman (and man), regardless of shapes, sizes, colors, abilities, and orientations should be represented and shown as sexy, but I also think they should be shown as a hell of a lot more than just that… especially when “sexy” is such a subjective term.

That’s right.

What’s attractive, seductive, desirable, alluring, sensual, sultry, slinky, provocative, tempting, tantalizing, etc. to you, may not be to me. Or him. Or her. Or that guy. Or that one person…

When I think about everything that makes up the Wonder That Is Krystal, I have a list of things to choose from – not just “sexy”.

  1. I am a stellar mom.
  2. I am confident enough, and enjoy laughter so much, that I couldn’t care less if my jokes actually make sense.
  3. I am loved by the best man I never could have dreamed up in a million years, and he lets me love him back.
  4. I am so good at multi-tasking, I may need a starring role in the next X-Men movie.
  5. I nerd, and I nerd HARD.
  6. I make the best chocolate chip cookies you have ever shoved into your cookie-eater.
  7. I am surprisingly flexible for a 6-foot woman over 250lbs.
  8. I am incredibly passionate and dedicated to whatever goals I set.
  9. I haven’t killed my cats yet. I win.

AND I am sexy.

I’m not ashamed of it, nor am I putting it last on the list out of a need to make a point…but it just isn’t that important to me, as it doesn’t impact my everyday life the way everything else on that list does.

If I stopped seeing myself as a good mother, lost my confidence and enjoyment of laughter, no longer loved my husband or felt loved by him in return, couldn’t juggle the astounding plethora of projects on my plate, stopped challenging and inspiring my brain with nerdy things, didn’t practice creativity in the kitchen, allowed my muscles to atrophy, stopped caring about important issues and causes and/or killed my cats, even once (or “even one of my cats,” as I have three), I would find myself suffering from an identity crisis because those things matter to me. They define me.

Not feeling sexy, however? I can go a day or 60 without that; for me, that’s called “having a newborn“.

Seriously…why the focus?

Because. Sex. Sells.

Researchers found seeing an attractive man or woman in an advert excites the areas of the brain that make us buy on impulse, bypassing the sections which control rational thought (published in the Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology and Economics September, 2011/researched at UCLA).

“Ultimately, Sports Illustrated swimsuit covers aren’t selling sports, or health, or even athletes most of the time. They’re selling sex and sexy ladies.”

Essentially, advertisers come at you in two ways. There is the just-the-facts type of ad, called “logical persuasion,” or LP (“This car gets 42 miles to the gallon”), and then there is the ad that circumvents conscious awareness, called “non-rational influence,” or NI (a pretty woman, say, draped over a car, half-naked, chowing down on a Carl’s Jr. hamburger).

The NI ads lower our inhibitions, leading to potentially increased spending.

We are, essentially, being grown and fed in the exact way advertisers want, so they can siphon off our wallets without a struggle.

Neo’s ‘wake up’ scene from the Matrix comes to mind…

How the push for sexiness leaves scars

SUSAN: The experience was super feel-good and fun, but it’s also been a thought-provoking experience. I hadn’t realized this until after the photo shoot, but when you don’t see yourself represented in magazines, what they’re actually saying is, “You don’t exist” or “You don’t matter.” And that can be damaging AF to young girls. Every woman deserves recognition and knowledge that she matters. The lack of representation, on top of the pressure to be “beautiful” and thin but also curvy in all the right places? Blehhhh. It’s a miracle I survived those angst-y teenage years. (BuzzFeed)

As if it wasn’t enough that we’re bombarded with messaging telling us how important it is to be sexy, not seeing ourselves represented as a sexual object is cause for pain and confusion as well… especially when (remember?) not everyone can agree on what is sexy.

2016-04-05-1459886829-8559899-chickenneo-thumbThis is the mixed messaging that we are allowing not just ourselves, but our young men and women, to think is okay…that they are to aspire to sexiness as one of the most important things in life, that sexiness equals recognition and acknowledgement of self-worth.

What about what they, what WE, can actually do?

Yes, I can be (and am) sexy… but, remember?

I can parent. I can joke. I can love and be loved. I can accomplish a great deal through multitasking. I can nerd out. I can create amazing food. I can use my body in amazing ways. I can accomplish goals and inspire others. I can keep my asshole cats alive when they don’t deserve it even one bit.

Let’s focus on the parts of us that make up more of what living life is all about.

Let’s focus more on the Doing, the Experiencing, the Creating, the Feeling… let’s focus on what brings US joy, makes US feel whole, and not what others think about our bodies.

To do that, I want to see what the cover of YOUR magazine would look like! I hope that you’ll fill out this survey and shift the focus from “OMG ALL THE SEXINESS” to “Wow… I didn’t know they could do that…!”

For more fat, fierce, in-your-face goings-on, be sure to check out Bigger Expectations on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the Bigger Expectations website.

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