I think when women say they feel sexy, what they really mean is they feel comfortable in their body. They feel wanted. They feel empowered. They feel sensual.
Those are all great things to feel.
To say something is sexy is a little bit different.
And for the love of everything that’s holy, I need you to stop saying things are the new sexy.
No really. I mean it.
You know how Justin Timberlake brought sexy back?
I love JT, and I love that song, but maaaan, I’d really like it if he’d take that shiz back where he found it.
You can’t escape seeing how things are the new sexy.
Strong is the new sexy.
Smart is the new sexy.
Confident is the new sexy.
Right. As though my primary concern in life is being sexy, and all other qualities become desirable only when it’s decided they can become elevated to “sexy.”
Um, NO. Words matter. Distinctions matter.
They matter in the way we judge ourselves and the message we impart to our daughters.
There is a difference, and I’ll tell you what that difference is.
By definition, sexy means attractive, appealing, arousing sexual desire or interest.
Strong, smart, confident, generous, adventurous:
these are states of being.
You ARE strong if your body or spirit is capable of great burden.
You ARE smart if you can decipher or analyze.
You ARE confident if you believe in yourself, even when circumstance beckons you not to.
These are qualities of being. They are ends in themselves.
Be strong for the sake of being strong.
Smart for the sake of being smart.
Confident for the sake of confidence.
Not because they make you sexy.
Sexy is a state of appearing. It is a byproduct.
Sexy is by definition a PERCEPTION of your physical and hormonal allure to another person.
It is, and please excuse my language, a measure of how f*ckable you are.
I don’t give a rat’s ass how f*ckable I appear to anyone.
I want to BE strong. I want to BE smart. I want to BE confident and independent and courageous.
In all things I strive to BE and not SEEM.
You play a dangerous game when you confuse what you ARE and what you APPEAR TO BE.
Aim to BE so many things.
Just stop calling them the new sexy.
That demeans them. And you.
This post originally aired on HoneyBadgerMom.com and was dusted off after I was reminded of it after reading people’s comments on the magnificently strong and athletic bodies in ESPN’s Body Issue. Yes, we’re still airbrushing, we’re still portraying unattainable perfection (just of a different kind), we’re still putting too much emphasis on physicality, we’re still using skin to sell magazines… but the emphasis isn’t still squarely on sexy.
ESPN can publish a nude photo series without resorting to sexy. Your move, every other magazine in existence.