The Pursuit of Sexyness: The Subtle Empowerment of Objectification

The Pursuit of Sexyness: The Subtle Empowerment of Objectification

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I know I misspelled it (sexiness). Hopefully, you caught why I spelled it that way. In case you missed it, it’s a play on the title of the hit film and book of the same name, “The Pursuit of Happyness”. While most would agree that happiness is a noble pursuit, can the same be said of sexiness in popular culture? The pursuit of happiness is at the same time a choice to abandon unhappiness. Experts have confirmed that various health risks are directly related to unhappiness. Happiness is a healthy and advisable pursuit. What is the pursuit of sexiness a departure from other than the ‘dis-ease’ of being ‘unsexy’? Being unsexy is a ‘health risk’ only determined and diagnosed by an even sicker over-sexualized culture which,  if left untreated, can result in bouts of depression and insecurity. Ponder that for now. Before we dive in, let me clearly state that I am not anti-sexual. I believe sex to be the most beautiful wedding gift from the Creator. A gift from anyone is special, but it’s profoundly more special and important when that gift is received from the greatest giver of gifts. The context in which that gift is used matters just as much if not more.

Beauty

The Creator’s handiwork can be seen in many great wonders all over this vast planet we call earth. None are as remarkable or beautiful as the woman. She remains forever unmatched in all creation. In a moment of divine clarity, if not inspiration, I once heard these words from a man well acquainted with the love of a woman. “If God made anything more beautiful than a woman; he must have kept it for himself.” No truer words have ever parted lips. I have seen the Grand Canyon in its grand splendor with my naked eyes. Words are scarcely found that can properly caption such an awesome sight. I have stood by the river, Niagara, watching the natural phenomenon called Niagara Falls as I felt the moisture from a cool breeze that gently sprayed its mist upon my face. I have witnessed the picturesque, unrealistically beautiful scenery of Lake Tahoe that appears like a life-sized painting deftly stroked across nature’s spacious canvass.  At his best, Claude Monet would be put to an open shame by comparison. Yet, none of these great wonders move men like the beauty of a woman. Her natural beauty commands the admiration of mature learned men while the foolish, in their ignorance led by the dictates of their base nature, only exploit her for the vanity of their own selfish pleasures.

Sexy

“To be or not to be…” When Shakespeare’s Hamlet uttered the words of this famous soliloquy; he was contemplating whether to live or to die in his present state of being. Women are faced with a similar choice, to be sexy or to be free. The pursuit of sexiness is subtly imposed on women, from childhood, casting them into its never-ending pursuit. There is an implied promise of power to be gained from the achievement, but what power really lies in being viewed as an instrument to secure another’s pleasure? What power is there to be found in being the object rather than the subject? An object is powerless. “Subjects act. Objects are acted upon” – Caroline Heldman (The Sexy Lie). This socially preordained status not only normalizes the objectification of women, but socializes them into willing participants in their own degradation. Conform or suffer the impending consequences. Popular culture places a very high premium on sex appeal and charges an even higher cost for its attainment and still a worse fate awaits those who fall short of the goal. Sexy is the new currency. Popular culture floods the marketplace of social consciousness with a new inflated currency, backed by nothing of real value, buying our dignity for pennies on a morally debased dollar.

Context

There is a proper context where sex and sexiness are fully appreciated in all their righteous glory. In a holistic space, these ‘features’ are not the totality of a woman’s value or even the most important. They are but pieces that comprise the greater whole.  It is the inordinate “pursuit of sexiness” that is the focus of my concern, where sex and its corresponding attributes become superficial then, profane, creating an atmosphere where a woman’s value is appraised solely by her ability to titillate or provide other forms of sexual stimulation and satisfaction for misogynistic men that dishonor her. Some would argue to disassociate the word sexy from the word sex as though they are not forever uniquely tied together, one giving birth to the other. “Sex” forms the very root of the word “sexy”. In English, the suffix ‘y’ added to a noun forms an adjective meaning “having the quality of.” Sexy then, means to have the quality of sex i.e., sex appeal. Sex, proper, is a private and sacred matter to be experienced between two that have become one flesh, not for general display or public consumption. The scope of this writing must be considered with a view from this lens in order to appreciate what has been offered. There is no ill-intent to demonize sex or sexiness. It is only to provide a palette that displays the beautiful colors of love in the best possible manner with respect to divine integrity and the honor of women.

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