Who Defines Sexy? Why We Need to Start a Sexy Revolution

Photo by Brandon Christopher WallaceI recently had a conversation with someone I met at a party that inspired me to post on this blog again. She was someone with whom I have a lot in common. She too is turning 30 this year. She too was raised with fairly conservative views of what is proper for a woman to be and to wear. She too has always cared too much about what other people think and that’s led her to tone down who she is out of fear of being judged. We started talking about what we define as sexy and she mentioned to me that she wanted to start a Sexy Revolution.

 

A Sexy Revolution?

“What is that?” I wanted to know. She went on to explain that growing up she received such mixed messages about being sexy. Advertisements and pop culture were telling her she had to be as sexy as possible, whereas her family and other teenagers made it clear that women who were perceived as being too sexy were dirty and bad. For her, that meant that she played it safe and wore very conservative things even though they weren’t necessarily her style. She began to see her body not as something to be proud of but as something that could cause you to get cast out. Similarly, she tried hard to walk that very thin line that all women are forced to tread between what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable for a woman to do. She kept quiet instead of speaking up. She allowed other people to put themselves forward rather than put herself forward. She didn’t even dance like she wanted to for fear someone would judge her. “We need to reclaim the word Sexy,” she told me, “In the same way that Slutwalk is reclaiming the word slut.”

The Sexy Revolution!

It turns out she’s in the midst of starting her own fashion and wedding blog and that she’s posted about this Sexy Revolution on there. I visited her site after our conversation to read what she’d written so far. She announces The Sexy Revolution in a post that starts with her adopting the blogging pseudonym ‘The Sexy.’ Turning 30, she says, has caused her to reevaluate her life and place less importance on what other people think of her. She goes on to talk about being sick of being told by society who to be and how to look:

We’re told all the time what’s sexy and what isn’t. I for one am sick of being told I’m too sexy or not sexy enough. I’m sick of being told I have to buy this or wear that to be sexy. That I’m too fat or too thin. That my breasts are too large or too small. That my hem or my neckline is too high or too low.

In reaction to all that cultural pressure The Sexy has decided to embrace the word sexy and redefine it for herself and for other women:

What I’ve realized is that being sexy isn’t about wearing the lowest neckline or the highest slit. No, it’s about how you feel in your own skin. It’s about how you hold yourself and the confidence you have. It’s about wearing what makes you feel comfortable and doing what you want. It’s about shutting out the voices around you telling you that you’re not good enough, too much of this, or not enough of that. It’s about having the audacity to just be who you want to be and ignore a whole culture trying to make you into something else.

What woman can’t relate to that?

Join the Sexy Revolution?

The Sexy, as she’s called, is encouraging people to join this Sexy Revolution by sharing her message and the very pin-able quotes she’s created (including the one at the top of this post, which is the first Rule of The Sexy Revolution). Because I related to a lot of what she was saying, I couldn’t help but find her message infectious, so I am sharing her Sexy Manifesto and a photo with a quote on it with you: Join the Sexy Revolution!Join the Sexy Revolution!Feel free to share among your networks if you want to help spread this message.

The Revolution will start… with a Wedding Blog?

When I asked her why she was using a wedding blog to get this message out, she assured me that she has no illusions that a blog about sexy wedding dresses and wedding advice (her blog has a sexy wedding dresses guide and posts helping a bride choose a wedding garter) is going to revolutionize the way we define sexy. She didn’t start the blog in order to tackle this topic. She started the blog because she’d always wanted to have a fashion blog but was worried that people would take her less seriously as a feminist if they knew she was writing about fashion and weddings. When she was thinking about what to write posts about, however, she wanted to tackle this topic in some way. “I thought that it might help one person be more fully themselves,” she ventured. She isn’t married or engaged herself but in her post she talks about how recently she was a bridesmaid for a close friend and she saw how much pressure is put on women getting married to measure up to specific ideas of what is acceptable for women. I’ve seen that myself with one of my friends choosing a different style of dress because her mother insisted that a strapless dress was too risque. You also hear about women all the time following unsafe diet and exercise regimes to lose weight to fit into their dresses. “I probably can’t convince women not to try to lose weight, but I hope to be able to use my blog to inspire them to do so in a safe way and to focus more on health than on the scale,” she told me. “Sexy has absolutely nothing to do with weight. That’s just a lie that we’ve been told all our lives.” Wherever this revolution starts, there’s one thing I’m certain of. We need it.    

Women Who Rock – Jacquie Linder

Antigone writer Nicole Perry recently interviewed Jacqui Linder, the Founder and Executive Director of The Chrysalis Anti-Human Trafficking Network. The Chrysalis Anti-Human Trafficking Network offers a national 24-7 trauma counselling line for survivors of human trafficking and exploitation. She is an Associate Professor and senior administrator at City University in Edmonton. Jacqui consults for Alberta’s Action Coalition on Human Trafficking as well as other agencies supporting trafficked and exploited victims. Jacqui is also the former Chair of the Community Voices Against Sexual Violence coalition.

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Women’s Worlds 2011

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Women’s Worlds 2011 has blasted through barriers and has broken new ground over the last four days that it has taken place in Ottawa. I have had the privilege to be a part of it as a participant, a presenter and as the BC Network Leader for the non-profit participation part of the conference. It has been an incredible journey that has brought me to Montreal (for Women’s World Network Leaders Training) to Whitehorse (for the BC/Yukon Regional meeting) and finally to Ottawa for the conference.

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Sticking Points: On Being Political

So what’s it like to be an activist from afar? In short, it’s not easy. It does, however, bring into relief some of the reasons why I helped to create Antigone Magazine. Expressing oneself politically is a right and a privilege AND a responsibility. I remain convinced now more than ever as Canada enters what is sure to be a trying five years under a conservative government that we are responsible for expressing ourselves, and expressing ourselves truthfully. Thus, the need for community-building exercises to leverage the voices that are underrepresented, unspoken for, and silent is even more pressing. I helped start Antigone to teach young women to express themselves politically and to act on their beliefs, and to help other women doing so. It’s often said that the only way the house of commons will become something more than the cockfights it currently hosts is if women start running the show: I agree.

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Your Hockey is my Birthing Story

I happen to be one of 2 female trustees on a school board of 7. This translates into 28% female elected representation on our board which is significantly higher than the national rate of female representation in municipal, provincial, territorial and federally elected seats which sits at about 21%**… though maybe the participation rate will be higher after this most recent election.

At any rate, even though there’s 28% female representation in that room, sometimes being 2 out of 7 feels a bit outnumbered. Especially given that a lot of the Administrators that are in these meetings are also men.

Now I know that some women watch hockey. I definitely KNOW in my heart that when everyone in the room starts talking about hockey except for the only women present, that they aren’t purposefully trying to exclude us. People talk about things they know, things they have in common, they use these topics to build relationships. I do it too, if I know someone has a boat, I talk to them about it because thats what we have in common.  BUT….

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“…There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women.”

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What are your dreams for yourself, your friends, your sisters, your daughters? Paint, draw, write, sketch, or decoupage your dreams on a postcard and send it to us.

Help support Antigone Magazine and the Dreams for Women project by purchasing our 2011 Calendar in collaboration with Women’s Worlds.

Attention Celebrities: We Want To Steal Your Purses!

Okay, maybe we don’t want to ‘steal’ your purses per se. Technically, we want you to donate them to our Purse Auction Fundraiser It’s in the Bag (www.itsinthebag.ca).  So, if you are a celebrity, or someone who rubs shoulders with celebrities (whether in the media, blogging, movies, music, writing, or the circus), please consider giving us your purse or using your influence with your celebrity friends to get them to give us theirs.  In the following post, I plan to tell you precisely why you should give us your purses.

CAUTION: After you read this you will want to immediately send us your purses, so I would suggest removing your valuables from your bag before continuing to read this post.

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“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”

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These postcards were sent by the Young Women Leaders Program, a mentoring program sponsored by the UCF Women’s Studies Program. YWLP originated at the University of Virginia, and UCF launched the program in the Orlando community. YWLP promotes middle school girls’ leadership abilities, pairing collegiate women with middle school girls.

What are your dreams for yourself, your friends, your sisters, your daughters? Paint, draw, write, sketch, or decoupage your dreams on a postcard and send it to us.

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