Sexy: sexually attractive or exciting, sexually arousing
Synonyms of ‘sexy’: seductive, desirable, alluring, tempting, provocative, stimulating
Personally, I don’t want any of those words associated with me.
We live in a society that uses the words “sexy” and “hot” to describe women, define women, and determine women’s status. As early as middle school we see girls starting to get their periods, develop breasts, and curves. At this point they are realizing boys aren’t icky anymore. Boys also start noticing these things around the same time. They are trained at a young age to desire ‘sexy’ or ‘hot’ girls, and to determine a girl’s value based on her looks. Girls are given numbers between 1-10 that determine their worth based on their looks and sex appeal. Girls are taught by this system that their looks, body, and sex appeal determine how valuable they are. Girls who rate low on this demeaning scale tend to get bullied, and are made to feel ‘less than’ next to the “pretty” girls.
There is a group of 16-year-old girls I know very well and have had conversations with about their value, worth, and self-esteem. One day I was talking with them and one of the girls ended up in tears. She poured out her anger about how she wasn’t one of the pretty girls at school and people were mean to her because of that. Another girl shared a similar story, that she was bullied because she was on the heavier side. The next girl shared that boys (and even other girls) told her that she was too skinny and needed to get some curves. I felt sick. These sweet, innocent, intelligent, amazing girls were so wrapped up in their looks and having a boyfriend because society had taught them that that was the most important thing about them.
Hollywood, and media in general, have created this culture. To say that I hate it would be an understatement. How many times have you watched this movie: the stunning, flawless popular girl has boys flocking to her while the plainer, less fashionable girl is an outcast. The plain, frumpy girl’s life only becomes complete after a top to bottom makeover and the boy of her dreams finally notices her. This is the message women have shoved down their throats: if we want men to notice us then we need to be sexy and wear clothes that show off our bodies. It is only when men start to notice us that life feels complete. #Gag #Lies
Our society is saturated in an inescapable sex culture. You go to the mall and Victoria’s Secret has barely covered models with flawless bodies all over their windows, there are signs advertising anything and everything using women in seductive poses, and there are scantily clad women selling everything from chocolate to shoes. Men are immersed in this lie that women are sex objects from the day they start puberty and realize girls aren’t gross anymore. Boys as young as 10 (maybe younger) are watching pornography and being influenced to believe that women are objects, something to acquire and use. Men are taught that they can manipulate a girl into doing what they want by calling them ‘sexy’ or ‘hot’ and get away with bad behavior by feeding a woman’s need to feel attractive, valued, and wanted.
At a young age girls are taught by society that looks are everything. Music and movies teach women to “use their womanly wiles” (aka sex appeal/looks) to get ahead in their jobs, get men to do what they want, etc. This is a disgusting and degrading practice that many women play into because they don’t understand that their value doesn’t come from a man. We, as women, are taught by society that our only power lies in our looks and sex appeal. Our society is not teaching and empowering women to use their intelligence and their education to obtain their goals. An educated, smart woman is a rare thing to see praised in our society and that is a shame. God gave women brains and intelligence that is equal to that of men and we are just as capable and just as deserving of respect. Women in the workplace should never feel that they have to use their body to get ahead in their careers. Women are so much more than than high heels, a low cut shirt, or a short skirt.
When I was in 8th grade there was this boy named *Nick. Nick was 2 years older than me, and the most attractive thing my 14-year-old brain could imagine. Our classes were on a field trip to Ellis Island and we ended up sitting across the aisle from each other on the bus. He flirted with me for the entire bus trip and made a few comments about my body, which was pretty curvy. I was a young teenager and was soaking up the attention. I felt like I was worth something because such a good looking guy was paying attention to me. While walking around Ellis Island, Nick kept putting his hands around my hips and trying to hold my hand. Thanks to my half Puerto Rican genes, I had some pretty defined curves for a 14-year-old girl. Throughout the day he mentioned a few times how ‘sexy’ my curves were. I didn’t understand what the word ‘sexy’ really meant but I knew that when guys used it in the movies it always made the girl feel really good…so I was pleased with the word being used to describe me. On the bus ride home Nick and I ended up sitting together, in the dark. I remember Nick trying to touch me inappropriately. I was too scared to let anything happen, thankfully he respected that. It was partially because I was super innocent and had never had a boy notice me sexually before and partially because purity culture had hammered into my head the importance of virginity and not letting boys touch me lest I lose those imaginary flower petals wherein my value was held. Luckily, a teacher noticed how uncomfortable I was and made him move. My young, teenage brain thought attention like that was not just normal but what every girl wanted – to feel pretty and sexy and to have a guy notice.
Fast forward to 10th grade. I was attending a Christian school and there was a boy named *Jack. Jack was popular, an athlete, and we had become good friends that year. After a school program, Jack and I were talking and he said to me, “Sier bear (his nickname for me), if you were thinner I would totally date you.” That one statement devastated me and the repercussions of that one comment followed me well into my adult life. I felt disgusting and I hated my body even more than I already did. I struggled with body hatred and self-image issues for years all because of that one comment. From that day on, until just 2 years ago, I began to define my self-worth based on whether or not a guy found me beautiful.
Jump forward 11 years, to age 27. I was at a local bar celebrating a good friend’s birthday. I had just gone through a really terrible break up and wasn’t really following Jesus at the time. One guy in particular had been talking with me all night and at one point he said, “Da** girl, you are sexy as hell”. While part of me wanted to slap him in the face, the other part of me enjoyed being noticed. ‘Sexy’ to me was a word I had always associated with models and girls who were incredibly gorgeous. It sounded like a compliment but felt degrading. I felt good on the surface but inside I felt gross and objectified.
Objectify: to degrade to the status of a mere object
I had spent most of my life believing that my self-worth was tied to how men saw me. How many women believe that? How many women spend their lives feeding off what men think about them? Sexy is one of the most degrading words a man can use to describe a woman. Why? Because, if you read the definition above, it implies that our value is attached to how sexually appealing we are. Our value and worth have nothing to do with whether or not a man finds us sexy or sexually appealing. I don’t ever want a man to look at me like that. It is not a compliment to be viewed as a sexual object, which is exactly what the word ‘sexy’ implies.
A while back I posted a selfie on Facebook and a man I don’t know very well commented using the words “sexy and hot”. He genuinely thought he was complimenting me. However, I felt awkward and slightly disrespected. ‘Sexy’ and ‘hot’ float in the same pool of words that I hate men using to describe women. Again, those words are used to sum up a woman’s worth in her sex appeal and I ain’t all about that life. Not even kind of. A friend saw the comments and texted me, “By the way, you are beautiful. And you deserve to have men treat you with absolute respect. I felt like cyber punching someone today on your behalf. That was so inappropriate and disrespectful.” I was glad I wasn’t the only one who read that and felt it was degrading. Yes, the comments were deleted.
As a teenager and young adult I felt stuck between two ideas. I had tied my self-worth to the purity culture teaching of virginity being my ultimate gift and I spent years protecting that. (You can read about that journey here). I had also tied my value to how appealing I was to men, if they found me attractive or not. I was a full on mess trying to figure out what in the heck defined me. Thankfully, Jesus has brought me to a place where I know whose I am and where my value truly lies.
Don’t hear me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a person sincerely paying you a compliment by telling you that you are beautiful, pretty, or gorgeous…receive the compliment, but don’t let that determine how you feel about yourself. Do not let that define your worth.
Psalm 139:13-14 says, “For You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
My worth comes from the fact that God created me with His own hands. He took the time to form me and knit me together. The creator of the universe, the galaxies, the heavens…He made ME! My value is found in the fact that God says I am priceless. He calls me daughter. He calls me wonderful. He says I am accepted. He says I am a temple for His Spirit! I must be pretty valuable to Him if He sent His Spirit to live inside of me. David refers to himself as “wonderful” because he is one of God’s works, and so are you. It is good to have a healthy view of yourself. You SHOULD love yourself, you should value yourself – God sure does!
1 Corinthians 6:20, “For you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” I don’t think it is glorifying to God to use our bodies to gain attention from men. It was never in God’s plan. My priority should never be to dress a certain way or use my body in such a way as to gain a man’s attention. I am far more valuable and worth more than that. But, so many women believe that that is all they are because our culture has told them that since they were young! I was never designed to be an object, but a woman with feelings, a soul, a heartbeat, a brain, and talents…my outward beauty is just a bonus. I want a man (my future husband) to see my outrageous love for God, my heart of compassion, my love for people, my brain that is wired to love learning, and my heart for worship all before he focuses on my outward appearance.
It is time we teach our daughters and the women around us that they are more than a pretty face and a nice body. That having a man does not define them. Too many women look to men to tell them how valuable they are. Too many women are sleeping with men in order to feel wanted or desired. That makes my heart and God’s heart sick. Women were not created for men’s pleasure. Too many women are being used, raped, trafficked, prostituted, and enslaved by men. Too many women are dancing on poles and selling themselves on the street because they don’t understand how much value they have. Too many women are staying in abusive relationships because they don’t think they deserve better. Too many women are being date raped by men who just want sex. Too many women are being sexually assaulted by men who think women are here to satisfy them. Too many women are being sold into sex slavery by men who have sickening views of women.
Enough is enough. We have to begin teaching young girls to love and respect themselves, to cherish themselves, and to look to the One who created them and who says they are incredible, wonderful, and special. We have to break this mindset that teaches men that women are here to serve them, that women were created as subservient to men. Men who view women as subservient or inferior tend to believe that women were created for men and even warp Scripture to back that claim up.
We have to teach girls that they are allowed to be strong, independent, and opinionated women.That is it okay to have a voice, to be smart, and to be leaders. I have seen too many women believe the lie that society has taught them that they NEED a man. I am all for marriage, seriously, I’ve been asking Jesus for a good husband myself. But, I don’t believe in marriage defining me as a woman. If I never get married I will not be any less valuable, I will not be any less worthy of love.
I am not saying living in this culture is easy for men. I wouldn’t want to be a man in our American culture. Men, now more than ever, have sex in their faces at every turn. Movies, music, and advertisements tell men that women are for sexual pleasure, to boost their ego’s, and to serve them. We live in a society that praises a man for “bagging” a girl. That in itself makes me want to vomit. “Bagging”…like she is something to be added to a man’s roster, another number on his list of sexual conquests. Men are taught that they have a sex drive that is uncontrollable and that women are here to help satisfy their need and desire for sex. I wrote in a past post a little about this. I stated, “If a man is objectifying a woman wearing a short skirt we are told that if the girl hadn’t worn a short skirt the guy wouldn’t have looked–this puts all of the responsibility on the woman (like she was asking to be objectified) and makes men look like brainless, sex driven sheep (which, they are definitely not)…this scenario says less to me about the woman than it does about the man. “
I write to the fathers…I implore you to love, cherish, and adore your daughters. Tell them they are beautiful, talented, special, and worthy of love. A father’s love and adoration, or lack thereof, can make or break the way a girl sees herself and even how she will let boys treat her. Fathers, you are the most important man in your daughter’s life. Don’t check out when they hit puberty and start developing into a woman. Stay connected; teach them the difference between a good man and a guy who just wants to use them.
We need to teach boys that girls are people, not objects.
We need to teach boys that girls are their equals, not subservient.
We need to teach boys that they ARE in control of and responsible for their sex drives, their minds, and their eyes.
We have to teach girls how valuable and worthy of love they are simply because they are human and made in the image of Almighty God.
We need to tell girls they are more than enough just as they are.
We have to stop shaming women into being skinny or into getting procedures to change the way they look so that men will find them more attractive.
We need to tell girls that outward beauty isn’t lasting. Their mind, their strength, their humor, their hearts…those things will last; those matter more than their outward appearance.
We need to teach girls that God created them perfectly. That their beauty isn’t determined by whether or not a man says so.
We need to teach women that their value and worth do not increase or decrease based on a man’s opinion.
We need to teach girls to respect themselves and to love themselves, flaws and all.
My challenge is this…how can you, as a man or woman, help? How can you be one who helps break the lies society has placed in men’s minds that they are slaves to their sex drives? How can you help break the mindsets that women are sexual objects? How can you help young girls understand their value and worth? How can you help young boys learn how degrading words like “sexy” and “hot” really are? How can you teach men and women to mutually respect and honor each other’s bodies?
Think about it…leave comments in the section below or on the post on social media! I want to hear what you think!
*Special thanks to my best friend Sierra Irizarry for spending almost 3 hours helping me with the proofing, editing, and writing process. You are my favorite.