Fashion and Sexuality: response to fashion photography readings

After reading the “imaging and imagining fashion” texts I found myself often asking why fashion must portray women in such a sexual manner. As we concluded in class by deciding “sex” was of the words which describe fashion, it is clear that the word  plays a huge role in the industry. But how did this come into effect? Why must advertisements and fashion images make women think that they must be sexy in order to look and feel good. This is such a loaded question because along with sex, looking and feeling good comes with self-image and self-esteem. These two words play a huge factor in fashion but why must women always be concerned with looking sexy for men? And why is it okay to have to encounter and feel slightly violated by a creeping man on the street who comments on your sex appeal with a comment like, “hey sexy.” Why did women allow this everyday occurrence to become acceptable? Why can’t we do anything about it?

An excerpt from the Fashionable Photography in Mid-Twentieth-Century Senegal particularly stood out to me in discussing the emergence of mini-skirts. When asking a man about the mini-skirt fad in Senegal in the 1960’s he stated that “the miniskirt ‘invited’ rape because men had never even seen their mother’s legs.” Women should be able to feel good in their body and wear shorter hem-lines without being concerned about how men will react, especially if it is in a life threatening way.

My mom raised me a huge advocate for women’s rights and empowerment. She recently sent me a New York Times article which talked about the scandalous outfits college students wear on Halloween. Women find Halloween to be an excuse to dress incredibly slutty and wear whatever they want in hopes to impress guys. Why do we feel like this is necessary? It’s almost exhausting with so much pressure to find the perfect outfit, look perfect, and be sexy. The article reminded me of the scene from the movie Mean Girls when Cady walks into the halloween party dressed as a zombie bride to be completely surprised to see all the other girls wearing practically nothing. The viewer can’t help but feel embarrassed for Cady which I wish wasn’t the case at all. She looks like a really scary zombie bride and put a lot of effort into her costume but because her outfit isn’t exactly sexy the other girls humiliate her and ask her why she is wearing such a scary, ugly costume. After all, how dare she not look sexy and therefore, fashionable, on Halloween.

-Emily Kotarski


One response to “Fashion and Sexuality: response to fashion photography readings

  1. Women sometimes dress sexy inform of liberation. women want to be looked at but not objectified. women dream of being dreamt of so she often offers her femininity with sex appeal. its kind of a controversy because women want to be appreciated as herself by another. so beauty becomes what is sexy and what is not sexy and that is an expression of vanity.

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