Is that really so bad?
Is there really a clean space where the "other" doesn't intrude? The internalisation of all the others who cohabit or intrude into even our most intimate private places is a challenge. It's called being a social, conscious human. Someone is watching most of the time either from without or within. No need to get too spooked, though, it is a dance, from and back into authenticity, a challenge to look boldly within.
really loved this piece!! i think a lot about this ticking time clock that’ll dictate when i’m no longer Hot Enough anymore, and realized that a lot of my supposedly empowering provocativeness was actually a mask to hide how scared i was about my lack of self-identity... when you buy in to cultural expectations of what womanhood should be so wholly that you refuse to cultivate or nurture your own self image, it is easy and convenient to brand your aesthetic appearance as one that you’re doing for yourself!!!
Love this! Re: plastic surgery transparency, one of the most refreshing things I’ve heard from someone who had it would be Jane Fonda. She says she wishes she had been brave enough to age naturally. I’m 46 and have tried to let go of the props I use to look attractive in out culture, but the conditioning is hard to shake.
Found this piece via Substack Reads and I enjoyed it! I've always thought of women and fashion as being similar to men and working out. When guys say they're working out not to attract women but to feel better about themselves, defend themselves in potential fights, and gain more respect from other men, they're not lying. But an undeniable appeal of working out is to rise in the hierarchy amongst men, with one of the main benefits being able to date more attractive women (or men, if you're gay). With women and dressing hot, it seems to be the same dynamic: it's competition against the same gender, and while appealing to the gender you're attracted to is not the only goal, it's a critical one that makes the effort worthwhile.
As to why some women don't want to be honest about. You've already thoroughly explored it in your piece. I've noticed that in a lot of social justice movements about fighting beauty standards and promoting body positivity, its advocates rarely call for the outright abolishment of Vogue, Victoria's Secret, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, Hollywood rom coms, etc. Instead, it's usually about keeping everything the same, but swapping out the lead woman so that someone who's not conventionally beautiful gets to feel like a princess, which just proves that this crowd, despite its radical rhetoric, still really values being the hot girl in the conventional sense.
While it's not the 'sexy' part, I've always subscribed to the notion that women dress for other women. A man is (almost) never going to notice my necklace, my handbag, or (negatively) that I've worn the same top the last two nights out.
I've never been a sexy dresser per se, but wore short skirts with opaque tights when that was in in the 90s. But then all my friends did as well. Men may have noticed (who remembers, lol) but it's not like I had supermodel legs and they weren't commented upon. I have a large chest, and tend to wear v necks exposing a little cleavage because a round neck tends to make me look like a larger expanse, and feels more restrictive. It's more of a comfort thing than a sexy thing.
really really really love this piece!! I think stripping down the 'why' behind most of our actions will help us get a nuanced view of ourselves and place our self worth in its proper brackets. Like Jessica DeFino has mentioned, it will lessen the appeal of a lot of things.
"Some men would rather we become sexy for them in private and pretend it was an accident. I really could not care less." -- I felt this in my BONES. Never hit the subscribe button with such velocity in my life.
hell yeah. I observe myself being observe and I adore it
I recently had to explain to my beautifully striking outside, as well as in(ty j.c.)...that the pretty panty sets get them interested, they want to know more,,, but it's when we (male or female) wear pretty panties for ourselves, we get and keep our power ... Wear Your Pretty panties For YOURSELF!!!
I haven't read this article yet, but I just had to comment. I saw this in my feed earlier this week and I made a mental note to come back to it. But that was at 2 am and I've spent more than an hour at this point searching substack and GOOGLE! to find your article and FINALLY I've found it and I'm eager to read it :)
Unless they are going to attend a grunge festival, why would anybody want to make themselves look less attractive. If you've got it ...
Loved this piece! I work from home and am married and unfortunately “dressing for myself” these days means the comfiest and least sexy clothes possible. 🙈😂 But every now and then I’ll dress up for my husband to make him think I look attractive. But I’ve also struggled with how when I was “attractive” back in the day I felt I wasn’t because of said Jessica Simpson like incidents because I’ve always been a US 10ish size and not smaller so I struggled with body image even though I actually was quite thin at points. But like you, when I was on the thinner end, I’d get more validation. But definitely grad school me dressed sexy to get validation and sex!
Think this was a great piece - however I have to be really and truly honest, I dress in terms of what I think looks sexy, or for other women. The idea of dressing to a man’s sense of sexiness even when I’m dating them (aside from lingerie) honestly gives me the Ick.
To clarify, the Good Men you refer to here, are the classic conservatives. There are other sociopolitical groups of men who also consider themselves Good Men. I'd also say there's 1 group of men who are in Bad Boys group, not to be confused with posers like Macho men or others who act like they're bad. I've only met 1 of these in person in my lifetime, so they're rare indeed. But I'll argue that's the group most women dress sexy for as their highest preference to attract, with their specific Good Men preference a close, but decidedly, second place priority.
I loved this, even though I do it for myself, but that may just be autism.
If by people you mean my dog, and by sexy you mean sweatpants….you're absolutely right 😂😂