My name is Caro, I am a lingerie blogger, and I have a problem: if I see the word ‘sexy’ used one more time, I will scream. It’s a tough position to be in.
Part of me hates the fact that lingerie is so completely sexualized. The pressure around Valentine’s Day just exacerbates this issue. I want to tear away that baggage, to make it ‘just’ a piece of clothing, a garment as any other. As much as I really, truly believe that lingerie is personal and doesn’t have to have anything erotic about it, I can’t shake the conviction that the intimate, sometimes risqué side of lingerie is still part of what intrigues me about it.
I think that I’ve just heard (and written) the word ‘sexy’ so many times I don’t even know what it means anymore. Sexy seems to bog me down in nonsense and continually raises the question of who this ‘sexiness’ is supposedly attracting and why you should care. I’m sure I’m written about ‘feeling sexy’ before with regards to lingerie, but I’m not sure I really know what that even means? I’m not really calling for a reduction in eroticism– sometimes I even bemoan the lack of it (such as with same-sex relationships on TV).
But there has to be something more complex and interesting than the word ‘sexy’ slapped on everything with abandon. Sexuality, if not ‘sexy’, is part of what occasioned this blog in the first place. I do think it’s an interesting topic to explore in relation to appearance and self expression. Intimacy, invisibility, illusion and the tension between the natural and the unnatural all interest me when it comes to lingerie and sex appeal can’t be completely left out.
There are actually several posts from lingerie bloggers about how lingerie gets unfairly stereotyped as overtly sexual, but they also often emphasize the utterly utilitarian aspects of having undergarments that fit and support. The thing is, the utility is only a small part of what interests me about lingerie and it is usually superseded by a response to the aesthetic qualities of a garment, the ‘fashion’ component.
But fashion still has a complex relationship with sex and sexuality. Recently there has been a lot of backlash to the idea of ‘Trends Dudes Hate,’ a type of article the ladymags often write that ‘reveal’ that men hate red lipstick or dropped crotch trousers with the assumption that this should sway women’s clothing choices. Arabelle wrote an interesting piece for The Style Con about the value of sexlessness in clothing and touching on the idea of clothing that could eradicate harassment which even further complicates the idea of sexuality in lingerie. Lingerie has a weird dual reputation as both the ultimate mancatcher and an utterly useless garment that men don’t appreciate, which just adds to this ‘sexy’ confusion. Clearly, I never care about what men think about lingerie, but the question of what your partner finds sexy is still an issue that a lot of people care about– which is probably why my article on wearing lingerie for your partner is one of my most popular ever.
Writing this post really raised more questions than it answered for me, but I think this is a discussion worth having. Can ‘sexy’ ever be an inherent quality in a garment, or does it come from the person wearing it? I continue to wonder whether a meaning for sexy will ever be recovered from it’s current levels of nonsense. Does sexy have value? What is its purpose?