Long before Britney Spears caused outrage by ripping off her clothes to reveal an even sexier outfit, the levels of what we deem appropriate, have been edited and criticised.
It was only recently that Amber Rose went onto Instagram and uploaded a semi-naked photo, revealing an area that’s more used to being displayed in porn. Shocking? In this day-and-age, it’s now somewhat normalised and many people simply scrolled past.
Originally, sex and skin became a feminist movement. No longer tied to being forced to behave and look a certain way, it was stars like Marilyn Monroe, who gave women the permission to embrace their bodies and to not be so afraid of being sexual. Nowadays however, taking your clothes off is either a way to sell a product, or a way to promote your brand.
When I did this shoot – which depending on your views, is either classy or too much, I cannot pretend that it was ever about female empowerment. It was neither a confidence booster or a way to declare myself, proud of my body. It was the first shoot that I did with a professional photographer and it was an outfit that I didn’t even discuss with him, prior to shooting.
The jumper had sat in my room for a long time and I finally thought, this could work in a photo. As I briefed him on my idea, he came up with the concept of simply lying on the floor and looking up. The floor was cold and painful; my neck was reaching like a giraffe’s as I tried to avoid the double-chin effect and my stomach couldn’t have breathed in any further.
I certainly did not feel sexy, but I was living out a childish fantasy, of being this glamorous woman who I had seen all too often, in magazines and in digital media. It’s not a secret that exhibiting your body, is the simplest form of being sexy. And being sexy, is what we are taught to want to be.
I don’t have an issue with this; what is wrong with being sexy? My queries lie, in the fact that the term used to have connotations such as mysterious, which have now been replaced with obvious images and no second guessing. Yet as I type this, I sense a feeling of hypocrisy; I have freely uploaded photos that other women would declare inappropriate and potentially vulgar.
My wish, is for more honesty. Being able to say yes – I am proud of my body and I happily indulge in showing it. Being honest that sometimes it might be about feminism or empowerment, but mostly, it’s not. And knowing that whilst skin will forever have a place in sex appeal, it is by no means the only route that you have to take.
What are your views? How much skin are you ok with showing and do you think today’s ideals of sex appeal, is a good or bad thing?