Why Do Women Want to Be Sexy?

Sports Illustrated is getting all kinds of press lately for their recent decisions regarding the swimsuit models they choose.

From plus-sized women to a woman with a C-section scar, to a transgender model, and now an astrophysicist, Sports Illustrated is branching out in the name of inclusivity.

My husband has picked up Sports Illustrated in the past, but he’s a take or leave it kind of guy. However, when he does come across an SI Swimsuit Edition, I can promise you what he wants to see are airbrushed models who look nothing like regular women in real life. It’s what men throughout hundreds of centuries have wanted to see: perfect versions of whatever is considered beautiful at the time.

We could debate whether or not men reading swimsuit magazines full of barely dressed women is wrong, but my point is, he isn’t alone.

According to one website, many men (and oddly enough, more than a few females) have voiced their opinions regarding the change.

For example, the argument below refers to SI Model Yumi Nu, a plus-sized model who graced the cover recently. While SI celebrated her “natural beauty” and pushed for body acceptance, critics were quick to point out how unhealthy she is considered in terms of physical health.

The inconvenient fact is that the average weight of American women isn’t a good thing, and yet it’s being celebrated on the cover of a yearly magazine issue reserved for the epitome of beauty and body achievement. Moreover, it’s being done in the name of politics. There’s no grounding for this by any other standard. The fact is, if you were to ask 100 men whether or not they’d rather look at Nu or Upton, the vast majority would answer “Upton.” If you were to line the same number of women up and asked them who they would rather look like, the vast majority would also answer “Upton.”

“About that New Sports Illustrated Model…” by Brandon Morse

With all the debate going on about what should be celebrated about women in swimsuits and what should not, I have to ask:

Why have swimsuit covers in the first place?

Seriously, what’s the purpose?

A woman’s body has historically been glorified–at least, while we’re young, of child-bearing age, and in near-perfect shape.

There have been paintings which have glorified the female body since the beginning of artistic expression.

See the source image
“The Body Beautiful” from Ancient Egypt
A Renaissance Woman and her “Goods”
"The Three Graces" by artist Peter Paul Rubens, circa 1635. The oil painting is an example of how the painter often depicted women with curvy, full-figured bodies.
“The Three Graces” 1635- Flabby Was Beautiful!

Consider even this drawing that is shown in an article for CNN about female bodies. This isn’t the artwork featured in the article; it is simply the artwork used to fill space for the article online and in the magazine:

Notice that the illustrators felt the need to include a woman’s nipples as art, glorifying the same tool used to feed living creatures, a biological necessity that has also become a sex symbol.

I’m not sure that we would ever see the same for a man’s parts. I don’t know that I’ve ever opened up a magazine, especially a news magazine, and noticed that a man’s private parts were prominently featured as artwork.

And it begs the question: Why?

Why do women allow this?

Why do we stand for our bodies to be objectified this way?

Why do we also participate in this?

Women have often used the excuse, I think the female body is beautiful and should be celebrated.

That’s great and all, and I agree. Since I believe in the Creator, I can celebrate what he called “very good,” in the Book of Genesis.

But let’s not kid ourselves. We aren’t just celebrating the female body, and we know it.

Case in point: a recent cover of Sports Illustrated features Sarafina Nance, an astrophysicist.

In one pose, her legs are spread apart, and her face is giving, “Come here,” vibes. In another photo, she is on her hands and knees crawling, a similar pose many women have made many times in the bedroom.

In short, the poses in Sports Illustrated are meant to simulate what occurs in a bedroom, not a beach.

Which leads me to question why women so willingly give into men’s (and I suppose other women’s) whims.

Why do we want to pose in sexy bedroom positions? Why do we want to objectify our own bodies in that way?

My body, my choice is the reason.

And I get it, I do. Women are attempting to “take back” their own bodies, and Sports Illustrated is allowing them an opportunity to do that. Probably not going to get them any extra sales in your neuro-typical, sports-obsessed male, but hey, you do you, SI.

But if we’re going to take back our bodies, part of that starts with telling the truth. And the truth is, we women want to be seen as sexy.

I know what it feels like to believe you’ve lost your sexy. And in today’s world, where we are being fed photoshopped, filtered lies on repeat, many of us feel more than a little less-than. There’s a tiny part of me that’s glad SI is starting to feature women of all shapes and sizes.

But I would love to see women no longer feel like they need to compete with other women for sexiness.

I would love to live in a world where there were no “Miss USA” competitions, no Top Models, no Sports Illustrated Swimsuit editions.

I won’t force my beliefs on anyone else, but I want my sexy to remain in the bedroom for my husband. Still, I respect the fact that other women might not want the same.

But we should at least consider why we do what we do. For instance, why are older, grown women making TikToks, dancing like teenagers and bouncing around? Why are they married, yet accepting comments online from male strangers telling them how hot they are?

Why are women still gracing male-dominated magazines in swimsuits with half of their beautiful bodies hanging out?

Why do we celebrate and glorify sex in our culture so much?

These are questions we should ask ourselves.

Because if we’re chasing being “beautiful” and “sexy,” “desirable” and “wanted” around, ladies, we are chasing the wrong thing.

Chase your dreams. The real ones. The ones that make you feel good about you because they celebrate what really matters inside you. Not a body getting older every day, but a heart growing kinder. Not a face that will wrinkle, but a brain that will grow wiser. Not a belly that will grow plumper, but a spirit that will soar.

Ladies, celebrate your body. But don’t forget to celebrate your soul, too.

See you soon,


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