If a woman’s clothing is tight or revealing (in other words, sexy), it sends a message — an intended one of wanting to be attractive, but also a possibly unintended one of availability. If her clothes are not sexy, that too sends a message, lent meaning by the knowledge that they could have been. There are thousands of cosmetic products from which women can choose and myriad ways of applying them. Yet no makeup at all is anything but unmarked. Some men see it as a hostile refusal to please them.
“Large will not fit you.” / She is scoping me, up and down, eyes / Flicking fast and darting away / From the roundness of my breasts / To the happy jiggle of my thighs.
“Historically, feminism and fashion have been pitted against one another,” writes Manjima Bhattacharjya in her book, Mannequin. It’s a dilemma the fashion industry has struggled with for decades – being perceived as flippant, or existing in a vacuum”
Attire and sexuality in the common imagination and approach as represented (and also as received) by the mainstream media tell us a lot about prevailing attitudes to both. Advertisements bombard us with all kinds of representations, negative and positive, of human sexuality, sexual expression and desire. In the creation and marketing of attire and fashion, there is a great awareness of sexual buy-in or rejection by the market – that’s us.
“Large will not fit you.” / She is scoping me, up and down, eyes / Flicking fast and darting away…“Try extra-large instead.”