When Did “Sexy” Become “Slutty” and Why?

Back Yard May 16, 2009 in my back yard ready for a night on the town (May 16, 2009)Do you remember the sexy styles from the late 80’s and early 90’s? Miniskirts, low-cut tops, and form-fitting clothes that revealed plenty of skin were in style and plenty of lovely ladies were working it. How I loved to see attractive women wearing these fashions and wished I could do the same. My wife dressed in these sexy styles very frequently when we first started dating.

Unfortunately, many of these sexy styles gave way to far more conservative fashions. Somehow “sexy” became almost synonymous with “slutty”. This is especially problematic for me because I really love dressing sexy. To the right there is an example of how I like to dress. I really love that outfit. It’s comfortable, I look good in it, and feel absolutely great about myself when I dress that way.

So how exactly did attractively “sexy” become cheap and “slutty”? There seems to be this notion that if a woman dresses too sexy, that she’s just trying to get guys horny, or she’s a slut, or prostitute. There’s a shame factor in dressing too sexy now. Why is that? Who cheapened sexy to slutty? Was it the fashion industry just wanting to sell more conservative styles? Was it insecure women constantly putting down other women who they felt looked better than they did by calling them sluts and whores? What happened?

If I choose to dress how I prefer to dress and leave the privacy of my home, I’d draw a lot of unwanted, negative attention. In order for me to blend in, I have to dress conservatively, or as I call it “femme-drab”. I really don’t like the whole conservative look. I exercise my ass off to look good and I sure as hell don’t want to have to cover it all up or dress in styles that I don’t find appealing. I won’t look good forever – let me show off what I got. What’s wrong with that?

cami vs. maternity... what's the difference aside from the baby bump?Women’s styles have gone from ultra-girly and sexy to not-so-girly and conservative. Even today’s clothing that does reveal more skin still seems pretty unappealing, at least to me. Instead of showing off a woman’s beautiful figure, many of today’s styles effectively hide it. The whole “maternity” look is in style now. I keep waiting for it to go away, but it just keeps coming back in greater force each season. What happened to the waist line being… well, at the waist? Now the “fashionable” tops and dresses are draped like curtains from just under the breast-line and completely cover and hide the waist like a maternity top or dress would do. Yuck! I refuse to wear any of these styles. I don’t even like when my wife does, which luckily she doesn’t very often. It’s very unflattering and gives the illusion of a larger belly and wider hips, but most women seem to just eat it up. I don’t understand why, other than they simply follow the latest fashion trends, period. I’m not picking on anyone who actually enjoys this look, I’m just not a fan of it at all.

Spanish morning TV vs. American morning TVThe increasingly popular women’s conservative look seems to be mostly confined to America (USA). Sometimes I watch the Spanish-speaking television network Univision. Their news broadcasts and TV shows are bursting with beautiful women, often dressed very sexy. You won’t find an American news broadcast featuring a gorgeous hostess wearing a low-cut minidress. Check out that comparison photo of a morning Spanish TV show (top) vs. a morning American TV show (bottom). Notice the difference in the women’s styles? Watch a newscast or telenovela (soap opera) on the Univision network and you’ll (usually) find very attractive women showing plenty of skin wearing sexy clothes. And guess what: it’s NOT considered slutty or inappropriate in their culture! So why then is it in the American culture? Sadly, I am starting to notice that maternity fashion spilling into women’s styles seen in the Spanish TV network. I’m hoping this trend will not continue.

The main point is: in (western) non-American cultures, “sexy” isn’t seen as a bad thing at all. If a woman dresses sexy and shows a lot of skin, it doesn’t mean that she’s “sending out the wrong message”. It simply means that she likes to look good, period. There’s nothing wrong with looking good… unless you’re a conservative-fashion, maternity-style loving American woman who sees “sexy” as “slutty”.

The miniskirt is certainly not dead in America. There are still beautiful women wearing tastefully sexy clothes and revealing plenty of skin, though not in the numbers there used to be. For the most part however, sexy is viewed as a bad thing and women tend not to dress as sexy anymore. Sexy and girly is out, conservative and femme-drab is in. Regardless of the current fashion trends or styles, I love to be girly and sexy. Unfortunately I’m likely to draw negative attention to myself in the sexy way I prefer to dress, and without good reason.

When I dress sexy, it does not mean, “hey – I want to get everyone horny because I’m an easy slut”. It only means, “I feel good about myself and like how I look when dressed like this.” Do I want to be admired for dressing sexy? You bet I do! Do I want to be lusted over? Uh… no. I dress to impress, not to arouse. The same was true when my wife used to frequently dress sexy. She loved how she looked and was not trying to attract men with it (as in, that was not her intent). She often got hit on for doing so, but she’s a tough woman and made it clear to men to leave her the hell alone.

I understand that there is a time and place for dressing certain ways. We dress differently at work that we might at home, or out with our friends. That’s fine for the most part. If I want to dress sexy in public on my time, there should be no problem with it. No one should be given a hard time for dressing sexy while doing their own thing. I also understand that not everyone wants to dress sexy or has a different opinion of what sexy is. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. The point is we should all be able to dress however we choose without being seen or labeled in a negative light for doing so.

I’m tired of the sexy look being translated as “hey – I’m an easy slut!” I’m tired of sexy being viewed as bad, improper, wrong, and all the other negative garbage people associate with it (mainly in America). Having to dress in a way I do not find flattering just to blend in and be left alone when in public is dull, boring, and constricting. “Slut” is an attitude and behavior, NOT a look. It’s time to make “sexy” acceptable again. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with sexy. If you think I’m an ugly t-girl from fashion-hell, ok – you’re allowed that opinion. If you think I’m a slut or look cheap because of the way I like to dress, then you’ve clearly got a problem and might benefit from seeing a therapist to address your insecurities and ill conceived opinions.

It’s bad enough I take flack simply for being a crossdresser. I don’t need any additional problems just because I like dressing sexy too. I may not truly pass as female in person, but I certainly don’t look bad the way I dress… not as bad as a lot of genetic women in my town might if they dressed the same. ;)

What’s your take on this? Have you made similar observations in women’s styles and fashions and how they are perceived by others? Do you like to dress sexy too, but fear what others will think or say if you do?

Fun fact: The word “sexy” appears in this write up a total of 36 times, including this fun fact and the title.


4 thoughts on “When Did “Sexy” Become “Slutty” and Why?”

  1. Yes, this is certainly the center of much heated discussion. My wife used to dress sexy, in college before she met me, to go to dance clubs. However, she did have one general rule. If her top was really skimpy and revealing, she would compensate by wearing pants or some conservative bottom. And if she wore a really short skirt or tight shorts, she would wear a top that covered most of her upper body.

    I agree that if a woman (or crossdresser) dresses sexy, it is just to feel good about herself, and nothing more. Some of this backlash may be caused by sexist men who are always reducing women to objects anyways. Woman dress sexy, she slut, woman no dress sexy, no slut.

    Continue to dress how you want and hopefully one day we can all blend in no matter what we are wearing :).

  2. My take is that it is sad that women, and for that matter men feel the need to wear shapeless clothing covering what they work hard to maintain, a good body.

    I think what may have caused it was out of shape women putting fit women down for wearing more form fitting clothing.

    In other words, Jealousy.

    I find male fashion Boring to the extreme, I despise jeans, I would much rather wear leggings or a skirt, or (gasp) a catsuit. I have the build for it, but more importantly I have the confidence to wear such stuff, as long as my body is not threatened. Women and men with the build should be able to wear such stuff and not get berated for doing it.

    I find it amusing how the male “package” (I hate that term) is for the most part hidden but women are encouraged to have ridiculously sized breasts, and hide them under baggy clothing. It is not like I want to see male bulges, but that is probably because of our messed up society. But I do like to show my legs, and upper body build.

    I think our culture in the 90s became very dull and boring. Denim took a death grip on fashion, and everyone and their uncle was wearing jeans (well except me who proudly slipped into spandex leggings and sweater, and went to school.

    I don’t too much like the Spanish stations cause they are quite sexist, Macho is very high in those programs. But the women do look nice.

    I people can wear what they want no matter their sex, and have no worry about being too sexy, that to me would be a very good thing.

    1. I’m with you on the jealousy thing, Pythos. Jealousy was probably the driving force behind the shame tactics that quickly became so popular.

      I really, really don’t want to see the bulges of the make “package” either. Ewwww! While I advocate that people should be allowed to look how they like, I certainly hope that the “package” remains something out of sight, period, in whatever future male fashions might evolve.

      I also agree that in the Spanish culture, the macho role of the male is very high. It’s not that different than what I witness in the real work almost daily in American culture, though. Pretty sad. Then again, I don’t watch Spanish TV for the “male” roles. ;) I truly miss being able to look around and see a handful of beautiful women scattered about in daily life, and in American tv. Spanish tv provides a peak at a high percentage of female characters that are gorgeous and dressed in a way that compliments their beauty, body shape, and has good sex appeal. Again, sex appeal has been greatly vilified in America, and equated to “getting guys horny”. To me, sex appeal, or sexy female presentation is simply beautiful. I think it was like that for most people, before the evil campaign of “sexy = slutty and is inappropriate” was put into full swing. Whatever. I don’t think this trend will ease up any time soon, but it will eventually be seen in the future, much like we see 1950’s fashion today (in terms of women having to cover up as much skin as they did then, and their wardrobe limitations of the time).

  3. Oh, bull pucky on the jealousy theory. Simply not true. But men will always believe that no matter what, because they are conditioned to.

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