It's Time to Retire the Word "Sexy"

It’s unsure when the word was first used, 1905 or 1923, but It certainly is known to have originated in the United States.  If it was up to me I would have hoped for a brighter word legacy than the word “sexy”.  It was originally coined to describe Rudolph Valentino, the legendary film actor.  I didn’t know him other than by name before researching for this post, but as far as I can tell he would have been the “sexiest man alive” in 1926 if People magazine was around.  Thankfully that era escaped the magazine, but nonetheless the word started there.

Why do I dislike the word so much, mainly because it separates people.  It has them striving to be something imagined, instead of their authentic self.  It was relatively obscure until the 1950’s when advertisers started using it to promote their products.

Just like it is today, ad men set it up as the image that people, mostly women, should aspire to be.  One word, and yet, it is used so frequently from selling cars, to clothes, to well, almost everything.

Now, even though it is used daily to lure women away from their other gifts, like intelligence, kindness and compassion, it has now become unisex. Now it is attributed to anything that is deemed worthy or desirable.

The bigger reason I dislike the word is that it is used to herd people, to get them to react like sheep, instead of embracing who they authentically are.

People see the word sexy and they want whatever it is attached to, whether it is a person, place or thing.  It doesn’t matter what it is as long as people can connect with it and feel wanted, empowered and have a sense of belonging.

I’m no prude and I definitely know that advertisers use sex to sell, but it bothers me when people follow trends simply because someone has attached a label of sexy to it.

From a personal standpoint, of course feel attractive, do whatever you want to feel prettier or more handsome.  However, do so with the understanding that you are so much more than your physicality.  Know that you aren’t simply your body.  You have a powerful mind and equally strong heart and soul.

And when you jump to buy anything simply because it has the word sexy attached to it, you are disavowing your depth.  You are telling the world that you exist solely for physicality. More so you are telling people that you jump through hoops to belong.  Hoops that were created only to separate you from your money.

I am a writer, so I would never want to take away any word.  I simply want us to know that there are words that serve and words that don’t.  

So, I guess I would say that the word sexy can stay. Whatever you do, don’t trip over your feet to get to whatever thing is attached to that word unless you have looked at all aspects of it to see if it something that will help you be a fuller, better you.

Thom WaltersComment