My husband and I celebrated our 12th anniversary this weekend. With the kids off to the grandparent's house for the afternoon and night, we decided to cram a bunch of fun stuff into one day. My husband, Chris, and I so rarely get a large chunk of kid-free time together and we did it all at once....coffee, shopping, dinner and a movie. We laughed and talked and I felt like I was 20 again, it was great!
Anyhow, my blogging topic centers around our trip to the mall that day. I don't go to malls very often and I've pretty much stopped taking my kids to the mall. The ads are so explicit and walking by Victoria's Secret is like passing through the red light district. Wow, lingerie models are certainly more flexible than they used to be, not to mention the floor-to-ceiling photos of models wearing more of their birthday suits than clothing.
If you haven't noticed, Bath and Body Works has upped the ante with a new advertising campaign. Plastered all over the store were photos of sexy women advertising the fact that women must now smell "sexy". I'm assuming that if you don't purchase the new "sexy" smell, whatever THAT is, then you are going to be severely lacking in the smell department. Actually, it is rather alarming that there could be a smell that could possibly be an instant turn-on to a man. Would a lady really want to be walking about with irresistible pheromones wafting off of her, attracting crowds of men who couldn't resist her? Theoretically not all of the men would chase her, only the ones lacking self control....need I say more?
Everywhere you looked, there were ads for super-sexy clothing, mannequins and models were laden with impossible loads of jewelry along with thigh-high boots, amazingly sequined shirts with pneumonia-inducing winter cleavage and short "winter" skirts. Maybe the jewelry has some sort of warming effect in the frigid months? I guess women don't need to have warm legs or necks this winter--just the men.
I was looking for a few nice t-shirts to spruce up my mom wardrobe. As a mom, tees are my staple wardrobe fare. My list of what I wanted in a tee is relatively simple: not see-through, no sequins, a modest neckline, not too tight and maybe a cute flower or design on it. Try finding that in the mall! HA.
After much searching, I finally found cute tees lurking in the back corner of a trendy establishment as if they were ashamed of their modest simplicity (the tees were lurking, not me...)
Chris and I were standing in line waiting to pay and my eyes were drawn to the store ad on a display that was strategically set up to entice the customers waiting in line. The ad pictured a beautiful blonde girl, wearing a pink dress small enough to fit on a Polly Pocket. She was arching her back seductively and surrounding her were three buff and shirtless men with their hands all over her.
I thought to myself...hmmm.....is this a gang rape ad? I realize that this was a model posing for a shot, but what are they getting at here? Foursomes? Orgies? The model was seductively looking at the camera as if to say, "Look at me! I'm so hot that I have not one, not two, but THREE guys on me!"
It's as if you should only measure your attractiveness by the amount of people that you have feeling you at any given time.
I couldn't help feeling really sad in that moment; sad that there were teenage girls in line behind me who were also gazing at this ad, sad that this is what is held up as the standard for what qualifies as "love" in our day, and sad that the models in the ad believe the lie that what they are posing for is good and "all in a day's work."
*Sigh*......so, we paid and left the store. The ad in the store got me to thinking and I started observing the shoppers a little bit more. As we were walking, Chris grabbed my hand and whispered, "Did you see that??"
"What?" I asked, since everywhere you looked, there was something shocking to see.
"That grandmother over there....her shirt says 'FRESH'!"
Sure enough, there's grandma, toting around some grandkids and the word "FRESH" is plastered across her grandmotherly bosom. This is the type of oxymoron that makes one pause. There are two meanings to the word "fresh". One definition is positive and one isn't. The positive type of "fresh" is what you really want your produce to be. The negative type of "fresh" is when your child makes a rude comment or some dude ogles you in the checkout line. Probably another "fresh" definition could be the description of a woman who is sassy, flirtatious, sexy and ready to party until the break of dawn. This isn't exactly the mental picture one wants of grandma.
Looking around, there were several "fresh" grandmas shopping that day, many with perkier than average bosoms and clothing revealing the neck of a 70-year-old but the cleavage of a 25-year-old. Bosoms that don't happen without some extreme medical intervention. I saw grandmas tottering about in spiked heels and skinny jeans.
I remember my grandmother. She was a tiny, sweet thing and she lived with our family for several years before she died. She was meticulous about her appearance and always looked neat and lovely. Her nails were always polished a soft pink and her silver hair was never out of place. She could be feisty, but never was she "fresh". In all of the years that she lived with us, I never once saw her cleavage, nor could I even imagine seeing her clothed in some of these modern outfits that grandmothers are now donning.
Where is the example that the older generation of women is supposed to set for the younger generation? Shouldn't the older women in our lives have the life experience to know that flaunting your sexuality is a dead-end street?
My question is, how do we get the message out there that sexiness, acting "fresh", smelling sexy, looking sexy, dressing sexy, etc. is rending the very fabric of what it means to be a woman in our time?