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06-17-2011, 06:30 AM   #1
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Seductive Sexuality in Fashion the Norm Not the Exception

Sex, Sensuality and Seduction are words that are used more often in Fashion and Beauty editorials than the terms fashion or beauty are being employed.

Well that is not new news as we have been so heavily inundated that we have reached the point of a mind numbing indifference.* Perhaps indifference is not really appropriate.* Let's call it, normal. Seductive, sexy, sensual are all very appropriate words indeed, as that is what most of us strive for.* We all want to be appealing to those viewing us and as sentient beings, sexuality is a very powerful part of our id.

But not only are the words being used in the content of mainstream media, but they are being carried over to illustrate the most common magazines read by the general public.* In fact if you were to look at a magazine like Numero ten or fifteen years ago, you would be forgiven for thinking that you were looking at a spread (no pun intended) of Playboy magazine, with more slender and lanky models.

Now I am not here to pass judgment, nor to pontificate, as that is not my role here.* I see it as* a mirroring of the body politic of the masses, what we wear and how we express our selves through art, photography, music etc. is a very important expression of our society as a whole or better yet a huge snap shot of a point in time that we can study in retrospect to determine the sociological and psychological profile of a society at any given time.

Well, at this juncture in time, it is the norm and not the exception that we adorn fashion magazines with nude or scantily dressed semi nude models wearing very little if any fashion at all.* Of course there are exceptions to the rule, but most of the more relevant fashion magazines, find it very much a part of the norm to express themselves using nudity as part of their policy to garner a larger reading audience.

Being that we are being exposed daily with gratuitous nudity on the internet, I can understand why they would feel the need to use this very powerful tool of sexuality to sell their products.* Without this vehicle, many of them would probably be out of business today. Of course for the more conservative magazines, there are the obligatory nipple pads that often give the models a less than human barbie doll look or even worse the removal of the breast nipples from opaque or transparent bra's, making the hole thing look absurd at best. In those cases, it is best to not show the breasts at all.

But like all things in fashion and fashion is a mirroring of society as a whole, we live in a cyclic world, with what was out of fashion today becoming in fashion tomorrow.* What may be considered sexy today will become boring and predictable tomorrow. So who knows, perhaps in the next decade or so, the sexy women in fashion magazines will be depicted in a scenario* unintentionally flashing her knee during a dinner date at a posh restaurant or touching her shoulder during a conversation or showing a tiny bit of breast cleavage while bending over to pick up a hair pin.

All I am saying is that what goes around comes around and what we consider shocking today might be the norm tomorrow and that norm just might end up being very boring indeed.* So enjoy the ride, "what ever will be will be, the future's not ours to see, Que Sera Sera…"

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06-17-2011, 07:23 AM   #2
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But like all things in fashion and fashion is a mirroring of society as a whole, we live in a cyclic world, with what was out of fashion today becoming in fashion tomorrow.* What may be considered sexy today will become boring and predictable tomorrow. So who knows, perhaps in the next decade or so, the sexy women in fashion magazines will be depicted in a scenario* unintentionally flashing her knee during a dinner date at a posh restaurant or touching her shoulder during a conversation or showing a tiny bit of breast cleavage while bending over to pick up a hair pin.

All I am saying is that what goes around comes around and what we consider shocking today might be the norm tomorrow and that norm just might end up being very boring indeed.* So enjoy the ride, "what ever will be will be, the future's not ours to see, Que Sera Sera…"
I dunno how the reversal in public tastes can take place. Apparently people like to be incrementally teased - raising a skirt above an ankle worked for a while but evolved into calf exposure. Pretty soon there'll be no skirts at all & I can't see how that sells skirts.

Rep. Weiner's overtly sexual text images didn't help his bottom line much - but apparently he thought his ad was appropriate if not necessary for his audience. Sigh, men are not very good at such things.

But how can the situation where all must be bared be reversed? You say it is cyclical but when have the skirts actually fallen and raised cyclically? In my 70 years skirt motion has been relentlessly upward to the point where I feel I must look away when walking past the middle school.

In the past significant skirt dropping has taken really major events like the fall of the Roman Empire or the rise of Islam.... I'm not ready for another such change

It must be awful to be a thoughtful woman watching postured teasing reign supreme.

Last edited by newarts; 06-17-2011 at 07:59 AM.
06-17-2011, 07:47 AM   #3
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Part of me feels like, gee a fashion photographer commenting on sexuality in fashion photography. Well that's sort of the pot calling the kettle black. However, it does beg the chicken or egg question, does fashion drive sexuality in photography or is it the other way around? Who knows? Not me for sure. Personally I feel like there is a huge difference between sexuality in fashion and just plain old porn.

Regardless, I'm with Ben and just going to sit back and enjoy the ride.
06-17-2011, 09:22 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by newarts Quote
But how can the situation where all must be bared be reversed? You say it is cyclical but when have the skirts actually fallen and raised cyclically? In my 70 years skirt motion has been relentlessly upward to the point where I feel I must look away when walking past the middle school.
I wanna know who first thought it was a good idea to dress Catholic schoolgirls in Japanese Lingerie...

06-17-2011, 09:32 AM   #5
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I think I'm with newarts. With only 48 years behind me, I've seen the same thing. There have been short flatlines in the trend; the 60's miniskirt became gauche in the 70s, but by the end of the disco era they were just "skirts". Shorts got long in the 90s, but skirts didn't reverse much, if at all.

And now the prevailing dress for the "girls" (from whatever age they can go out by themselves all the way up to middle-aged MILFs) in the neighborhood appears to be "Contemporary Hooker". I'm not judging them as people, nor am I complaining (many of them are very pleasant to see), only reflecting on the clothing style. I suspect that the trend in photography that you've noted is a part of a greater cultural zeitgeist, which is a product of our bi-polar relationship with sexuality and nudity. We're some of the greatest prudes on the planet, while being some of the most sexually motivated people on the planet. I think it's intentional - if they (advertisers, politicians, etc) allow sexuality to become passé, then it will no longer SELL.

But photography and sexuality have been linked since the very beginning, as have art and sexuality. I don't expect that relationship to end any time soon.
06-17-2011, 12:10 PM   #6
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Just strolling through the kids section at my local Walmart is enough to tell me that the whole slut style thing has gone a bit too far for me. When you can literally find baby t-shirts, and low cut tank tops that say "Sexy" or similar, when you can literally buy lace bras and thong underwear for 6 year old girls then I think it's maybe time we re-evaluate where high fashion is going.

There are now real makeup lines for little girls and those girls are now wearing real makeup all the time. It's not just for play anymore. Pageant style tiaras are "in" and so are backless dresses that look like they should be draped on an adult model in Vogue.

The magazines are only reflecting what's been going on in our culture. Go look at the toy shelves and you'll see the same thing, fashion doll after fashion doll lined up, wearing what looks like the latest in streetwalker clothes aka high fashion. I've been a Barbie collector for a long while and both of my little nieces are also, but they don't get new dolls unless they have decent clothes on, and if I actually have to make them, then so be it. I have a whole growing pile of doll clothing in a bag that no one in my family wanted to see them emulating at this point.

I don't mind some nudity in fashion when it's adults. I'm not a prude about adults showing a bit of skin now and again, but this constant barge of near lewd imagery that's showing up in every fashion magazine and on every billboard it's getting to be a bit too much even for me. There's a place and a time for boudoir work. I don't happen to think it should be in Vogue and I definitely don't want to see that kind of "style" worn by little girls.
06-17-2011, 12:50 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by magkelly Quote
.....
The magazines are only reflecting what's been going on in our culture. .....

I'm not so certain about who is leading who here.

I think this species learns primarily by copying and is taught by example including story telling. Repetition loud & obvious can rapidly become truth.

What happens when girls find out there's more to womanhood that teasing?
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