What is sexy?
A few days ago a gentleman posted a photo in a group on Facebook for sharing boudoir photos. It was a beautiful photo of a fitness professional who had obviously worked hard for her body and felt sexy. The caption simply read “Fit is sexy.” Some of the comments that followed that photo are still reeling in my head 3 days later and I felt the need to blog about it.
Photo by Mark Jesse – posted with permission
This could be a note to all of the new and up and coming boudoir photographers as much as it is to anyone else who reads it. So, what is sexy?
Sexy is something that is defined by every single person for themselves. It can be an emotion or an adjective.
To me, sexy is being strong and smart. It is kindness in another person. It is a smile, a guy holding a kitten, someone who can hold their own in a debate. It is knowing how I like my coffee, because you care to remember. It is my man in jeans without a shirt fixing his hair in the mirror. It is a woman who is successful and classy but knows when to throw her middle finger to the wind and tell someone to fuck off.
To me, sexy is someone who takes control of their life and makes it theirs. They go their own way, despite what others tell them. They carve their own path and they set goals and reach them.
In the boudoir world, there is no room for negotiation when it comes to sexy. In the world of boudoir, I am here to help women celebrate what makes them feel sexy, whatever that is.
It is not up to me to define what is sexy to someone else.
It is not up to me to judge someone, to tell them they can’t be sexy looking a certain way, or to define what sexy is for them.
It is up to me to lift them up, make them feel powerful and the sexiest they can feel and to celebrate with them. To tell their story. Boudoir is a vulnerable experience where women shed their fears and their doubts and should be invited in and allowed to feel sexy without passing of judgement or ridicule.
The comments I saw posted made me angry and turned my stomach. How dare these people feel like they have the right to say what is sexy and even-more, how women “should look”.
I honestly think it comes down to fear. People are afraid of what they perceive as “different” or what they aren’t used to seeing. They think because it’s not “the norm” that it isn’t “right”. Just a thought, but in a world of 7+ billion people, there is no such thing as “normal”.
What if the image had been of a curvy gal and the photographer posted “Curvy is sexy”? I’ve seen it happen, and people are celebrating left and right. They celebrate what they perceive as sexy and yell “you go girl!” from the rooftops. They’re right, she is sexy – but so is the fit woman, the thin woman, the woman covered in scars, and the 65 year old woman.
Above all else, it made me sad for women who these new boudoir photographers may photograph. It made me sad for the ones who would walk into their studios thinking that they were there to celebrate and feeling high from working hard on their bodies only to be judged. Even if it’s internal, it’s still there and it comes through. They won’t do as good of a job photographing them because in the back of their minds? It isn’t sexy.
If you look at the image above and think for a moment that you have the right to decide what is sexy for that woman and you are a boudoir photographer, I have some advice for you. Step back for a second, I’ll hold your hand while you step down off your high horse to research “local landscape photographers” and go forth in your new endeavor. There is no room for you in the boudoir world, or your closed minded, hypocritical, judgmental ideas about what is sexy. You should be ashamed for thinking you have the right to decide what is sexy and what isn’t, especially in this field. These women could be your mother, daughter, or sister. They are women who believe in themselves and no one, especially their boudoir photographer, has the right to tell them that they are not sexy.
As a woman and as a boudoir photographer, those comments infuriated me. I feel being a boudoir photographer is an honor and am not ashamed to say it takes a special breed of person to do this job and do it well. We are faced with the unknown with every client and in a situation that can be vulnerable and scary. In a world where nudity and sexuality is shunned and taboo, it is our jobs to reflect that back and say “You are sexy, just as you are, and that is okay!” I never want a client to feel less than that when she leaves my studio, nor do I feel for a second that I have the right or privilege to tell another woman how she “should look”, and neither should you.
What is sexy?
Whatever the hell you want sexy to be. Own it. It’s yours. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise.