It all started with a sports bra.
If you haven’t seen or heard of the controversy over the Victoria’s Secret line of sexy sports bras, you must be wherever Malaysia Airlines flight 370 is – because it’s everywhere. The lingerie brand, more famous for its models and its fashion shows than its actual lingerie, decided to sex up a sports bra. I believe the official statement said something about wanting to help women combat “uniboob” while they’re working out. Well, maybe Victoria should’ve kept its plans a secret because a virtual firestorm erupted after the release of the statement.
The sports bras failed to sell and women had a field day. They used these sports bras (one of which has a zipper that unzips to reveal a regular bra of the same color) as examples of how society sexualizes women in all aspects of life. I have some blogger friends who weighed in on the subject, expressing outrage that women can’t even expect to work out with being sexualized by society and pointing to the fact that the fiasco is symbolic of even larger and far-reaching issues of sexualization in the country.
Then I wondered – am I a bad woman?
But here’s the thing. I WASN’T outraged. I actually even like some of the sports bras. And then it dawned on me. I don’t mind being sexualized. Okay. Obviously, I don’t condone unwanted advances, or inappropriate behavior of a sexual nature (or otherwise), but I want to look good at the gym. In fact, when I take my gym class and I look a hot mess, I purposely don’t look directly in the mirror in the fitness room because I don’t want to see myself bobbing up and down looking nasty. Is there anything wrong with wanting to look hot instead of not at the gym? Is it so wrong that I want to look good while I’m at the gym working on my body so it will be in prime condition to be found attractive by others? Oh, yeah, and for the various health reasons, too.
Then I wondered – am I a bad woman? Am I a traitor to my gender because I don’t mind that sexy sports bras exist? And no, before you go there – I don’t feel like a victim of media brainwashing either. There are plenty of things the media has tried to shove down my throat that I haven’t bought into: Twilight, the peplum trend and Channing Tatum, to name but a few.
I don’t necessarily think that this sports bra really represents the issue of sexualization. If women don’t want to wear those sports bras, they won’t. It seems like most people believe that selling products like that will be the gateway to men ogling women and thinking of them as only sex objects. While I understand their point of view, when women aren’t viewed as attractive they feel rejected. I think we are placing entirely too much emphasis on apparel and not enough on the real issues that plague women. And while there are some serious issues about women being trafficked and sexualized, the sports bra isn’t one of them.