Own Your Sexy.

Via on Aug 2, 2010

Becoming open to self-acceptance, independent of external influences.

I am a woman in my early 30’s and I adore my sexy.

It is said that women in their early 30’s are in their sexual peak – open, uninhibited, secure and comfortable. I’m sure there is some very convincing evidence to support that claim, and, from personal experience, I would concur with the age parameters; however, my switch was flipped by more of a psychological shift, not just physiological.

I found my sexy when I became open to accepting myself, independent of external influence.

Too often self-acceptance is limited by a compulsion to compare and judge appearance, intellect, or character to another. By doing this, loving-kindness towards one’s self is inhibited which also impedes the cultivation of loving-kindness outward.

Every person has a unique sexy which has nothing at all to do with physical appearance. Bodies are merely vehicles for this lifetime which physically interact with the world, both sexually and non-sexually. Self-acceptance, self-esteem, and a healthy self-image comes only from compassionate factors within. External factors have no true bearing on the self view; however those elements have the ability to do a significant amount of superficial damage, but only if granted the power.

 

Society fosters this notion that self-acceptance stems from having the right clothes, the perfect body, a successful job, the right image, etc, thus it seems much easier to blame others, most commonly the media, for shortcomings in personal growth. Willingly, many people allow these external factors to cloud their self-image while pointing fingers to shift the blame.

By shifting the blame outward and not focusing on fostering a healthy self-acceptance at the internal core, power is then granted to external, uncontrollable factors—a losing battle.

By ignoring that the root of true self-acceptance lies within, and by focusing time and attention on these perceived external influences, a monster is created, planting the seeds of low self-esteem, victimization and/or degradation.

For example, the ideology that a ‘sexy’ portrayal of women in the media is exploitation— being the cause of eating disorders, sexual promiscuity, and poor self-image. Advertisers know, without a shadow of a doubt, that sex sells, so it’s not surprising that this tactic is used and will continue to be used.

As with any art form, what could be viewed as offensive, ‘dirty’ or degrading to one person could be pleasing, tasteful, and empowering to another. It all comes down to aesthetics.

There is a belief that a woman’s form should be only represented in a very specific way (tasteful), to elicit a very distinct reaction (beauty). As both the expression of ‘tasteful’ and ‘beauty’ are highly subjective. It is the negative perspectives on these subjective expressions that are imposing a victimized attitude the minds of women and young girls, not the ads themselves; implying that one ‘should’ feel degraded by seeing a woman in a bikini.

Repressive repercussion will result from that view…

Because we are threatened by that woman in the bikini?

Because women’s bodies should not be viewed in that fashion?

Because women should be embarrassed of their bodies?

Because it is wrong to own our sexy?

If a model chooses to ‘objectify’ herself for an advertisement, a good cause, or merely for the sake of art, that is solely her choice. She doesn’t represent me, my mother, my children or any other woman.

Why empower the media with the ability to make you feel vulnerable?

We have a personal responsibility to take control of the perspective and view we have of ourselves. No one else holds that authority over another person unless that control is willingly relinquished.

I am from the camp that no one has the authority to affect me mentally without my consent. I cannot regulate the actions of others but I can control my reaction, the value or weight I give to those actions, and the lessons I take away from the experience.

Control is limited to our own actions and view.

People may have the intention to insult, embarrass, degrade, or victimize another, however, these are types of exchanges. Exchanges involve the active participation of two parties.  In order for that intention to have an impact, if must be granted the power to influence.

As a different perspective, instead of stirring up clouds of negativity, fighting to censor an expression that does not resonate personally, drawing more attention to and granting more power to aspects in life which are disagreeable… explore within. Find the root of the discontent and either come to peace with a difference in aesthetics or resolve the issue at the core.

“To conquer oneself is a greater victory than to conquer thousands in a battle.”

~ Buddha

Finding one’s sexy has everything to do with being open and accepting of the self completely independent of external influences. Of course it’s not easy, personal responsibility never is. It is all too simple to blame others than to take control of one’s self. Accept and acknowledge where the authority resides and where that power should be focused. It is a beautiful, empowering, compassionate, and liberating self-realization.

You can search outside of yourself for stimulus, beauty, musings, inspiration, and wonder, but it is from seeking within that grants these external components with meaning and the power. Be mindful of that control and where the energy is directed.

May we all become open to accepting our own extraordinary sexy from the understanding that it resides unwavering, uninhibited and unmatched within each of us.

About Jennifer K. Jones

Jennifer K. Jones is the owner of a multi-media marketing firm, yoga instructor and practitioner, holistic health practitioner, writer and artist. Mother of three incredible little boys (& a girl on the way) who will hopefully grow up to live their passions with gratitude, radiate and spread pure, unconditional love to every being that they encounter, and thrive within the vast openness of their wildest dreams... and she is striving daily to lead them by example. Contact Jennifer on Facebook or at her website.

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35 Responses to “Own Your Sexy.”

  1. Katrina Knudsen says:

    On behalf of Anusara: We love your uplifting, embracing outlook on women, sexuality, and media (very Tantric!). You are writing about a complex subject and we appreciate your looking at the various components from different angles. May we all honor and cherish ourselves and one another.

  2. Greg Houston says:

    I hope Jennifer doesn't mind, but I'd like to point to another level of this process of becoming comfortable with ourselves.

    Though each of our expressions is unique, the nature of our basic presence is identical. It transcends gender. When we sit up straight, have good head and shoulders, as Trungpa would say, and as our storylines, labels, and judgements about ourselves begin to dissolve, this natural presence we all share begins to become evident, to manifest. It might be said to have qualities of unconditional dignity and unconditional wholesomeness. Though when fully manifest it is experienced as evenly pervading space, it feels a lot like inner strength. People that are manifesting it are often considered inscrutable. In their presence you can't really grasp them. You can't pigeon hole them. They are radiating with something beyond personality.

    When we can rest in this, we are completely free from notions of self-esteem, either good or bad or even neutral. We are no longer trying to maintain a persona, a mask for ego, be it a mask we show ourselves or others. A persona in the form of skillful means may manifest in the space of this natural presence, but it is not something that is fabricated or requires any kind of maintenance. It arises spontaneously in the moment for the benefit of those who are experiencing it. There is no particular identification with that persona. It's just a playfulness, a creativity occurring on the spot.

    So our natural presence is obscured by labels, opinions, judements, and storylines about ourselves, and it is diminished by poor posture.

    To allow this natural presence to shine starts in the same way as Jennifer outlines above. We first have to let go of the storylines that blame external influences for our self-image. Our minds can be carried away with these dramas for hours. As the storylines diminish though, we can start to examine our own opinions about ourselves. If we can drop the judgements entirely, gradually the labels begin to dissolve as well because they just aren't so interesting any more without the judgements that went along with them. The labels tend to linger for a while however, sort of like a perfume, but gradually we can start to get a sense of our basic presence which is completely free of any stains whatsoever. Out of that space then, personas arise like rainbows, and when they dissolve they leave no mark.

    At this point there is neither a shame in our sexy, or even an owning or acceptance of our sexy. Sexy just happens when sexy happens. We magnetize beings when beings need magnetizing, and they are being magnetized by a reflection of something hidden within themselves, something that transcends either individual's personal neurosis.

  3. leBoisRaton says:

    I find the image associated with this article (the "sexy" naked woman with her back to us in a sitting pose) totally ironic in the context of your article. You put it quite well: "Advertisers know, without a shadow of a doubt, that sex sell so it’s not surprising that this tactic is used and will continue to be used."

    Were you trying to test your readers' ability to define their own "sexy" in spite of your tactic? Well played, Ms. Hunt!

    BTW, I still feel sexy…did I pass?

  4. Alden Wicker Alden says:

    Jennifer,

    Your article is a wonderful reminder to look inward and not outward to find acceptance, confidence, and beauty. As someone who is their thirties, you are in a great position to look objectively at media images and say "That does not represent me, and I don't aspire to be that."

    I'm curious though, do you feel the same way about young women who may not have developed such a strong self confidence, and who are still in the process of discovering themselves? If we as a society say "We do not want to censor media images for the sake of protecting ourselves," then I think we need to be more proactive about educating young women who are in their teens or younger in the process of separating photoshopped magazine ads from realistic expectations about body image and sexuality.

    Overall though, I agree with the message of your piece: don't grant power to the media to shape our self-image!

    • JenniferKH says:

      Hello, and thank you! Yes, when it comes to young women, we as mothers, sisters, aunts, teachers, friends, ect. need to really step up to the plate and teach about true self-acceptance instead of just trying to throw a blanket over the media. Nip the issue at the bud, so to speak. We have the personal responsibility to ourselves to seize that power and we have a responsibility to pass it on to our little ladies – as they are definitely more easily influenced by the media. It takes extra work for sure, but what could be more empowering than the mental freedom to come into their own on their own? :)

      Thanks for your comment, dear.

  5. AMO says:

    I'd like to point out the further irony that you are, in fact, a very thin, white, sexy, athletic, healthy, young woman. Likely lots more descriptives apply.

    While I honor the personal work you've done, and I admit that many beautiful women don't think they are beautiful, you fit into the "standard" of beauty society expects. Bring me a black woman with big ass, an Asian woman with no ass, an old woman with saggy skin, someone with one leg, or one eye, someone short, someone with cellulite, then let's have the conversation. I really just think it's hard to hear this conversation from a woman who looks like a model. No one who is struggling with real body image issues because they really don't fit into society's ideal is going to take this conversation seriously when it comes from you…

    • JenniferKH says:

      My physical appearance has no bearing at all on my article. If the words ring true then why would it matter what I look like? I too have struggled with self-acceptance in the past prior to adopting the view outlined above. We all have our own issues to overcome.

      This is an introspective exercise, completely independent of how I look, the lady in the picture looks, or how beauty is portrayed in the media.

      Sexy comes from within, my friend. I am actually currently pregnant with my 3rd child, have a very large protrusion coming from my belly and a face covered in hormone-induced acne. My view of myself did not and will not change with my appearance. My physical appearance has no influence on my sexy in the least, just as it should have no influence on the weight of my words.

      Thank you for your comment.

  6. elephant journal elephantjournal says:

    Comments via http://www.facebook.com/elephantjournal with Jennifer's great, peaceful comments:

    #
    Jenifer Strauss interesting photo choice for this article. Great Article.

    #
    Amy J. Ray Bauer okay. i agree with all of this sexy empowerment stuff, and i thank you for for running the article. how about an explanation of why the associated illustration is of a nearly naked women with society's view of a perfect figure? go ahead. we're all (elephant) ears.

    #
    Katie Gibbs-Dixon amen to that above comment…..I'm interested to know as well?? hmmmmmm

    #
    Amy Champ Yep! I'm calling bullshit on the naked women photos, too. Second day in a row for these comments on EJ. Get with it! Namaste ♥

    #
    Jennifer Jones Hunt
    Hi there, Amy. I wrote the article and intentionally chose this picture, so here's my answer(s)…

    The article was meant to challenge the reader to question his/her foundation of self-acceptance. Is it firmly rooted within one's self uninhi…bited by pictures such as these, or is it subject to external influence? As one of the readers who commented on the article so astutely pointed out, there is an irony to the picture that I chose with full intention. It too was meant to make you question your reaction and thus question the core of your self view.

    Hmmmm…. Is that a perfect representation of a woman? Your view of a perfect woman? Isn't that subjective? Should that have any bearing on how you view yourself?

    The picture is meant to serve as a bit of a test. If you are threatened by that woman, or representation, then maybe it would prompt some soul searching as to why? If it's just a difference in aesthetics, then the picture wouldn't be threatening, right??? Just to get the readers thinking :)

    I hope I answered your question sufficiently, Amy!

    #
    Amy J. Ray Bauer Thanks for the answer, Jennifer. I appreciate your attempt to challenge us all to question our self-acceptance. Maybe this would actually be interesting if we all didn't have to make this analysis ALL DAY EVERY DAY. I do not want to rain on your parade, but I'm not threatened, I'm angry and frustrated. Finally, your use of a NAKED woman to get our attention (i.e. SELL your idea), even though she is lovely, is in poor taste. It simply reminds me of advertising trends that you're telling us we should ignore.

  7. Kara Noel says:

    I tried to comment but ultimately realized the piece is just too sloppily thought out.

    • JenniferKH says:

      Thank you, Kara, for your bold statement. Usually feedback such as yours would be followed by an explanation or justification for your claim. I'm all ears….

      • Kara Noel says:

        For starters, "Sexy" is an intersubjective concept. To pretend otherwise is just delusional, and probably only possible if you're a white middle class woman who has a great deal of control over her environment. Furthermore, a healthy body image really has little to do with "sexy," although it's interesting that many many women with eating disorders struggle to disentangle the two.

        • Kara Noel says:

          And "usually," feedback "such as" mine wouldn't. People leave curt feedback all the time. Why would you consider it your readers' job to educate you? Could it be that you view community as an interdependent and interrelated whole from which to learn? Except, of course, when you're feeling sexy and the feedback (in the form of media in some cases) isn't in line with your ideal. Then you magically have the ability to "not give it power" while sitting safely in your $250,000 home. Since much of the violence instigated against women in the world is aimed at women who are a bit too sure-footed and unconcerned with external social constraints, I find this highly problematic. Most women who have the slightest bit of self-awareness and who do not have the choice to sequester themselves away in the suburbs, develop a keen ability to discern how much of their self-confident "sexy" they can allow the world to see. Giving power to those social constraints is *both* what keeps them safe and what ultimately eats away at their sense of self. THIS is how women are subjugated. The answer to that problem is not "let's just not give power to it!" while lounging around making jewelry. It's hardly that simple, and the idea that it should be is insulting. That women should "stop seeing themselves as victims" while they are exploited, objectified and harassed in a variety of ways has become alarmingly common among upper middle class white women. Not only is it a form of denial, but it's ethically questionable and disturbing.

          • JenniferKH says:

            Dear, I'm not going to further instigate your anger.  The negativity that you feel for my writing and for me personally is quite evident and I am sad for you.  I hope you feel much better now.  I'm so glad I could be here for you to vent your anger and frustration.  Sending you much compassion.  

  8. Kara Noel says:

    Except that you are participating. When ppl say "you're being negative" absent actual hate mongering, they usually just mean "I don't like how this is making me feel." Unfalsifiable claims about another person's inner life are a pretty typical "spiritual" way of dismissing the views of others. It's not appreciated. I apologize If I don't om shanti every sentence. It's out of sync with my writing style, but the questions I raised are not buried or obscure. Or are you more interested in responding to style?

    So argue it. Start with the statement that "sexy" is an intersubjective concept. Do you not agree with that statement? If so, why? If not, how does the view you stated above fit with that statement? How do you think women outside the very safe American white middle class should go about doing what you propose in a way that's safe for them? They have the same interests you do, so I don't see the point in ignoring it.

  9. candicegarrett says:

    Wow. Loved this. I actually read the comments before the article. I went back and read your article and I really, really liked it! We spend so much time pointing out other's faults and that the real "yoga" would be to start paying attention to ourselves and our own actions a little more. I'm sorry that some have somehow missed your message about the media and about finding peace within. I think you came through loud and clear. Really what you are talking about goes much much deeper than just "sexiness," (although I appreciate your usage of the word as relevent to the current yoga brewhaha) and delineates how to move away from the outward barrage of information and images to the peaceful inward self. That is yoga. Beautiful.

  10. ARCreated says:

    lovely!
    I think we have all been thinking in these terms:
    http://www.elephantjournal.com/2010/08/mirror-mir

    I would lean towards the side that media doesn't help…but I am glad we are finding our way out of it. and although I am sure it has been a struggle for you as it is for all…it is true that the messenger effects the message…so for those that think you can't quite stomach being told to feel good about your self from a skinny white chick…
    check this out.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ApA4m_uZns Now quit whining…celebrate someone feeling good and help someone else feel better…Sheeesh

    • JenniferKH says:

      Thank you, Aminda – Your article was beautiful. And thank you for posting that link… I saw this a while back and was so moved by the strength and beauty that radiated from him. Much gratitude for you comment.

      • ARCreated says:

        I just loved your positive attitude…sorry you got so attacked for being hopeful :)

        did you see the other post about the butterfly circus??? You will love it I'm sure!!

        • JenniferKH says:

          I absolutely loved Butterfly Circus! So beautiful and moving. You have truly fantastic and inspiring posts. I look forward to more of your positive perspectives.

          And thank you – it all just makes this optimist that much stronger :) Have a beautiful weekend, Aminda.

          • ARCreated says:

            Yeah optimism or as I said in another comment section… You can be a "realist" if you want to (what is real??) but I'll stick to my lovey dovey hopey changey self :)

  11. Tom Ross says:

    Loved your article, Jennifer!

    In my experience, it is very rare to encounter a person who even realizes that the only control they can hope to find in this life, is control over ourselves…our thoughts, our actions, our words, our reactions…and if you encounter someone who has done some serious inward work in that realm, you know it immediately! ;). I believe that all other attempts at control in life, are an illusion…we can only hope to influence in other realms of our lives.

    Thank you for sharing your positive, empowering vision!!

    Peace,

    Tom

  12. Priestess says:

    Aloha.
    When I was 32 I felt this way. Then it went alway and at the age of 43 it trying to come back.

  13. Jason Gan says:

    Accept who we are, and not the image of "sex" that fashion and marketing impose on our culture.

    • Joe Sparks says:

      Hi Jason, I totally agree, however as society has more and more difficulty maintaining itself and its irrational economic system, ever increasing numbers of attempts are being made to restimulate nearly everyone in the population. An ever-growing number of these are aimed at restimulating people about sex. The efforts continue to grow more numerous, more desperate, and more explicit. Capitalism tries ever harder to sell an ever larger collection of products by connecting them with sexual restimulation. Advertisements using sex blatantly enough to have caused legal action only a few years ago are now accepted in the mass media.One result of this, of course, is the continued objectification of women and the furthering of sexism and confusions about sexism's existence. There is also increasing objectification of children and young men. All thses things make it much more difficult for us to be thoughtful, aware, and effective allies for each other.

  14. Cindy says:

    Thank u _()_

  15. Oooh sexy says:

    Why empower the media with the ability to make you feel vulnerable?

    Exactly!! Love it

  16. real food is good says:

    I love this article. To me, this "sexy" means your attitude, the way you look at the world, your own inspiration. i think its ridiculous that people have wrote about race, being thin, etc. i guess people have a warped sense of what sexy really means. Its hard to have a positive outlook in this world, but if you at least try a little bit to change your lifestyle for the better or change you thoughts toward more positive, that, is definitely sexy.

  17. Rohini says:

    Thank you for this! :-)

  18. sonja says:

    Interesting –there is a part of our paths that involve social change–and I don't think that this should be overlooked–stepping outside pretty and lovely feelings to help make this world a better place—
    it is not just the celebration of certain body types but the ridicule of all others–i believe it is out of control and seriously wrapping men's understanding and expectations of women and for women—the plastic surgeries at the ages are overwhelming…I believe that we need to change our wonderful culture as uncomfortable and as unpopular as that is–

  19. JenniferKH says:

    I am well prepared to argue the validity of my view, as I have for every single person who has posed a question or initiated a discussion; however, I choose not to engage in anything with anyone who is unable to be level-headed, mindful, and considerate. Slinging negativity can only get you so far – I choose not to participate. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

  20. live says:

    you are an angry angry person. get some help

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