Apparently sex doesn’t sell, at least according to a new study put out by researchers at the University of Illinois, Ball State University, and University of California-Davis and published on Quartz. The research looked at 78 peer-reviewed advertising studies from 1969 to 2017, which collectively involved more than 17,000 consumers. What it found is that although viewers might find a sexual appeal more memorable, it didn’t translate into remembering the advertiser or into sales. Perhaps most surprising, it found that sexual advertisements actually had a negative impact on consumers.
One could only hope this catches on with the New York and Hollywood jet setters. I am so weary of seeing actresses and models with all of their parts hanging out. It doesn’t take much talent to be naked, but it does take some work to be feminine and sensual while keeping things covered. The trend to soft porn is brashly displayed in the new brat pack of Kylie Jenner, Bella Hadid, Rihanna, and featured each morning in the Daily Mail with the likes of Emily Ratajkowoski as the clear leader of the pack with the most nearly nude butt shots. Call me old fashioned, but bathing suits should actually cover your ass.
Say what you want about Gwyneth Paltrow and her insane Goop ideas, but I’ve always admired her ability to keep it covered and look beautiful at the same time. And this past April, Julia Roberts made People’s Most Beautiful Woman for the 5th time. In her long and impressive career, Julia has always covered up, lending her the mystique a beautiful woman should enjoy. Julia could have been more risqué but chose to capitalize on her megawatt smile instead. And as this beauty ages, it will serve her well.
Youth will always be beautiful and there is nothing inherently wrong with showing a woman’s body, but the way so many young woman work so hard to be objectified sexually is disturbing. Young nubile bodies grow old and the image these women are projecting are doomed to be short-lived unless they embark on a more mature and wholesome image. Discovering your sexual power in your 20s is a heady thing, but it is maturity and forethought that is needed to harness and protect a healthy self-image into your 30s and beyond.
It is never an easy thing to see your sexual power ebbing away and it was refreshing to read about Courtney Cox’s change of heart when it came to Botox and other facial injections. Cox outed herself when it came to the number of facial fillers she had gotten and how it eventually left her feeling like she no longer looked like herself: “I grew up thinking that appearance was the most important thing. That’s kind of sad because it got me in trouble. I was trying so hard to keep up, and I actually made things worse.” She says that her facial fillers have been dissolved and that she is learning to embrace her wrinkles and smile lines. Good for you, Courtney.
So to the Emilys and Kylies, enjoy your youth but stop sexualizing yourself. Become the person you were made to be. As American women, you are free to be whoever you can be, and aspiring to show the world your goods every day shouldn’t be one of them. Show some restraint and we will all be better off because of it.