Dorky is the New Sexy

Paris Fashion Week has wrapped up and this season’s definition of ‘sexy’ has been established. Reassuringly, there was a variety of looks on the catwalk. One of the most recognizable faces was ‘it’ girl, Cara Delevingne. Her appeal seems to keep growing: she has 7,331,931 Instagram followers and is usually the go-to girl for tabloids looking for a story on a slow news day. But she is hardly what you would call your traditional “sex symbol.” The women who graced the front pages of yesteryear were inherently tied to sex appeal. It’s not for nothing that Marilyn Munroe quotes litter Pinterest and Tumblr. Marilyn retains her cultural icon status due to her sex appeal, as do many other Golden Era Hollywood greats. However, times are changing. Women are slowly being freed from the burden of behaving solely for male gaze and are becoming less reliant on sex appeal for popularity.

caitlin moran

Caitlin Moran (source:

Cara is weird, funny, and emphatically not about playing up to the male gaze. Even her recent collaboration with DKNY emphasized embracing your unique weirdness. Her popularity marks a growing trend: women who are popular because of their humor, dorkiness, or down-to-earth attitude. Jennifer Lawrence was named FHM’s Sexiest Woman of the Year 2014 and we all cheered her on when she tripped at the Oscars. Lily Allen, Kaley Cuoco, Caitlin Moran, and Lena Dunham are a few of the other women who are very much part of popular culture for reasons beyond being “sexy.” And the internet’s obsession with Emma Watson continues unabated, especially after her UN speech.

I think Twitter has a lot to do with the move away from women presenting themselves as pristine sexualised versions of themselves—author Grace Dent describes it as: “At the age of 35, I felt like someone had opened a gate into a fantastic secret garden full of gobby Amazonians.” In short, it’s hard to keep up that feminine air of mystique when you’re tweeting about how good it feels to take your bra off at the end of the day. You can of course refrain from sharing these private details, but when there’s such support for frankness and wittiness on the internet, why would you want to hold back? It is great that women are embracing being fun, funny, dorky, and interested in things other than presenting a made-up face to their man as soon as he walks through the door, a la the 1950’s.



Stella McCartney’s ill taste Instagram snap of a too thin model wearing one of her designs with the caption “Worn well” shows that there is still a way to go before fashion accepts women of all different types and accepts that sexiness is multi-faceted. Let’s champion more women like Cara to lead the way to a wider cultural acceptance of what’s sexy about a woman (i.e. having the confidence to truly be themselves), Pikachu onesies and all.

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