What is sexy? What does it mean to be too sexy? Am I slut? Who is a slut? Is this outfit too sexy?
We are bombarded by these questions from the time we are preteens to well into our golden years. They are brought to our attention by the media, our boyfriends, husbands, and girlfriends until they seem planted in our minds organically. How do we deal with it? Well, I am still learning to. However I am someone who believes in the power of film. And the movie that deals with all these questions and then some, is Spike Lee’s 1996 film “Girl 6.”
Girl 6, written by the playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, tells the story about a young woman who is on the tough road of becoming an actress. She juggles many different jobs and (literally) wears many different hats as she struggles to deal with crazy ex-lovers while trying to pursue her own dream.
During her many identity crises, she is offered the opportunity to be a phone sex operator – a job that pays well, is supposedly “classier” than being a stripper and gives her a chance to experiment with her sexuality as she assumes the personas of many different people anonymously on the phone.
During her journey, she experiments with different voices, make up and clothes, pulling inspiration from famous women like Carmen Jones, Marilyn Monroe, and Foxy Brown, women who were all known for being “bombshells” or sex icons in the popular culture of their times.
Spike Lee, who can sometimes be questionable when dealing with women’s issues, has created a movie that I think is a piece of art. He brings us right into Girl 6’s world. We feel her highs and are dragged down her deepest lows. We too get lost in all the glamour and glitter of being someone else. We take part in her fantasies and play dress up along with her. Although the fashion in the film is very 90s, with long elegant silhouettes and high-waisted jeans, the other costumes bleed into all decades.
The character Girl 6 not only takes on the heavy topic of female sexuality, she’s also taking on the struggle of race, trying to figure out what it means to be a woman of color, as she realizes that her job as a phone sex operator not only hides her true identity but also her race. She and the women she works with all vary in age, shape and size even though the telephone makes them all one-dimensional. But just like the different fantasies the callers have, the women who act them out are also unique.
What I get from watching Girl 6 is that I am the only person who can truly determine my personal definition of what it means to be sexy. And in the long run, who am I to judge? One man’s fantasy can be another man’s nightmare. One woman’s sexy can be another woman’s girl next door.
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