Jazz & Sky's "Sex Sells" Debate On 'grown-ish' Shows There's More Than One Way To Celebrate Sexuality

Freeform/Ron Tom

The Forster twins are doing it for the 'gram — and everyone has an opinion. On the Feb. 13 episode of Freeform's grown-ish, titled "Working Me," Jazz and Sky sparked a divisive "sex sells" debate among the crew after enlisting Zoey — making her first foray into the styling world — to help rebrand their image to boost their social media presence. As Jazz explained to the budding stylist, whose initial attempt at a "fashionable, classy" athlete vibe tanked with the girls, if they want "500,000 followers and athletic sponsorships," their only choice is to sex it up.

From the start, Jazz's logic seemed flawed, especially when she said she's "not better than" Chastity Decas, a fictional rival athelete from the show, because she doesn't have the same social media following. Can you really measure your self-worth by the number of likes you rack up from an Instagram post? Hardly. But Chastity got 5,000 of them for "dry-humping a basketball" and, as Jazz said, she and her sister "want dry-humping numbers."

Her point lays out an unfortunate truth about the monetization of social media in the generation of so-called Instagram influencers. "Being a nationally ranked athlete isn't enough to get paid," Jazz said. "But being IG famous will help us get those endorsements we need."

Validating that assertion: After the girls posted their first scantily-clad pic on social media, they gained 2,000 followers in 3 hours — and were almost immediately offered a a deal to wear a particular brand in a future post. (OK, so it's a brand of compression socks, but a deal nonetheless.) Jazz reconciled their questionable decision with an "everybody's doing it" mentality and that it's worth it because it will bring her and Sky "better opportunities."

Sky, who was visibly uncomfortable throughout the episode, however, had a different take. Despite initially admitting she went along with the plan because she'll do anything for her sister — including ignoring her better judgement — guys DM'ing her about wanting to do "weird stuff to [her] feet" (really) and catcalling her in a bar brought everything to a boiling point, and she eventually bowed out of the whole rebrand thing. "If being an Insta Thot is what we need to do in order to make money, I'm not down for that," she eventually admitted to her sister, after some major soul-searching. "I just want to work hard and run track, that's it."

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Of course, Nomie and Ana were also divided on the subject. While Ana accused her friends of "selling smut" by posting what's clearly a "thirst trap picture," Ana quickly interjected: "It's not smut, grandma, it's sexy. Sky and Jazz are taking control over their own image and making it work for them. I think it's empowering."

As for the guys? Doug, of course, was furious and wanted girlfriend Jazz to "take this trash down," later telling her he "didn't sign up for dudes looking at my girl this way." He used the same argument when Vivek pointed out that "Kanye would never tell Kim to delete her nudes" and "Offset would never have told Cardi B to cover up the side boob." Jazz also called out the double standard of him "liking thirsty booty pics" of random girls daily, though he remained unmoved.

Similarly, Zoey faced the moral dilemma of watching her "professional reputation crumble in real time" since she was the one who begrudgingly styled the twins as they wished, despite her better judgement. "The internet is forever, and I just wish I could take my name off of this mess," she said. Luca was the one who chimed in as the voice of reason, telling her she should never put her name on something she isn't feeling.

Her solution: A solo photo shoot of Jazz (who was tired of trying to defend her choices about her body to other people), in which the track star wore a sparkly nude illusion bodysuit (a la Britney Spears in her "Toxic" video) while breaking through a finish line tape emblazoned with all the misogynistic comments the twins' first post received. (Everyone — minus Doug — applauded the photo, of course, including Sky, who used a #ThatsMySister hashtag in the comments.)

The diversity of opinions in this case is telling — women, and especially women of color, can have complicated relationships with their bodies and their sexuality. Embracing one's sexuality is a personal decision and everyone has to come to their own conclusion. Monetizing sex appeal doesn't make you anti-feminist — and neither does deciding to cover up.

Freeform/Ron Tom

As Zoey so artfully summed up: "If there's one thing that social media has made obvious, it's that sex still sells. And since everyone's a brand, finding your version of sexy is more important than ever. And when you find it, your new image might be a hit or it might hit a nerve. But, in the end, what it has to be most of all is true to you. And it has to be something you stand behind and believe in."

Well said, as always, Zoey.