Display. 1. To bare the arm, from the roundness of the shoulder to the boney wrist. 2. To display the femininity of slender (i.e., gracile) arms, or the masculinity of thicker (i.e., robust) arms a. for sexual appeal, and b. for competition (among males) in courtship.
Usage: Because they reflect differences between the female and male body (i.e., are sexually dimorphic), we show our arms as a form of sex appeal. Thicker, more muscular male arms may be displayed to challenge rival men.
Media. 1. In the 1930s, Jean Harlow wore an evening gown in Platinum Blonde, and Dorothy Lamour wore a sarong in The Jungle Princess, baring their thin arms and popularizing sleeveless apparel for women in the process. 2. In 1951, a shirtless Marlon Brando displayed his thicker arms in A Streetcar Named Desire, paving the way for masculine arm-shows of the post-WWII years. 3. In 1957, Marilyn Monroe's white-crepe, halter-neck dress, worn in The Seven Year Itch, launched the sleeveless halter top, a garment designed to reveal the feminine arm from its curvilinear deltoid muscle to its slim wrist. 4. Four-thousand years before Hollywood, arm-showing was already a popular fashion statement, as revealed by a sculpted model of a sleeveless bead-dress from ancient Egypt's Middle Kingdom, dated to 2000 B.C. (Barber 1994).