This article explores the construction of hegemonic sexuality in daily practice. The first part recounts the story of two moments in Lima when attempts were made to forbid the miniskirt in the workplace. The second part explores female secretaries' experiences and perceptions of the miniskirt and the connected issues of their appearance and identity. The article argues that the miniskirt is imbued with sexual meanings that reflect the hegemonic construction of sexuality. Secretaries, however, reject these meanings and these acts of rejection are open to multiple interpretations. The analysis of the secretaries' rejection of the miniskirt focuses on issues of women's agency and ambivalence. The article concludes by suggesting that the theoretical notion of ambivalence can make sense only when practice is also conceptualized as unreflexive. This broadens our understanding as to why women uphold and accept the hegemonic discourse of sexuality that produces gender inequity and why the hegemonic discourse of sexuality appears to be so resilient to change. © 2008 The Author(s). Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.