November 21, 2008

Two standards of “sexy”

Posted in beauty culture, Celebritocracy, double standards, gender, hot lists, objectification, representation, sexual politics, sexy at 9:10 pm by LB

From the world of “top lists”:

via Yahoo!’s OMG! department, that gives me pop culture news when I’m trying to access my e-mail via the Yahoo! homepage that I’d really rather not know about, comes 2 male “hot lists” that I find rather interesting.  First, People magazine name Hugh Jackman the sexiest man alive.  Nothing new here: People’s “sexiest man” regularly is permitted to be and look much older than “sexiest women” are (the last 3 were Damon @ 37, Clooney @ 45, and McConaughey @ 36; Maxim’s ’08 “Hot 100” #1 is 30, and the last 3 were 21, 31, and 30).  

No, what I found interesting was the accompanying pictorial on the sexiest fathers in Hollywood.  

  1. The photos used were shots of the fathers in action, playing with their kids.  So lovely and sweet, but not quite the MILF-esque treatment given to editorials about “sexy moms.”  Sidenote: I do think that “sexy parent” editorials are horrible:  I’d rather read about good parents period, sexy or not.  To me, that makes as much logical sense as having a pictorial about the best brunette parents–hair color has about as much to do with being a parent as being sexy does.  But if they’re going to have the them at all, they should focus both kinds of editorials on their parenting creds (since all it takes is a personal trainer, a stylist, and a decent photographer to be sexy in Hollywood).  But even still, if they’re going to take the MILF angle (ugh, I shudder each time I even type that), can we at least evaluate the dads and the moms in the same sexified manner?  FILFs, anyone?  
  2. It seems that what counts as being a sexy mother is having the expendable time, money, and energy to put the work into getting your body back to a pre-pregnancy state, tasks that become so much easier with hired help–nannies, personal trainers, stylists, makeup artists, post-pregnancy photo shoots with favorable lighting, etc.  But what counts for being a sexy dad is in spending time with your kids, which I suppose is either an expected given for mothers or is irrelevant to their sexiness.  Hmmm…women judged on how they look, men judged on what they do…where have I heard that before??

 So the second thing I saw was again from OMG! breaking news about the 25 Hottest Hunks in Hollywood.  Again, we see the age discrepancy here, with is nothing new to celebrity men’s and women’s hot and sexy status.  Looking at the photos, I just want to know: why do they have so much clothes on?  How can we call them “hot” when men’s clothing gives us little indication of what’s underneath?  There seems to not be enough information to evaluate these men by…. yes, I’m joking but also not.  I’d say, if we saw a Hot list of women with so much clothing on, I think there’d be rioting in the streets.



  1. onely said,

    You are absolutely right that men are allowed to be sexy with clothes on, but women have to have theirs off in order to achieve equivalent sexiness. This is often excused by the old adage (er, not like Beowulf old, but you get my drift) “oh, men are biologically programmed to be visual creatures” and therefore need to see that nakedness in women, whereas women are attracted more to the aura and personality of a person. Whatever. I think that’s just an excuse. –CC

    • lindabeth said,

      Yeah, “the women aren’t visual” has been debunked through studies, but was just stupid to begin with. It’s like saying someone doesn’t like chicken when all they’ve been permitted to eat is Chicken McNuggets (ie poor quality) and have been told that eating meat is bad (ie “good girls don’t”). Non-sexist sexual representation and representation that equally focuses on men has been few and far between; it’s getting better, and the more women have access to quality visual stimulation, the more they want it.

      And we can’t forget erotica, which may be literary but is equally visual (it’s not the words women get off on…) and offers sexually stimulating images often without the problematic, male-centered objectification in mainstream visuality.

      No women not visual? Yeah, I call bullshit.

      And saying that men are naturally wired that way erases the masculinity of the men that find pornography a total turn-off.

  2. zooeyibz said,

    a LOT of gray hair in the 25 hottest hunks…

  3. […] is, however, no solution to demand that the same shit be inflicted on men, in the name of […]

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