Sex and the Skinny

Monday October 03, 2005 @ 02:43 PM (UTC)

I think everyone who doesn’t live in a painstakingly created 24-hour reality channel has probably noticed that women in Hollywood are skinny. Sammichless Star Syndrome, I like to call it. Those who are stars get skinnier; those who are rising become skinny. I doubt I even need to name examples.

There are many, many explanations for this. Probably the best is simply that fashion designers prefer to design clothing for skinny, skinny bodies. The fabric drapes better, and the body is a better stage for the clothes to do their own thing upon. That affects both models (and therefore the standards of beauty) and Hollywood stars, since they want to wear haute couture on the red carpet. You can’t get most couture in sizes above a 6, according to at least one disgruntled Victoria’s Secret model.

This obsession with thinness, everyone knows, is bad. It’s not healthy for most bodies to be that skinny, the unrealistic ideal contributes to the rampant bad self-esteem suffered by American teenagers, and its attendant demons anorexia and bulemia. But what’s interesting is that the skinny ideal doesn’t seem to have affected men that much.

Sure, many guys think individual stars (such as Cameron Diaz) are hot, but psychological studies show again and again that as a group, men find a curvy figure more attractive than a very thin one. Given that the majority of women are heterosexual (or, an even bigger majority, hetero or bi), you’d think that the male response would have a bigger influence on standards of beauty than that. So here we have one of three things: the best counterevidence for the claim that women only care about their appearance to catch men; evidence that gay male fashion designers* are plotting the downfall of female sexiness**; or a mystery.

So I came up with another theory. America has a very strange attitude towards sex. We all know it. Any nudity is sexual; sexual content in movies is controlled more than gore; so forth and so on. High fashion, both for the red carpet and the screen, tends to be low-cut, tight-fitted; it exposes the body. It suddenly occurred to me the other day that perhaps skinniness is the celebrity ideal partially because a more buxom figure is more primally attractive. We clothe celebrities in skin-tight pleather, expose huge swaths of their flesh; maybe in our weird Puritan-subconscious way, we don’t want them to be viscerally sexually attractive. We want to be able to see them as idols without being embarrassed by the prurience of desire. We want them to have gorgeous faces and alien, otherworldly bodies. We want them to be cyphers for beauty rather than objects of lust.

Or I could be crazy. It’s been known to happen.

*Not all fashion designers are gay men. However, I have been known to read Vogue, and I have been shocked to discover that a LOT of them are.

**This is a joke.


Interesting. The bizarre, Puritanical attitude of American society toward sex merits infinite posts. Why were you shocked that so many designers were gay men, though?

Because it’s a stereotype, m’dear! One expects these things to be unfair and unfounded!

Cameron Diaz is hideous. She’s not just a stick, she’s an utterly shapeless stick with red blotchy bits on one end and a mouth that’s way too big and flaps around way too much. Ugh.

I chose an extreme case…but you do hear guys profess that the skinnies are hot.

Admittedly, far more say Monica Bellucci is.

I have heard many guys say that Angelina Jolie is hot. Hotter than Jennifer Aniston. I think Monica Bellucci is one of the most gorgeous actresses in the history of the silver screen!

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