Curves, Hardbodies, Burt, and Ashton

Brian Cherry at Right Network posted an article that uses a discussion of the delightfully convex Christina Hendricks as a springboard into a consideration of the media’s disdain for curvy women and exaltation of women who can be charitably described as athletic, but might more accurately be represented by Spider Robinson’s description of “women who look like 14-year-old boys with plums in their shirt pockets.”

As i was reading Cherry’s piece, I was reminded of something I read a few years ago by sex columnist Dan Savage. Through the miracle of Google, I found this:

That our culture is now thoroughly dominated by gay men is not some paranoid Christian conservative’s fantasy [...] but a fact of life. Queer Eye for the Straight Guy confirmed something everyone already knows: Outside of rap and hiphop culture, stylish gay men–not all gay men, mind you, just the stylish ones–are the only tastemakers. And gay men weren’t content to just setting tastes in jackets and hair products and cowhide accent chairs. Hardly. We were, however subtly, setting sexual tastes as well. Out went the virile man (So long, Burt Reynolds!) and in came the vulnerable boy (Hello, Ashton Kutcher!).

Likewise, one could argue, the “fertility goddess” look might not hold much appeal for a culture whose tastes are shaped by folks whose preferred sexual activity is incapable of producing offspring. (Mind you, I remain in the “Do what you want as long as you aren’t doing it in the streets and scaring the horses” camp.)

For a counterpoint, I’ll again turn to a Spider Robinson character, who suggests that the hardbodied look should be taken as a warning — that it belongs to someone whose aesthetic is based on the denial of pleasures (in this instance, food), and that this self-denial may extend to, um, other areas.

Once more, I suspect moderation is an ideal, but I don’t much care for a popular culture that sees the curves of a Christina Hendricks or a Sherilyn Fenn as anything but stunning. Honestly, in my experience, the sexiest women I’ve seen (in a variety of sizes) have a quality I’ve described as “wearing their bodies in comfort.” So perhaps the secret might be to escape the culture’s efforts to stigmatize people in whatever way, be it too curvy, too thin, too exotic, or too anything else? Nah, that’s just foolishness, that is.

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About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
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4 Responses to Curves, Hardbodies, Burt, and Ashton

  1. That any kind of fashion trend can achieve mobility at all, betrays a weakness. In an intellectually strong society thoughts & ideas shouldn’t become fashionable or unfashionable — in such a society, every individual would know what he knows what he knows. Well, the same is doubly true for aesthetic pleasure as far as body styles. People with sexually strong identities wouldn’t telegraph these fashion shifts; the strength & stasis of their primal wiring would countermand the changes dictated by fashion whim.

    In other words, a real man wouldn’t find Calista Flockhart’s body appealing — unless he happened to be a real man who always found it that way, in which case I would expect him to have always disagreed with me about Raquel Welch’s physique.

    By the way, Burt Reynolds? Any woman who found that to be the ideal, I wouldn’t expect to be able to hold a conversation with me, nor I with her.

    I think we’re dealing with a generation that figures out where its sexual ideals are, based on what they’re instructed to think in glossy magazines. I’m afraid this is something that is possible today that was not possible before. We’re not just becoming skinny and emo and goth and gay; we’re becoming weak.

  2. Mike says:

    Wow. Sherilyn Fenn

    Such a beauty to be the MOST spectacular female cast member of Twin Peaks. Twin Peaks was a bevy of beauties.

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