Tuesday, March 25, 2008

SJP is "Unsexiest" Woman

"Am I really the unsexiest woman in the world?"

That's the rhetorical question actress Sarah Jessica Parker posed to Grazia (which actually bills itself as Britain's "first glossy magazine"). She was responding to the title of "Unsexiest Woman Alive" bestowed upon her by a poll of the readers of another magazine, Maxim.

In questioning their choice, Ms. Parker fails to notice that she's acquiescing to the notion that there really is an unsexiest woman in the world. But she deserves credit for bravely admitting that it caused her significant pain, enhanced, in turn, by her husband's anger.

"Do I fit some ideals and standards of some men writing in a men's magazine?" she asked. "Maybe not." (Plaudits also for taking the trouble to Q & A herself, thus lightening the interviewer's work load.)

Again, Ms. Parker is on the right track, but only halfway there. She herself illustrated the point in the 1991 film LA Story. Playing SanDeE*, a dizzy, flirtatious young woman, she beguiles the middle-aged Steve Martin. (And, in the process, makes it impossible for girls to ever unselfconsciously twirl again.)

By parodying it in its most juvenile and blatant form to a T, Ms. Parker draped herself with the mantle of sexiness and the rest was history. It's indicative of her intelligence that her career was built on irony.

Maxim's readers likely weren't singling her out for a lack of sexiness, which no red-blooded man can dispute at this point. Arguably, it's her long face to which they object.

In fact, Ms. Parker is the latest in a long line of formidable women stretching from Cleopatra to Bette Davis to Madonna. Though lacking the symmetry of a classic beauty, they bent men -- and the world -- to their whims, whether by disposition, determination, or talent.

The case can be made that Maxim's readers object to having a sex symbol chosen for them on the basis of her success in a "women's" TV series. Also, there's no disputing that La Parker is ubiquitous -- besides TV, from billboards to magazine ads to commercials -- not to mention, much the richer for it.

But, as is too often the case with a poll, it reveals more about the voters than the subject. First, Maxim readers seem oblivious to the extent to which their tastes in women have been shaped by today's surgically enhanced models and actresses. Talk about an image being forced down their throats.

Second, conferring a title as vicious as unsexiest woman alive on anyone reflects a poverty of spirit that, in itself, cancels out a Maxim reader's qualifications to choose the winner of any poll.

Except for maybe which male mixed-martial-art star they'd most like to be in the ring with alone and naked.

So, the questions for female bloggers out there:
1) If you were SJP, how would react being awarded as "Unsexiest" woman?
2) What is more important, consider as "sexy" or "smart"?
3) Or, would you love to have it both? Sexy and smart.

9 comments:

Sandy C. said...

I think it would sting me a bit. It's never a nice feeling to be called names. Or labeled as something bad.

I'd choose smart. If I were really smart, I'd find a clever way to appear sexy ;) But both would be nice!

Finally Woken said...

Are you kidding me? If I were SJP, I'd know that I am sexy! All fashion critiques and high profile designers love me. I can do no wrong, I can wear a towel and everyone will say it's a trend!

On second thought what we - women - see, sometimes are different from men. When I say SJP is sexy, I've got several male friends who couldn't understand why - I suspect because she's lack of curves and breasts. But the same guys also say Jennifer Aniston is sexy, which I think not (sweet yes, sexy, absolutely not).

Oh on the later question, I'd rather known being smart and sexy. In that particular order!

GoingLikeSixty.com said...

Hi, here via blog365:
IMHO, she just should have made a snarky joke and let it go... eg:"unlike the editors at Maxim, at least I get laid regularly."

Therry said...

I enjoy reading this post, Ecky, since SJP is one of my favourite actresses, and I watch SATC religiously that I know most of the dialogues off by heart!

But what I enjoy the most is the fact that even a successful person like her could be subjected to discrimination. Stating that someone sexy or not sexy based on their long faces is just not a relevant excuse, because the perception of sexiness is different for everyone.

Angelina Jolie, with her T&A factor , is sexy. Agyness Deyn, with her short cropped-hair and boyish looks, is also sexy. Susan Sarandon, a senior actress with gorgeous red hair, is also sexy (my boyfriend loves her!). All of them have different qualities but are special women nevertheless, so why singling SJP out? Is it because she was in SATC and dubbing her 'unsexiest' is the only way to balance that?

If I were SJP I wouldn't worry too much - if we worry about what other people think or say about us, we can never live peacefully. People will always badmouth us no matter how good or bad we are. Perhaps it's just as worse that the 'award' was publicised in a magazine read by millions of people.

As I said before, the perception of sexy is different for everyone. Some men like big boobs. Some men pay more attention to women with curvy derriere. But that's the physical stuff, right? because sex is often what your imagination allows you to think.

Now, being smart is more important because as you get older, your boobs sag, your skin wrinkles and your hair turns white, you start losing your teeth (I should stop now)... but your intelligence stays with you forever.

Would I like to be both sexy and smart? My boyfriend thinks so. I think so too. And as far as I'm concerned, mine and his opinions are the only ones that matter. But mostly mine! :D

mrsmogul said...

Well it would hurt because you know our ego and all. But it's just a magazine and she's in a hit show so why should she be that upset?

Elyani said...

Well, as long as she is the sexiest woman in his husband's eyes, does it matter what anyone else think? Why didn't they mention Amy Winehouse when this Maxim poll was taken?

ichi said...

I think for celebrities, this unsexiness thingy could really sting them easily. Probably because there is an unwritten physical standard in defining sexy??

As for me... I'd prefer being smart than sexy. Smart is sexy, anyway.

parvita said...

I mean, it's Maxim. Why sweat on it. I like SJP. I think she is not sexy but I admire that whatever she wears just looks good. She looks good on anything. I have never seen her look bad.

Smart or sexy? I don't really care really. What matters is, I'm comfortable with myself. Others, it's their problem, not mine.

Anonymous said...

First of all, in regards to the disclaimer about your English- your English is lovely.

In regards to the SJP issue (just because I just saw the movie!)...
1) I'm not going to say it wouldn't hurt my feelings to be labeled "unsexiest". But I wouldn't put quite as much weight into it. It's a magazine with poor writing, lacking style and taste, with absolutely no compelling content. Had she turned the page and read some of the other bland, frat-boyish articles, maybe she would have breathed a sigh of relief in realization that the opinions of the people to whom the magazine appeals shouldn't matter to her anyway.
2) For me, it's more important to be considered smart. I have been considered both, and people who thought I was smart have invariably treated me better than people who thought I was sexy.
3) I'd like to think I do... :)