Where are the nerdy female sex symbols? If you’re watching the 21st-century version of Cosmos on TV, you’ve noticed astrophysicist and Hayden Planetarium director Neil deGrasse Tyson at his communicative best, bringing the wonder of science to the rest of us. The popularity of the series has landed him a slew of attention – much of it in the form of crush comments on Twitter. Being a nerdy sex symbol is amusing for the married father of two, and it’s nice to see intellect and interest trump abs of steel in the public discussion of “what’s hot”. But Where are the average looking women promoted to public sex symbols? Autumn at The Beheld (and her commenters) posit several possible reasons – among them that women in the public eye have more tools to take them from average-looking to pretty (and some, like Greta van Susteren, agree to undergo surgical procedures to make them more telegenic.) The Beheld, parts One and Two.
There is a female computer programmer who’s a sex symbol – she’s also a model for Victoria’s Secret. Lyndsey Scott points out that the female-in-tech connotation brings its own stereotypes: “I’m fine with being called a geek or a nerd if that means I’m smart … but there’s an assumption about who you are as a person if you like technology. Perhaps if there wasn’t, we’d get more women interested.” Still, she’s not going to endorse modelling as a career, since “You basically have to be a genetic freak in order to do it and most people aren’t.” Huffington Post.
Now that we’re aware of the amount of Photoshop in our media, the trend towards breaking it down is basically its own genre of advertising campaign. Where it works: Dermablend, the full-coverage cosmetic concealer, has a series of ads where the models remove their makeup to reveal who they are underneath. Some are heart-touching stories of living with skin conditions such as vitiligo or severe acne, and then there’s this, which if you haven’t seen it, is pure visual fun:
Los Angeles may have their match for New York’s Naked Cowboy: Amani Terrell was sick and tired of people assuming that she, as a large woman living in Starlet Central, suffered from self-esteem problems and wished she was skinny. So she has taken to strutting down Hollywood Boulevard in a bikini, sharing her message of self acceptance and loving the body you’re in. You can follow her on Twitter at @FATINLOSANGELES. MyFoxLA.
Won’t someone think of the poor men who are forced to gaze at average-looking women? The Onion reports on the psychological damage done by Dove, H&M, and other campaigns using non-traditional models. The Onion.
Most beauty tutorials are done by twenty year olds. Which makes them a lot of fun to watch, except that breaking down a makeup look for a face with perfectly young skin texture and firmness doesn’t really help women over fifty decipher how to translate for their own faces. This is especially true of the complex eyeshadow tutorials posted all over Pinterest. Olivia of Into the Palette did an excellent illustrated breakdown of the hows and whys of subtle, defined, full eyeshadow looks for the mature wise eyes. Into The Palette.
Cleopatra was a redhead. Carina of Beautiful in Theory dives into the sexual and economic politics of hair, starting with the Bible and leading all the way up to Natalie Portman and Anne Hathaway (who are still freakishly beautiful even with shaved heads.) But the best story is the 1860’s tale of the “fair-haired demon” – where the sweetest looks are used as a literary device to hide the most ruthless behavior. Beautiful in Theory.