October 4, 2001
12:31 PM   Subscribe

Startlingly beautiful girl. What is her life like? Does she resent it? How uncomfortable must life be for this girl's boyfriend? Why do restaurants give her a 75% discount if she sits at a window table? Rhetorical questions all, but sometimes you gotta ask. Be sure to click the slideshow thingie. (NYtimes link)
posted by luser (103 comments total)

 
As an only-mildly-handsome actor (not stunning by any comparison), it really pisses me off that the entertainment industry is being based more and more on looks alone. Some of the most beautiful actors out there can't act worth a damn - they're just pretty. And the studios keep shoveling them on to us. It makes me want to give up on acting altogether sometimes.

rant over
posted by starvingartist at 12:44 PM on October 4, 2001


God, it's soooooo hard being beautiful. She doesn't get a discount on her rent for being so good looking? Life is so unfair! It sounds like the subject of this article has it really hard in life. I feel so bad for her. Poor girl. She's too pretty!

(end sarcasm)
posted by mathowie at 12:44 PM on October 4, 2001


What? You mean this doesn't happen to everyone...? ~Batting Eyelashes~
posted by Perigee at 12:48 PM on October 4, 2001


Maybe the reason she gets "tables in hot restaurants without a reservation" is because she looks like she could use a good meal. Or several.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:48 PM on October 4, 2001


Trust me, it's tough being her boyfriend. I should know. I am.
posted by msacheson at 12:49 PM on October 4, 2001


They say that 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder.'

I beheld her, and beautiful she is not. Striking? No. Pretty? I've seen prettier.

I think they could have picked a much better example of beauty off the street than this malnourished young woman.
posted by schlaager at 12:54 PM on October 4, 2001


How bad does it suck to be her boyfriend? From the slideshow:

At a nightclub, Sara gets in easily, but her boyfriend doesn't. She tries to lobby the bouncer on his behalf, but eventually goes back in, alone.

What a bitch. And I looked at the pictures of her. Spindly and malnutritioned are not so hot to me.
Give me a sister, can't resist her. Red beans and rice didn't miss her.
posted by ColdChef at 12:55 PM on October 4, 2001


Honestly though, I bet she'll come to wish she was a little less beautiful as life goes on. I'm sure friends, co-workers (if she's ever not in the modeling/acting business) and strangers have a hard time taking her mind/ideas/thoughts seriously, and that might be a shame.

My wife is a pretty and petite blonde, and she is a MCSE network engineer. She loves disproving people's pre-conceived notion of her as a dumb blonde, but it also frustrates her that many people will make that assumption without ever getting to know the truth.
posted by msacheson at 12:56 PM on October 4, 2001 [1 favorite]


Though I can't imagine kicking her out of bed for eating crackers, I find her far from startlingly beautiful.

Too skinny, too white, and too blond. Too bland.

But that's just me :)
posted by BoatMeme at 12:57 PM on October 4, 2001


I actually lived with a woman for about a year who looked pretty similar...guys would follow her around etc.

To be honest with you, I found out conventional beauty means just about zero. I also found out that being with her stressed me out. I wasn't mature or secure enough to handle the situation at the time.
posted by Kafkaesque at 12:57 PM on October 4, 2001


That's some aggression you people are working off on this chick just 'cos she's good looking (though I agree with schlaager that she's not sooo good looking).
posted by signal at 12:58 PM on October 4, 2001


As an editor, I don't quite understand the point of that article.

And as a self-appointed officer of the fashion police, I have to say those super-low pants aren't right for her.

She is a beautiful woman (one of many beautiful women), but I still don't understand the point of the article.
posted by arielmeadow at 1:01 PM on October 4, 2001


I passed her on the street the other day and she sure did turn my head. I looked to make sure that the breeze created by my walking by didn't snap her in half.
posted by gazingus at 1:05 PM on October 4, 2001


I don't think she's that pretty, but I assume the photos aren't doing her justice. However, I could also be jealous since I am her opposite - short, dark hair, voloptuous etc etc etc.

They could have at least chosen a girl who looked healthy.
posted by melissa at 1:10 PM on October 4, 2001


arielmeadow, i agree on the pants. looks like she's wearing droopy diapers. too bone skinny to fill them out. as for the article, i really don't think it was well written. i guess i just missed the point. ColdChef, great quote, by the way.
posted by mich9139 at 1:11 PM on October 4, 2001


Ummm, this article discusses nothing but the obvious, stuff that anyone already knows...

Except maybe that the NY Times wants to boos its ad-rates by foisting a thin premise as excuse for adding titz & ass into its content...

As lame as it is weak.
posted by BentPenguin at 1:20 PM on October 4, 2001


What I found most disturbing was that her boyfriend was wearing an Izod shirt. And he wonders why he can't get in the "hot clubs"...

That first picture is a little misleading. I mean, I'm a fairly attractive woman (but not a model by any stretch of the imagination) and I get guys looking at me in NYC. Most men in New York will look at the majority of women who walk down the street. It's just the way it is.

Silly article. Didn't break any new ground. And I love how she considers a Snickers commecial "acting work." I swear, the top 2 things models say in interviews:

1. It's really harder than it looks!
2. I'm just doing this as a springboard to my acting career! (which I probably find annoying because I'm an actor)
posted by witchstone at 1:21 PM on October 4, 2001


The point of this article is to drive you into a jealous frenzy because beautiful women enjoy fabulous advantages everywhere they go. The (beautiful) French actress Catherine Deneuve once said that if people knew how much society at every level and in every circumstance discriminated in favor of beautiful people, it would be a world-wide scandal. Kevin Costner says that being a celebrity, he knows what it is like to be a beautiful woman. That is to say, he knows what it is liked to be welcomed and fussed over wherever he goes. But I say, so what? Beautiful women of every degree are a blessing and the glory of the universe. They deserve every advantage and perk they get. They elate us, they delight us, they are, quite simply, the blessed scenery of life.
posted by Faze at 1:27 PM on October 4, 2001


You mean this isn't some kind of ironic art piece on the ridiculous cult of the beautiful, like that made-up "actress profile" thing Esquire did a few years back, where Kirsten Dunst posed as the nonexistent subject?

No? Sweet mother of God. Looks like the NYTimes is not only engaging in glorious nepotism, but also enacting the Onion's implicit advice.
posted by holgate at 1:28 PM on October 4, 2001



I think critiquing this particular girl is missing the point. Though I'm not sure if this article actually hits in on target either.

Beauty has it's advantages, but so does the ability to blend into a crowd.
posted by remlapm at 1:29 PM on October 4, 2001


The article is annoying and pointless and fawning, but it could have raised a deeper question (as msacheson suggested): what about attractive women who aren't comfortable with the societal privilege of beauty? I certainly feel uncomfortable with the way I look, not because I'm fugly, but because it's the opposite.

Her beauty—and yes, she's pretty, but not breathtakingly so—will change over time, leaving her to rely on wit and skills other than looking foyne. Hope she learns this early, instead of finding out the hard way...
posted by acornface at 1:29 PM on October 4, 2001


Did she actually say "unchartered territory"?
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 1:33 PM on October 4, 2001


What I found most disturbing was that her boyfriend was wearing an Izod shirt. And he wonders why he can't get in the "hot clubs"...

Hee hee hee. You crack me up. That's EXACTLY what I thought when I saw his picture. Ole. What a sad little man.
posted by ColdChef at 1:35 PM on October 4, 2001


Move over Calista Flockhart! There's a new sticklike adolescent boy-girl in town!

I wonder after grown men who think this sort of thing is attractive. I have a sneaking suspicion they end up subscribing to NAMBLA mailing lists and getting community service resulting from FBI internet stings.

Give me a set of curves any day. Women should look like WOMEN, not slack 12-year-old boys.
posted by UncleFes at 1:41 PM on October 4, 2001


faze, don't be ridiculous beautiful scenery of life my butt! my god, beautiful people don't make up the scenery, they may be a small part of it...but...listen...if you are thinnish, youngish, s'alright looking, and have a nice smile, boom, you get free things all the time...material advantages are good, but whatever really...

i personally think that what sucks is the large number of beautiful women on tv, movies, mags, etc, while the men are wearing izods...ugh....and a handful are handsome...why do you guys get to look at beautiful women all the time, while we women are stuck w/drew carey, dennis franz and other yucky men (no offense drew an dennis!)?
posted by m2bcubed at 1:51 PM on October 4, 2001


I *heart* izod shirts. In my kindergarten photo, I'm wearing a green one.
posted by corpse at 1:53 PM on October 4, 2001


kindergarten...;)...course then it would be retro...so maybe izods are cool...so maybe that guy w/the model is cool after all...nah...
posted by m2bcubed at 1:56 PM on October 4, 2001


this girl is pretty, but she's not more pretty than many, many women I see when I walk down any street. sometimes I've fantasized about becoming a photographer just to show the world how many really striking people there are out there.

I think an important point of the article is that in order for a woman to *really* turn heads, in other words, in order for her to be *really* beautiful, she has to be aware that she is.

growing up, I was always praised for being smart, so that's what I grew up believing was my storng point; if my parents had gone on and on about my looks, maybe I would feel that *that's* my strong point.
posted by rebeccablood at 1:59 PM on October 4, 2001


what about attractive women who aren't comfortable with the societal privilege of beauty?

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha (sorry.....)

Yes. Can you IMAGINE that! Attractive women who aren't comfortable with perks and privilege provided by beauty? If they aren't comfortable with that, DON'T take advantage of it. For example, if your boyfriend is denied entry into a nightclub, but you are, DON'T go in. DON'T ask for discount on stuff at stores. DON'T include a photo of yourself when applying to colleges. How hard is that?

But in the end I guess the old saying is true: Blondes DO have more fun.
posted by Rastafari at 1:59 PM on October 4, 2001


Here's a question . . . Does the seeming trend of men disliking the traditional "model" female type merely stem from the fact that this is a rather selective community of generally higher-than-average intelligences?

*ahem* Ok, so that was trying way too hard.

What I mean to say is, are there *really* all that many guys out for something other than blonde and anorexic, or is it just a phenomenon of geeks (no offense; i use the term lovingly)?
posted by po at 2:04 PM on October 4, 2001


I am a woman who looks like a woman (rubanesque) and if I want a discount on something even mildly negotiable, I can get one. What I'm saying here is it's not her beauty, it's her confidence. She and other beuatiful women get their little discounts everywhere because they project a 'tude. This (usually annoying) confidence comes from being told "You are soooo beautiful!" a million times a day from babyhood. Maybe if we quit telling these women how good they look they would not have such a difficult life full of massive discounts.

And I think she is wearing those godawful pants because she can't get them off. Notice how she changes her shirt but never the pants? Maybe she was sewn into them...
posted by raintea at 2:04 PM on October 4, 2001


those godawful pants

You think Chris Robinson knowns she's raiding his wardrobe?
posted by UncleFes at 2:09 PM on October 4, 2001


i have those godawful pants, and i have to hold on to them when i sit down :) or it gets a little embarassing...they are pretty comfortable though.
posted by m2bcubed at 2:09 PM on October 4, 2001


I'm with Rebecca. That girl's a dime-a-dozen here in New York City.

What I mean to say is, are there *really* all that many guys out for something other than blonde and anorexic, or is it just a phenomenon of geeks?

As a geek and a guy, girls who are blonde and anorexic are of no more particular interest than those who are brunette and curvy, or redheaded and athletic, or any combination thereof.
posted by Mo Nickels at 2:11 PM on October 4, 2001


Also, as a sidenote, if I showed that much skin on a regular basis, I might be called beautiful, too . . . Although I'll always be the first to admit that I'm *not.*
posted by po at 2:11 PM on October 4, 2001


Someone mentioned it to be unfair to critique the woman. Hey -- She went along with the article and the pictures, probably in the hope of some additional publicity for her career. If it results in her exposure as a near-anorexic, big-toothed, long-nosed, stringy hair, shallow club hopper, who doesn't know how to dress, so be it.

She probably thinks we're jealous anyhow.
posted by fpatrick at 2:13 PM on October 4, 2001


At least this girl isn't defending her right to be a fat, lazy American.

Holgate and Witchstone, btw, this article dates back to September 9, and ran in the Times' fall fashion issue along with a wide range of other commentary about perceptions of women in current society. It makes more sense, and carries more weight, in the greater context of the issue, which predates 9/11.
posted by werty at 2:15 PM on October 4, 2001


What a tough crowd to please... am I sensing some emotional anger steming from a fraught ridden adolescense?
posted by geoff. at 2:44 PM on October 4, 2001


That's some aggression you people are working off on this chick just 'cos she's good looking.

I agree. The mob mentality comes out again, attacking anything that threatens us. It's more interesting to look at these reactions, to see what they tell us about ourselves. Okay, there's an article written about a beautiful person, talking about the advantages that we all know about, if not partake in, on a daily basis. We also know about the disadvantages. We all have our own personal battles and victories with beauty and ugliness, know how it is sometimes convenient, sometimes a pain. Why then such bitterness? Why are we so quick to say "God, it's soooooo hard being beautiful." when it's implying the polar as well, "God, it's sooooooo hard being average looking." Why is our whining better than her whining. Why imply that she's anorexic or that she gets free food out of pity when that would actually be a very serious condition for someone to go through? Do we want her to be in pain? Why? Do you want her to "learn the hard way" about how life isn't all about having fun, being spoiled, getting your way, etc? Why? Because we had to? Because that's our daily god-forsaken existence?

Also, why do we still say that she's not pretty enough, that you've seen prettier, that there are more beautiful people everywhere? If we're telling the people who are already pretty by most standards that even they aren't pretty enough, that just reinforces the pressure to be beautiful. If you insult the beautiful people on the same measurement that they are already excelling in (Too skinny, too white, and too blond. Too bland.), it just moves the measurement further into the unattainable. What's the purpose of that? It makes us all uglier.

I enjoyed the article. I think the study of beauty in all of its manifestations: music, literature, fashion, nature, painting, culture, faces, bodies, math, religion, etc, is a great use of time, and has the answers to a lot of interesting questions, as long as we can avoid becoming bitter old ugly men and women before our time. And there's nothing uglier than people claiming to be smarter and of better taste than those they actually envy.
posted by mockerybird at 2:50 PM on October 4, 2001 [1 favorite]


Y'know, we women come in all shapes and sizes, and the dirty little secret that the men usually don't tell is-they enjoy the variety.....if a woman is well-groomed, knows what looks good on her body type and coloring, and feels confident in her own skin-why then dear heart, she is attractive.....the reason we women don't get it is we believe the bald-faced lies we see and hear in the media.....I am not going to tell you what I weigh or how old i am, but i will tell you I have been married over 18 years and my husband still has that twinkle in his eyes when he looks at ME.

And frankly that is the only "perk" this old gal cares about.
posted by bunnyfire at 2:51 PM on October 4, 2001


It was actually in an issue of the magazine devoted to photographs of women taken by women. I liked this: photos, article.
posted by davidfg at 2:59 PM on October 4, 2001


I find it amusing how all the fat/overweight people always bitch about how thin and sexy people must be sick/anorexic/starving.

They never assume that the girl actually gets off her ass and excercises/eats a balanced diet.
posted by Witold at 3:05 PM on October 4, 2001


Kind of like how all the thin/sexy people always assume fat people don't exercise/eat a balanced diet.
posted by daveleck at 3:13 PM on October 4, 2001


all the fat/overweight people always bitch about how thin and sexy people must be sick/anorexic/starving

Not me - I'm exactly average: 6', 175, totally buff :)
posted by UncleFes at 3:14 PM on October 4, 2001


Bunnyfire is right, and yes, po, men *do* like looks other than blonde and too-thin. I'd say the anti-runway model attitude being displayed in this thread is pretty representative of men's true feelings, if not the ones they express to the masses.

This chick is nothing special, and it seemed like she really doesn't have any advantage over us normal folk, other than getting into clubs that the un-beautiful don't. If the narrative is to be believed, she has the nerve to ask for things like discounts on belts, but her "beauty" doesn't get her any more discount than you or I would get.

The cult of the 12-year-old-boy figure is perpetuated by focus groups in which somebody is clearly not telling the truth. Speak up men! Let's get rid of these sticks!
posted by me3dia at 3:16 PM on October 4, 2001


Who's that girl?
posted by feelinglistless at 3:18 PM on October 4, 2001


This feature, on a girl who is beautiful and likes to have a good time (which are fine and unobjectionable things, if you ask me), is nicely set off by this other
piece in the same issue, profiling and photographing the new women lawyers at a prestigious New York law firm, one of whom is my sister.
posted by MattD at 3:20 PM on October 4, 2001


bunnyfire, you hit it right on the money. The NYT girl would turn my head. So would the semi-Rubenesque woman who plays Molly on "Ed." (Sorry, can't think of her name, and I have no time to find a link.) Above them both, there's my wife, who biologically at least is old enough to be the NYT girl's mother. She (my wife) has some curves, she takes good care of herself, and she dresses in such a way that she leaves plenty to the imagination (and as Han Solo once said, I can imagine an awful lot). Most of all, while everybody I know thinks she's a stunner, she has a look about her that says she knows she wouldn't have come as far as she has on beauty alone.
posted by diddlegnome at 3:22 PM on October 4, 2001


I'm curious about the motivation behind the article. The quotes and some of the commentary aren't especially flattering. "This topic sounds so big-headed to discuss. I don't want to come across as arrogant, but it is a reality of my life." "She complains that her bikini falls off when she jumps in the pool; no one seems to mind. "

It's destressing that another too-skinny woman is presented as the result of a search for "the city's pre-eminent head turner." Get her some cheeseburgers--stat! And am I the only person who thinks her face looks really different from picture to picture?

If my girlfriend and I went to a club and she got in and I didn't, and she went in anyway, she would become my ex-girlfriend pretty quickly. (Unless there was an understandable reason, like we'd had a fight. But the way it's presented in the story, she just left him outside.)
posted by kirkaracha at 3:24 PM on October 4, 2001


Pathetic article. Pathetic aesthetic (gee: I should trademark that) that renders subject model suitable for article. What bland beauty. Give me curves and breasts, please.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:33 PM on October 4, 2001


Or liberty.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:33 PM on October 4, 2001


Given it's the NYT i have to believe this is the covert start of another liberal crusade, i.e. on behalf of the "aesthetically challenged." By subtly inculcating the idea of beauty's advantage, the inevitable call for affirmative action for the ugly can ring out. Further, as hideousness crosses all racial boundaries, this may be the affirmative action that can gain majority support.
Yep, ugly rights are the civil rights battle of the 21st century. Good for me too, as I am charitably described as gargoyle-esque.
posted by quercus at 3:35 PM on October 4, 2001


If my girlfriend and I went to a club and she got in and I didn't, and she went in anyway, she would become my ex-girlfriend pretty quickly.

Call me old (38), but who goes to clubs once they ahave the girl?
posted by ParisParamus at 3:40 PM on October 4, 2001


ParisParamus, would it be fair to paraphrase your "gimme" comments as "Give me breasts or give me death"?

Call me old (38), but who goes to clubs once they ahave the girl?

Maybe you're not old, but she's half as old as you (19). I agree with you, and I'm "old," too (36), but it seems like going to the club is more important to her.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:44 PM on October 4, 2001


I'm a fairly attractive woman (but not a model by any stretch of the imagination) and I get guys looking at me in NYC. Most men in New York will look at the majority of women who walk down the street. It's just the way it is.

And that's what makes me so mad -- that it is an accepted part of life. All women get oggled and shouted at on the streets.

I think the point of the story is that we still expect women to be beautiful, attractive creatures, and when men encounter beautiful women, too often their knee-jerk response is to push them back into their medieval role. (Woman must be protected, taken care of, admired for beauty -- but not for their intellect or conversation.)
posted by jennak at 3:55 PM on October 4, 2001


Give me a set of curves any day. Women should look like WOMEN, not slack 12-year-old boys.

Hey maybe she could get some double d implants! Then she'd be a 'real' woman huh? (though she'd be bashed for other reasons then)

Too skinny, too white, and too blond. Too bland.

Too white? Is Iman 'too black'? Amazing statement.
(and I thought she wasn't blond enough)

I am a woman who looks like a woman (rubanesque)

Um, no. You're ONE TYPE of woman. Unless there's some prototype woman I'm not aware of.

I think an important point of the article is that in order for a woman to *really* turn heads, in other words, in order for her to be *really* beautiful, she has to be aware that she is.

That's what I took from the article also. There are obviously many, many beautiful people, just as beautiful as she is. But she knows how to use it because she has her entire life.

She probably thinks we're jealous anyhow.

She's not the only one.

Basically, I agree with everything that Mockerybird said.

Could anything be more predictable than the mob reaction of tearing this girl down. (not that beautiful, anorexic, not a real woman)

Jealousy is not pretty.
posted by justgary at 3:57 PM on October 4, 2001 [1 favorite]


. Does the seeming trend of men disliking the traditional "model" female

The 'model' female is so much a fashion industry creation than anything else. How many men were clamoring for a twiggy like woman in the 60's? How many men really care that much about trivial differences like a handful of lbs or certain height like the fashion industry is so hard up on?

The model and all the fashion industry's trappings are aimed at other women to appreciate (or feel negative about thus buying the product that will make them model-esque), its not aimed at all towards men.
posted by skallas at 4:12 PM on October 4, 2001


May I interpose a few thoughts on the "tyranny of body image" discourse going on here?

First, as to health, there is significant, if not perhaps not conclusive evidence, that there are substantial health benefits to having very low body fat, around about the level that the star of the NYTimes feature appears to have. There is tremendous evidence that body fat at average or above-average levels correlates to a wide variety of short-term and long-term ailments and morbidity. Low body fat maintained by a vigorous lifestyle (exercising, dancing, and other things mentioned that she does) and by moderate eating, is probably just about the healthiest imaginable lifestyle for a late teen / early 20 year old woman.

Second, as to beauty and the notion that the attractiveness of our star is a construct or a conspiracy -- wake up! A running theme of the article is how men of all sorts and all walks of life reacted to the star in a total sub-rational, almost instinctive manner. Blue collar guys and 60-something immigrants are not very much affected by the fashion industry or the diet industry, or any thing like that. What they like they like at a hindbrain level. Although this is not to say that her beauty type is the only beauty type -- there are obviously many -- hers is clearly one that is naturally, organically, and intrinsically powerfully attractive to a large percentage of men.

(caveat to the health observation: For a variety of reasons, she'd likely find her fertility slightly compromised by her late 20's or early 30's if she didn't gain 10 or 15 pounds, but that is probably because our genetic code simply has no evolutionary preparation for an otherwise healthy woman (of any body shape) not conceiving children by, at the latest, her early 20's, and undergoing the horomonally-triggered fluid and fat distributions that are associated with pregnancy and nursing.)

(caveat to the beauty observation: models and actresses have to shape their bodies with the "camera adds 10 pounds" phenomenon in mind. The journalistic photo angles and natural lighting of the feature had the effect of stripping back some of those 10 pounds ... which perhaps depict her as skinnier than what many men would find desirable, when her glossy / filmed-for-effect appearance is in fact, exactly what we like. The body modification of additional slenderness that she's undertaken for her career should be no more objectionable than the weight lifting that football players do for theres. [nb: many people suspect that the extra weight, even muscle weight, that football players carry for years can have a variety of serious health effects in the long-term, although it will be very hard ever to demonstrate connections due to the confounding prepronderance of use of steroids and growth hormones by heavily muscled professional athletes.]
posted by MattD at 4:17 PM on October 4, 2001


who are you to say some woman you never met before should "eat a cheeseburger" so she can fit YOUR idea of beauty? and who are you to say what a "real woman" should look like? all this stereotyping: women should be this way, women should be that way. in case you haven't noticed, women come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.

newsflash: there are plenty of women out there who are thin simply because that's the body type their genes gave them, not because they have an eating disorder.
posted by saralovering at 4:26 PM on October 4, 2001


I don't suppose this girl had an assignment in the WTC on 9.11, did she? One can always hope.

I don't know what's worse, her attitude or they way everone else bigotedly fawns over people like her. Maybe we should all just be blown up; I'm no longer sure we deserve to exist as a society.
posted by aaron at 4:31 PM on October 4, 2001



And that's what makes me so mad -- that it is an accepted part of life. All women get oggled and shouted at on the streets.

*falling on floor in fit of laughter* Yeah, women NEVER treat men based on looks, never ever ever. BWA-HA-HAAA!
posted by aaron at 4:33 PM on October 4, 2001



Beauty knows no pain/So whatcha cryin' about/Giiiirrl?
posted by black8 at 4:34 PM on October 4, 2001


She's pretty, but not stunningly so.....and her choice of wardrobe did nothing to enhance her looks. Yes, she was rail-thin, but those hiphuggers still looked geeky on her.

Imagine how many more heads she might've turned in a tailored Catherine Walker suit....
posted by Oriole Adams at 4:37 PM on October 4, 2001


The Beauty Myth.

interesting read so far, i recommend it, relevant to this discussion. I'm not opposed to pretty people, but my definition of beauty is so much deeper than physical appearance...so when i tell my fiance she is cute, or pretty or beautiful or striking [i like variety] SHE knows that i'm not only talking about looks.
[Witchstone...you look like a rock star.]

and cmon, aaron, when was the last time some strange man yelled some nice compliment like "nice titties bitch" and then followed you in his car?--That happened to my fiance on monday. Men don't get harassed for their looks. There is a difference.
posted by th3ph17 at 4:37 PM on October 4, 2001


Aaron, better not say that on Television. You are clearly justifying terrorist attacks because of the shallowness of our culture-- maybe you'd prefer to live in Afghanistan where you don't even know if women are fat or slim, pretty or not, unless you are married or related to them. Is that what you want? Damn liberals.

:)
posted by cell divide at 4:40 PM on October 4, 2001


I don't suppose this girl had an assignment in the WTC on 9.11, did she? One can always hope.

Probably not, which means she's still available to turn you down.

:)
posted by justgary at 4:47 PM on October 4, 2001


What they like they like at a hindbrain level. Although this is not to say that her beauty type is the only beauty type.

The men you mentioned are not immune from media, they have been influenced to find rail-thin women more attractive than other types because of the fashion industry's influence. The problem with the rail-thin girls is that its a very hard to achieve goal unless one is genetically inclined to be so. A rubenesque girl is more realistic and doesn't involve unhealthy diets. Something I noticed you left out.

Some of the most unhealthy people I've seen are rail-thin girls. Missed periods, digestive problems, and even malnutrition come into play when you regularly skip meals and eat lightly.
posted by skallas at 4:53 PM on October 4, 2001


nah, not that pretty.. mind you my cultural conditioning means I only go for brown brunnettes with nice bodies :)

I agree with th3ph17 - beauty is more than skin deep :) prettiness and beauty seem to come in an inverse proportion most of the time.. 'cept some nice pretty ppl..

I know some male models & good looking guyz who get chased by women/harassed. Mind you, in general a reasonably pretty women will get more trouble from sleazeball guys than a reasonably handsome guy from a mad girl.. Looks, eh? The shallow society in which we live - or is it just the speed of society at the mo means that first impressions have become even more vitally important than before? I reckon the latter.

Crap article btw, waste of registering..
posted by Mossy at 4:58 PM on October 4, 2001


Dear Lord. Isn't it just a deeply strange piece? The copy's near-pathological. This is the American Newspaper of Record, for fuck's sake, not Stalker Quarterly.
posted by holgate at 4:59 PM on October 4, 2001


justgary, Not to get defensive, but some of us didn't attack the woman: we attacked the article. Don't accuse me of jealousy. I just still don't understand how a NYTimes editor approved the piece.
posted by arielmeadow at 5:04 PM on October 4, 2001


arielmeadow~

I didn't mean everyone.

I have no problem with people not thinking she's pretty, or not liking how she's dressed, or not liking the article. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

However, I think those who tear her down with a vengence are quite transparent and have issues that deal more with themselves than the girl in the article.
posted by justgary at 5:17 PM on October 4, 2001


One thing that nobody has mentioned yet . . . as a man who has been intimate with both ultra thin and extremely curvy women, I've come to the conclusion that the only kind of men who can be attracted to that rail thin body type are men who base their "type" on external factors ("people will think that I'm hot shit if they see me with her!") . Only people who watch bad softcore and put on Kenny G to get in the mood could make love with the utter lack of enthusiasm that it would take to avoid discomfort from jutting bones, clothespin hips and zero cushioning. Welcome to biology, kids. Breasts, hips, and a healthy layer of body fat are found on the majority of women because, for most of recorded human history, these types of women had more success attracting mates and more success in raising healthy offspring. Could this woman have survived the Ice Age? Life as a peasant farmer in feudal europe? There is a reason that , in many tribal societies, the size of a man's wife was a symbol of status. It meant that the family was well fed, healthy, and fecund. And yes, certainly the realities of our world have changed, we have control of our environment, medical technology, more knowledge of the things that we put into our bodies, and most importantly a higher level of equality between the sexes, so these biological predispositions aren't a matter of necessity. But the two centuries that have passed since the dawn of the industrial revolution are miniscule in biological/evolutionary terms. The idealization of ultra-thinness is, I think, one more form of human self-flaggelation, raising something above ourselves simply because it is not like us, and therefore assuming that it is better than we are. Humanity has an identity crisis, and beauty worship is a subconscious form of self-hatred.
posted by hipstertrash at 5:28 PM on October 4, 2001


she seemed pretty. not beautiful, in my humble opinion (i really shouldn't talk.).. maybe it's because i've got someone monopolizing my mind, and i'm biased to think that anyone could be better.

What I found most disturbing was that her boyfriend was wearing an Izod shirt. And he wonders why he can't get in the "hot clubs"...

it's true! it's true! (said in the same tone Homer used when he praised Arsenio for his depiction of white people driving.)

Give me a set of curves any day. Women should look like WOMEN, not slack 12-year-old boys.

amen to that. anyone seen the top 10 on filepile? the 2 nudes are fairly voluptuous, and very attractive, once again in my humble opinion (whether those pictures were tasteful however, is another matter.). i was surprised to see them there, to say the least.
posted by lotsofno at 5:30 PM on October 4, 2001


All the article seems to be claiming is that an attractive appearance yields preferential treatment; it says as much in the caption for the last photograph. The author has used Ms. Ziff as a concrete example. Whether you find her attractive is not particularly relevant; clearly, her looks appeal to enough people that she gains some sort of advantage from it.

This idea is obviously controversial, and may be unpleasant, but it is nonetheless true. It's been demonstrated in scientific studies and isn't that hard to observe in person. If you don't like it, go argue with our ancient ancestors and convince them to evolve differently.

-Mars
posted by Mars Saxman at 5:50 PM on October 4, 2001


boatmeme: Too skinny, too white, and too blond. Too bland.

But that's just me :)

justgary: Too white? Is Iman 'too black'? Amazing statement.
(and I thought she wasn't blond enough)


justgary, poor choice of words on my part. Obviously you (and probably others) have taken "white" to mean caucasian.

My only commentary on this thread was to say as many others have: definition of beauty is a personal thang.

The women that I find myself immediately and physically attracted to have some meat on their bones and dark skin and hair. Their ethnicity matters not to me.

So the answer to your question in my context. Is Iman too black? To somebody, surely.

I have no interest in saying more. I'd do just as well to go write an angry athiest diatribe in another thread.
posted by BoatMeme at 5:54 PM on October 4, 2001


I only go for brown brunnettes with nice bodies

Great! Send me the blonds. Blonds rock, which is why peroxide sells so well.

I've come to the conclusion that the only kind of men who can be attracted to that rail thin body type are men who base their "type" on external factors

Strange how so many posters feel that if you like thin girls it's because of external forces.

I've been with both, and I prefer thin girls, Not because of any outside forces, but because it's what I like.

I'm sorry some people find that so amazing. But it's the truth.
posted by dantheman at 6:14 PM on October 4, 2001


What's another word for 'extremely curvy'?
posted by hellinskira at 6:23 PM on October 4, 2001


they have been influenced to find rail-thin women more attractive than other types

Actually, I have been influenced to find such women among the least attractive, since I know from experience they won't go out with me. I'm much more attracted to women I might actually have a chance with (however you'd like to interpret "chance"). For that matter, I've never understood guys drooling over actresses or models they've never met, probably never will meet, and who would turn them down in a second if a meeting did somehow transpire. Total unavailability is among the least attractive features I know of.
posted by kindall at 6:23 PM on October 4, 2001


HAW! HAW! What an anorexic unhealthy skeleton! IT IS LIKE LOOKING AT A STICK! I hope she doesn't snap! HAW! HAW!

Okay, I'm done now, but seriously guys...
posted by kevspace at 6:24 PM on October 4, 2001


what's with all the cynicism and mean spirited comments? It's getting to be like the survivorcam message boards around here except without the internet shorthand
posted by rabbit at 7:12 PM on October 4, 2001


I want to know what kind of a response she`d get if she we just as attractive but with darker skin or dark hair. I think a lot of what makes her "beautiful" or "model material" is that she`s blonde. Of course, she does come across as cute in one or two shots in the slide show. (Personal note: three years in Japan have given me a very strong preference for "cute")

Would taxi drivers have stopped for her if she had dark brown hair? Or if she were black? She conforms exactly to what we think/are told beauty should be, so she gets out-of-service taxis to stop for her. Because she`s thin and blond and showing a fair amount of skin. No matter what her face looks like, she`ll appeal to *somebody.*

Of course, there also have been studies done and books written that show better looking people get better service.

The point of this last for all of us is: No Izod, straighten your collar and wash your jeans.

Note that the spellcheck choked on "Izod" and suggested "Zoid"
posted by chiheisen at 7:25 PM on October 4, 2001


The article was designed to point out something that any New Yorker who is even remotely connected to the fashion, media or nightlife business knows: the simultaneous extraordinary privilege and extraordinary banality / shallowness of the aspiring model/actress.

They are everywhere, and they are a constant provocation the women who feel they must (unjustifiably) struggle for recognition and attention compared to them and struggle to meet the beauty standard they pose and impose upon the rest of the city. (There are plenty of NY boutiques that carry nothing above a size 6 -- is that true in your town?) They are also a constant provocation to men who see them either as a hurculean goal to achieve, or a standard that they can never meet with their own dating.

And, yet, all these men and woman simultaneous realize the ludicrousness of these girl's lives, just like our star. No insight, no education. She's constantly begging freebies. In order to save on dinner, she agrees to be a mannequin to attact sidewalk traffic. She ditches her boyfriend at a club and appears to make a point to spend as much time as possible with other young attractive men. Her big break in life would be a snickers commercial.

Lesson of the story: "she may be beautiful, but at least you've got substance!" And what NY Times reader doesn't like to hear that?
posted by MattD at 7:45 PM on October 4, 2001


She really wasn't that cute. There is no way I would ever call her beautiful, uh-uh. But she is VERY striking - she's tall, blonde, gangly, angular and trendy looking.

The article really didn't say much, everyone knows beautiful/striking looking women get lots of attention and special favours from people who want them in their company. Big deal.
posted by eclectic glamazon at 11:28 PM on October 4, 2001


Believe it or not, there's a pretty serious (no pun intended) downside to being "overly" attractive -- and I experienced it first-hand (no, I'm not the overly attractive one.)

I have (well, had -- I'll get to that in a minute) a friend who was your typical knockout blonde -- coulda-been-a-model face, awesome body, etc. To boot, she is even very intelligent, spiritual/religious, and genuinely kind, friendly, humble person (not that many people would ever know these things about her.)

But here's the problem -- and maybe it's just an extension of the When Harry Met Sally thing -- it's very hard, and in some cases impossible, for her to have friends.

Friends.

If you're an "average-looking" person, like most of us, you've probably got a circle of friends. Imagine if you didn't. Imagine if you *couldn't* have those friends.

This friend of mine has a very difficult time finding male friends because they are always, always interested in something more. Including me. But can you blame the male... for being human? For liking such an incredible package? Friendship "should" be enough, but sometimes it just isn't.

So this friend of mine inevitably finds herself having "the talk" with all of her male friends at some point in their relationship, because you practically can't "not" fall for her. And the sad part is, she's LOST a lot of friends who just couldn't handle the situation maturely -- including me.

Imagine if your friends abandoned you because of what you looked like.

It's equally difficult for her, but for different reasons, to find female companionship. Because unless the female is just-as or more pretty than her, there is this vicious (stereotypical?) competitive "thing" among women that make it hard for strong relationships to form -- deep friendships that are based on more than just going out to clubs and looking good together.

So it's an interesting perspective... she calls it "the curse." But I guess we all wish we were so "unlucky."
posted by robbie01 at 11:35 PM on October 4, 2001


What's another word for 'extremely curvy'?

In "Brave New World," Aldoux Huxley used "pneumatic." And I once heard the Oakland A's ballgirls described as "curvaceous." Neither of these words does a lot for me (pneumatic is OK), but there you go anyway.
posted by diddlegnome at 12:01 AM on October 5, 2001


This is the American Newspaper of Record, for fuck's sake.

Only because we treat it as such. I can't find the exact citation (I just tried), but at some point in the 1970s, some relatively new executive editor strolled into the morning editorial meeting, announced "As of today, The Times is no longer the US newspaper of record," and started redesigning the entire paper, both in terms of physical layout and political leanings. It's never been the same since.

and cmon, aaron, when was the last time some strange man yelled some nice compliment like "nice titties bitch" and then followed you in his car?--That happened to my fiance on monday. Men don't get harassed for their looks.

I'll admit that direct harassment by people you don't know is very rare for males. But overall mistreatment of men by women based on looks is just as universal as it is by men towards women.
posted by aaron at 12:22 AM on October 5, 2001



lotsofno, gotta go with you on the filepile top 10 pictures example- checked it out, and at the risk of linking "porn", this top 10 picture is a phenomenal female body. Curvy, soft, wonderfully rounded hips and bosom- and red hair! All the symmetry and proportions of female beauty without angles and hipbones jutting out. Yep- count me in the "the NYT skinny chick is kinda ugly" crowd... Even this one is a little plump, but not such that just about any guy wouldn't still find her stunning as she walked down the street...

As for the burdens of beauty, such as robbie01 described, I don't buy it. As a less-than-average attractiveness dude, it would be nice to have beauty on my side. To have so many options- imagine having to have a TALK with all my female friends to disillusion them of their crushes on me! Sweet- I could pick and choose the ones I liked as if I was in the fawkin' produce section of Safeway!! Imagine if the clumsy seduction of the object of one's desires was not the stumbling block in romance that the rest of us mortals must face, when everyone you desire comes to you! Sounds like a plus to me... The benefits VASTLY outweigh the downside, and besides, it's stunningly lame to whine about the burden of too many gifts. Many of us MeFites are smarter-than-average or possess unique talents, but it would sound stupid to whine about that, wouldn't it? "Oh you don't know how tough it is, getting great high-paying jobs simply because you're worlds smarter than other applicants, always advancing ahead of other people in merit-based positions even when sleepwalking through your job!" Yeah- that sounds pretty silly, too....
posted by hincandenza at 2:07 AM on October 5, 2001



There is another factor that I don't think has been mentioned and could possibly inject even more vitriol into the discussion: The fashion industry notion of beauty (which you are referring to when you talk about "stick-thin models") isn't based on sexual atractiveness at all. After all the people who decide what the look is are women and gay men.

An earlier, similar paradigm was the Stick Thin Ballet Dancer. I suspect that the version of a woman's body that is favoured in ballet comes from Diaghelev's ideal woman, who was Nijinski in a frock. To this day the versions of femininity that are identified as "glamorous" (that is to say are favoured by women/gay men in certain positions of responsibility in the media) are essentially those who can easily be impersonated by men. Tall, slim-hipped, small-breasted and thin.

This idealisation and iconification of this kind of woman has a number of knock-on effects. For women who are drawn into that particular power struggle (either voluntarily or against their will) it represents a way in which they can demonstrate Control over themselves (maintaining their own thinness) and over other women (by identifying their faults, their deviation from the ideal). For some straight men (those who are themselves caught up in an obsession with power) being identified with such a woman is another way of demonstrating their own superiority, and exists as an expression of narcissism rather than desire.

So the problem in the relationship of the Stick Thin Model and Desire is that the STM does not in herself embody desire, but rather acts as an iconic carrier of other notions (of power, of exclusivity, perhaps a kind of elevation above the Gross Body that the observer is forced to inhabit - becoming lsome kind of angelic avatar).

If you want to see the kinds of representations of the Female Form that men are attracted to, they are actually all around you, but possibly the most obvous place to look would be pornography, since that has an almost mechanical libidinous function.

(Back on shaky ground here, perhaps a more learned devotee of this particular art-form could critique my conclusions).

It seems to me that up until the end of the 70s, pornography represented all kinds of shapes and sizes of women (and men) alongside each other. As it became big business, there was more of a standardised "acceptable" form for the porn star of both genders, but especially women. However this was not the STM, but rather Valkyrieform - unnaturally large breasts, curved and blonde. Like the STM, however, the Porn Star body was designed to be supernatural and iconic, even down to a uniformity of genital form. One problem with this was that the women became interchangeable, surprisingly not a universal priapic aspiration. In reaction to this idealisation and anonymisation of the Porn Star came the growth of amateur porn. A return to the idea that what the discerning consumer wants is a diversity of forms and personalities, and actual personalities rather than impersonalised libido-receptacles.

(Incidentally, I have come to think that the 70s feminists completely misunderstood the functions of the Gaze as far as the consumption of porn is concerned, but that's another overlong essay.)

The phenomenon of the woman who turns heads on the street, mmy experience is that they really do exist in all shapes and sizes. I draw your attention to this story about Eve Arnold and Marilyn Monroe (who possibly flummoxes everything I just wrote all by herself):

Arnold says that one day she was walking down the street with Marilyn, completely anonymously, when Marilyn turned to her and said "Do you want me to be her?", at which she altered her posture, her walk and suddenly people began to stare at her and she attracted attention from all over. Monroe is unusual in that she had such control over "being her". Most women are not so lucky. My point is that "being her" is a question of personality rather than simply anatomical assembly, not that women somehow "attract" and have to take responsibility for unwanted attention.

I should shut up now, I'm in enough trouble.
posted by Grangousier at 2:52 AM on October 5, 2001 [1 favorite]


> Here's a question . . . Does the seeming trend of men
> disliking the traditional "model" female type merely stem
> from the fact that this is a rather selective community of
> generally higher-than-average intelligences?

Or because of the large number of gay men in the fashion / modelling industry, who prefer their women to look like young men and find curvier women more intimidating?
posted by kerplunk at 3:18 AM on October 5, 2001


Grangousier - You're on the right track in your assumptions about the porn industry. If you have not read it yet, I urge you to immediately consume this book.

actually, i urge anyone who has a strong interest in sex to read this book, as long as the inteest is both physical and iintellectual.
posted by hipstertrash at 4:01 AM on October 5, 2001


She's lovely. These are not fashion glossies - they are snapshots, and she still manages to look scrumptious. Leaf thru any issue of "People" next time you're trapped in someone's waiting room, and you'll see just how un-flattering snapshot photography can be. Goddesses become zaftig dowagers with alarming regularity.

Too thin? Nope. Lissome. Coltish. Delectable. In essence, there is only one opinion that matters in these situations - one's own. And my opinion, unclouded by PC agenda or an unseemly fascination with doughnuts, is that all of us males would plow our Wal-Mart carts directly into the ample posterior of the fat lady in front of us, as we carefully time our rubber-necked turn to wistfully ogle the pretty, pretty girl.

When everyone is engineered to spec, which will, IMO, happen sooner than later, and physical inequality exists only within tight tolerances, the pleasure of discovering and appreciating innate physical beauty will be an early and unfortunate casualty. Let's not suck the joy out of it too damn early.
posted by Opus Dark at 4:43 AM on October 5, 2001


And my opinion, unclouded by PC agenda or an unseemly fascination with doughnuts, is that all of us males would plow our Wal-Mart carts directly into the ample posterior of the fat lady in front of us, as we carefully time our rubber-necked turn to wistfully ogle the pretty, pretty girl.

Ha. Very well put. There are two concepts going on here. An imaginary one, where the mefi crowd is singing along in unison that this girl "isn't that cute", and reality, where no doubt this girl turns heads where ever she goes, unlike what anyone here has experienced.

It's not surprising however, as everyone knows how great looking the average internet user is. This board is surely full of guys who would turn this girl down flat.

Kind of like the fox and the grapes. Probably no guy here would have a chance with her, so we don't want her! We'd rather have this. Other than the fact donuts seem to be her best friend, we'd actually have a chance with her.

And since most women here couldn't look like our model if they tried, she's "not a real woman".

Laughable, and as someone else said, transparent as all hell.

The downside of being beautiful? Read the board, you're looking at it.
posted by dantheman at 5:37 AM on October 5, 2001


Well it has been amusing to watch this argument go full circle, from trashing the leggy blonde to trashing the trashers, to trashing the obese to trashing the rail thin, to the predictable reference to a Naomi Wolfe book (eeek!).

I am surprised this thread so quickly degenerated into picking apart the subject of the article, instead of the article itself.

And for the woman who has a problem with guys turning their heads, sorry. We are physically and genetically incapable of stopping. Seriosuly.
posted by glenwood at 7:16 AM on October 5, 2001


Seriously.
posted by glenwood at 7:16 AM on October 5, 2001


holgate, for the record, the 1996 Esquire mock piece on Hollywood's new "It Girl" did not feature pictures of Kirsten Dunst (who by that time had already starred in "Little Women," "Interview with a Vampire," and "Jumanji") but rather of Ali Larter (who has since gone on to star in "Varsity Blues," "Final Destination," "Legally Blonde," "Jay and Silent Bob...")
Some insiders say Ali is now gearing up to be an "It Girl" in her own right, and that Esquire may just have her on the cover again, but this time "for real!"

...

(Oh geez, what have I become? I think I need to move to a faraway island with a few classic books to read.)
posted by Fofer at 8:41 AM on October 5, 2001


Is it really true that men in NY look at women more than men in other cities? Also, do persons of the same gender treat beautiful people better or worse (heterosexual ones, that is).
posted by Charmian at 9:23 AM on October 5, 2001


Aaron said: I don't suppose this girl had an assignment in the WTC on 9.11, did she? One can always hope.

Good god, aaron. I always had a certain respect for your posts before, but wishing her dead? Boy, you've stepped over a line! *lol*
posted by wackybrit at 11:03 AM on October 5, 2001


Beautiful women of every degree are a blessing and the glory of the universe. They deserve every advantage and perk they get. They elate us, they delight us, they are, quite simply, the blessed scenery of life.

Long live the ornamental woman. <--sarcasm

What I mean to say is, are there *really* all that many guys out for something other than blonde and anorexic, or is it just a phenomenon of geeks?

I've heard it said that having sex with a supermodel is like having sex with a bicycle.
posted by zodiac at 12:43 PM on October 5, 2001


And for the woman who has a problem with guys turning their heads, sorry. We are physically and genetically incapable of stopping. Seriosuly.

anyone still reading this thread?
posted by jeb at 2:43 PM on October 5, 2001


I've heard it said that having sex with a supermodel is like having sex with a bicycle.

The key words here are "I've heard".
posted by dantheman at 3:04 PM on October 5, 2001


There was a special on NOVA a few months back about the science of beauty, what research has shown about what human beings considered to be beautiful and how that is affected by culture and the region of the world one lives in, the values of one's belief system, etc...Did anyone catch that? It was really interesting, a lot more interesting than this fluff piece.


Men don't get harassed for their looks

Yeah, they do. I harass men all the time, catcalls out the window and so forth. Not saying its alright to do it but hey, when I see a hottie, I see a hottie...
posted by CraftyHotMelt at 4:49 PM on October 5, 2001


This is kind of an interesting thread to me as a friend of mine fell in love with an imaginary woman not too long ago. I loaned Tom my Mac and copy of SuperGoo and he fiddled around with it and created a picture of a "girl". Okay, that's not too odd, but he then announced that he was in love with the girl and wanted to find her real-life counterpart.

To date, he has traveled a few thousand miles and spent something on the order of $5000 to find her.

The whole story is on my website at www.crankymediaguy.com. I think this story truly proves that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder".
posted by Cranky Media Guy at 5:02 PM on October 5, 2001


Here is the problem. She may not be the prettiest girl, but she is pretty.

Beauty, however, is more than mere looks, and comes from within. Even non-pretty women can be beautiful. Pretty without beauty gets reactions as above.
posted by dhartung at 4:04 PM on October 6, 2001


« Older Maps....  |  $320 Million... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments