21 October 2004

--- Sexiest Woman Alive

The November 2004 issue of Esquire magazine declares that Angelina Jolie is the sexiest woman alive today. I like Angelina Jolie. I think she has graced my desktop wallpaper for a couple of months (now it's Alicia Keys). I've also watched and liked her from the 1999 Girl, Interrupted, the Lara Croft series to the recent Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow where she played the role of Capt. Franky Cook.

Now, about the sexiest-woman-alive title bestowed on her.....

Many might agree with Esquire and still a good number might not. I first got hold of this news from Sassy's sideblogs, and she agreed with Esquire's judgment. I think Esquire gave the sexy title to Angelina after gathering the results of a survey among its readers several months back.

How can people --- males, in particular --- tell if this lady is sexy or beautiful?

Also, how are they or we able to reach a consensus on beauty and being sexy?

Surely, being able to arrive at a collective judgment presupposes the fact that we have similar assumptions on beauty. My question is how have we arrived at such assumptions? Who dictated them? How did we learn them? More importantly, why did we believe those assumptions?

These days, you see "pretty" and "sexy" men and women on billboards, magazines, TV shows, and movies. We are bombarded --- the cruel term is "dictated" --- about examples of how and what beauty is all about.

Most of those men and women on billboards are termed "commercial models." If they are "models," they must exemplify an ideal or virtue, right? In this case, it's beauty or being sexy. Most of us are converts and end up convinced on how to define beauty and sexiness based on these barrage of examples. It is on these definitions that we tend to base our collective and singular judgments when we are asked in real life who or what constitutes beauty and sexy.

In a special report last year from USA Weekend, I read the following:

So what makes a person attractive? Don't bother looking in the mirror; just get out a measuring tape. Widespread studies, such as those conducted by Randy Thornhill (University of New Mexico) and Karl Grammer (University of Vienna), confirm that beauty is simply balance: The more symmetrical a face, the more appealing it appears.

The concept applies to bodies, too. Physical symmetry is subconsciously perceived as a reflection of a person's youth, fertility, health and strength. And although bilateral (left-right) symmetry might not be a bona fide health certificate these days, it has been a marker of good health and genes throughout human evolution. [USA Weekend]

There we go.

Being beautiful and being sexy are nothing but a quest for an ideal symmetry of physical features. The article further elaborated:

"Our sensitivity to beauty is hard-wired --- that is, governed by circuits in the brain shaped by natural selection," says Nancy Etcoff, author of "Survival of the Prettiest: The Science of Beauty". "We love to look at smooth skin, shiny hair, curved waists and symmetrical bodies because, over the course of evolution, people who noticed these signals and desired their possessors had more reproductive success. We're their descendants."

Symmetry also is sexy. In a study by biology professor Thornhill and University of New Mexico psychology professor Steven Gangestad, hundreds of college-age women and men were measured (including their ears, feet, ankles, hands and elbows). Questionnaires revealed that men who were more symmetrical started having sex three to four years earlier and had more sex partners than their asymmetrical counterparts. [USA Weekend]

Our concept of beauty and sexiness had something to do with how we evolved. Since our ancestors verified by experience that the equation,


is correct and preserved the human race, we, now, as their descendants, are still judging beauty and sexiness using that standard.

In my opinion, however, better reproductive success might not be mankind's primary goal these days. In the Philippines, for example, overpopulation is a problem crippling our economy. If that be the case, maybe we should all begin revising our definitions of beauty and being sexy.

Who am I kidding?

Angelina Jolie looks great. Of all her physical features, I like her lips the most. It's seductively pouty, engaging, and yes..... sexy!

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