Saturday, June 18, 2011

Why Fame Makes Women More Desirable

Why Fame Makes Women More Desirable

  • What You Need To Know
  • The women on our Top 99 list are objectively beautiful, but there is more to their attractiveness.
  • The actresses on the list allow men to indulge in broad sexual archetyping.
  • A woman's fame can act as a stand-in for men's ambitions of status.
"Surely part of the reason famous women are so attractive is that they’re desired by so many other men."
Now that you’ve studied and scrutinized every entry on our 2011 list of the Top 99 Women, we’d like to take a moment to consider what it is about these women that drives us so crazy. Sure, there’s the obvious answer: Famous women are hot. In fact, one might argue that their hotness is precisely the reason they’re famous. Being attractive seems like a prerequisite for a woman to break into the music, movie or modeling industries.
Here, however, we’d like to advance a contrarian argument. We submit that celebrities aren’t famous because they’re hot; rather, they’re hot because they’re famous. Preposterous? Maybe. But we’re not so sure. Let’s examine why fame makes women more desirable.

Beauty Or Rarity?

Of course the women on our Top 99 list are beautiful. You’d give your right eye for a night with Christina Hendricks or Natalie Portman. But isn’t their beauty magnified by how unattainable they are?

Think about that unrequited love you suffered through in college. Remember the pain and heartache you endured when you couldn’t have the object of your desire? Doesn’t it stand to reason that our desire for beautiful celebrities is partly due to the fact that we know we’ll never have them?


Consider too that men are also motivated by competition. It’s in our genes. Competition is what drives us as a species. We want what other men have, and we want what others tell us we can’t have -- yet another reason fame makes women more desirable.

Surely part of the reason famous women are so attractive is that they’re desired by so many other men. We want Sofia Vergarabecause everyone else wants her too.


Actresses and models are also expert chameleons. That’s their job. They wouldn’t be where they are if they weren’t able to be variously sultry, shy, aggressive, innocent, quirky, and adorable. Is this another reason fame makes women more desirable?

Men do like variety; that’s why fidelity can sometimes be so challenging. We like the idea of swapping the pixie for the bombshell, trading in the vamp for the girl next door. Well, an actress can be all of those things at once. Someone like Mila Kunis is simultaneously the bitchy-but-hot girl from That 70’s Show and the sultry ballerina from Black Swan. In other words, we’re turned on by the prospect of variety, and women who work in the performing arts are necessarily variable. Part of what we love about famous women, then, is that they simultaneously represent so many of our fantasies.

What else about fame makes women so attractive?

The women you actually encounter during the course of a day are too three-dimensional and too complicated to be reduced to an archetype."

Sexual Archetypes

And while we’re on the subject, let’s ponder fantasies for a second. The fact is, most male sexual fantasies are pretty traditional. The vast majority of us respond to a very limited number of sexual archetypes: the good girl, the bad girl, the older woman, and so on. When it comes to desire, we’re not actually that creative. Advertisers, writers, producers, and other creative professionals know this about men, and they exploit it. 

Celebrity women are presented to us in a way that will tap into these deep-seated sexual fantasies. Katy Perry, for instance, comes packaged as the classic beach bunny. Britney Spears first grabbed our attention as a naughty schoolgirl. Christina Hendricks entered the popular consciousness as a sexy secretary. Part of what makes these women so desirable, then, is not just that they’re physically attractive, but that the roles they play and the costumes they put on are designed specifically to channel those sexual archetypes. 

Famous women can do this in a way that regular women can’t. The women you actually encounter during the course of a day are too three-dimensional and too complicated to be reduced to an archetype. That makes it harder for us to assimilate them into our conventional fantasy scripts.

We Desire Fame Ourselves

Of course, another reason famous women are so desirable is that fame itself is attractive. Men fantasize about status and prestige all the time. We want to be respected, liked and admired. Is it possible that a famous woman is merely a physical embodiment (albeit a very sexy physical embodiment) of the status and prestige we strive for or fantasize about in our everyday lives? Maybe these women are somehow stand-ins for the status we desire. Maybe it's fame, not Adriana Lima, that we secretly lust after. 

Deeper Than Beauty

We recognize that every woman on our list is objectively very beautiful. So the fact that we’re attracted to them isn’t a mystery. All we’re suggesting is that our desires might be more complex than they initially seem. Maybe it’s not just the physical form of these women that draws our attention -- maybe it’s something they represent.

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