The Unsexiest Woman Alive

sarah jessica parker

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’d kill to be as “unsexy” as Sarah Jessica Parker.

I’d say fuck Maxim and their “hottest” lists, but this is actually a pretty useful illustration of how women can’t win when it comes to beauty contests, and how male rankings are used to beat us over the head. SJP is a talented actress and a successful businesswoman. She is, by most standards, a beautiful woman — she’s even played one on TV. And still, a stupid ratings game in a magazine has caused her “significant pain.”

That isn’t a sign of personal weakness on her part; it’s a recognition that “ugly” is one of the worst slurs you can throw at a woman (and especially one whose career largely depends on her being perceived as attractive). Maxim’s Unsexiest award also serves as a way of keeping other women in line — if even someone as famous and lovely as Sarah Jessica Parker isn’t sexy enough (because of her long face? her age? her refusal to stay in the role of the vapid pretty girl? her business sense? her stable personal life?), where does that leave the “real” women who date Maxim’s target audience?

And what does it say to the men who read Maxim, who are supposed to be chuckling at the idea of a successful woman taken down a peg because she’s not hot enough?

Maybe I’m reading too much into a stupid Maxim article — after all, it’s not exactly a magazine known for its intellectual articles or its evolved readership. But it’s this shit that sends the constant message to women that you aren’t good enough, and that where men rate you on the sexy scale is of utmost importance — or that it should even matter at all.


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74 comments for “The Unsexiest Woman Alive

  1. Mnemosyne
    March 26, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    I’m reading a little something extra into the constant SJP-bashing:

    “Too Jewish.”

  2. Linnaeus
    March 26, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    While I will cop to having a subscription to Esquire, which for all its faults actually has intelligent content, I’ve never liked Details and its descendant publications: Maxim, FHM, Stuff, etc. They always struck me as targeted toward the kind of men I never liked anyway.

  3. March 26, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    I’m reading a little something extra into the constant SJP-bashing:

    “Too Jewish.”

    Oooh interesting. I didn’t catch onto that, but yes, now that you point it out…

  4. March 26, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    To provide a much needed eyewash after reading anything Maxim has to say about anything (and as a nostalgic bonus for us Gen-Xers), here’s SJP (and Jami Gertz.. holy shit!) on Square Pegs with a very special guest appearance by the boys from Devo, playing That’s Good. BTW, Square Pegs is out on DVD now, I think.

  5. Bitter Scribe
    March 26, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    I always thought SJP’s looks were a little overrated, but unsexiest woman alive? Man, that’s overkill. If a woman who looked like SJP went out with me in the real world, I’d be in hog heaven, and I daresay 99% of Maxim’s readers would too.

  6. Linnaeus
    March 26, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    Norbiz, I totally remember that episode. Thanks for the wayback.

  7. MC
    March 26, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    I’ve always thought she was positively adorable. And she has an awesome, toned body.

    Know what I love most? The fact that she’s never had a nose job. I love interesting noses.

  8. March 26, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    Bitter Scribe pretty much nails it. Speaking both as a former Maxim subscriber (when I was a child, I thought as a child . . . ) and someone who has never seen what the big deal is about Sarah Jessica Parker, I still think it’s safe to say that the vast majority of the frat boys currently chortling over the “unsexiest” article would leap at even the remotest chance to get with her. As a general rule, we’re not talking about a readership that has a lot of sexual prowess, nor one that has any business judging other peoples’ attractiveness.

    If it helps, though, The Phoenix did a list a couple years ago of the 100 unsexiest men in the world. Simply in the interest of fairness, Jill, if you’re going to defend SJP, then you need to show my boy Gilbert Gottfried some love.

  9. March 26, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    I’m reading a little something extra into the constant SJP-bashing:

    “Too Jewish.”

    That was my first thought, too.

  10. March 26, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    I didn’t read, and won’t be reading, Maxim’s assessment of SJP, but I think it’s particularly interesting that it’s come since her business success (outside of her awesome acting skills) has risen, and part of that business success is built on her line Bitten. She’s made public statements every chance she gets that she wants her line to be accessible to non-wealthy women and plus-size women, and that it is not geared just at privileged white women, all of which is in direct contradiction with a patriarchal capitalist construct of “fashion.”*

    She is successful outside of her portrayal of a traditionally femme sex object, and explicit about not wanting to use her beauty and obvious love of fashion to the detriment of other women, and then she stops being beautiful in the eyes of these (asshat) beholders.

    Funny, that.

    *As opposed to fashion as a functional, enjoyable form of art and self-expression, which is cool, and a philosophy she really does seem to espouse.

  11. tinfoil hattie
    March 26, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    I still think it’s safe to say that the vast majority of the frat boys currently chortling over the “unsexiest” article would leap at even the remotest chance to get with her. As a general rule, we’re not talking about a readership that has a lot of sexual prowess, nor one that has any business judging other peoples’ attractiveness.

    …and even on a feminist blog, you can’t help but frame your argument in terms of whether or not frat boys secretly find her fuckable enough. And the readership’s qualifications to “get with her”? Their sexual prowess.

    Sigh, sigh, sigh.

  12. March 26, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    Well, unless I miss my guess, Maxim was basing their list on sexual desirability (or alleged lack of same), and picking Sarah Jessica Parker was their way of saying “Ewww! Wouldn’t touch her with a twenty-foot pole!” — feeding into the fantasies of a bunch of insecure boys who want to compensate for their shortcomings (sexual, physical, and whatever else) by fancying themselves the high arbiters of who’s “fuckable” and who isn’t. But if that was unclear or phrased in an objectionable way, I apologize.

  13. rowmyboat
    March 26, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    That’s like when GQ compiled the list of worst places to find a woman that was both smart and attractive, and Smith College was on the list. Whatevs, it just makes it easier for us heterosexual women to identify the men we wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole.

  14. House of Mayhem
    March 26, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    **I love interesting noses.

    Jennifer Gray getting a nose job totally ruined her for me.

  15. Danielle
    March 26, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    Man, I can’t get over how beautiful her hair looks in that picture. I want that cut, now!

  16. March 26, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    If it helps, though, The Phoenix did a list a couple years ago of the 100 unsexiest men in the world.

    Which includes Brad Pitt??? Oh well, I suppose he’s about as unsexy as all the unsexy women men sneer at are unsexy.

    I love interesting noses.

    As a woman with an interesting nose, I’m glad some people do.

    and especially one whose career largely depends on her being perceived as attractive

    Yeah, given just how much attractiveness counts if you want to keep acting, and just how many messages women in general get that, even if we start out pretty, we’ll be considered ugly once we show the least sign of age, I can’t say I’d blame even the prettiest actress for being upset at being called ugly.

  17. Raging Red
    March 26, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    I don’t know, I think it’s kind of sad that SJP felt the need to even respond to something so stupid and juvenile. And also, she said that her husband was bothered by it too — because it reflected poorly on his judgment. WTF?

  18. March 26, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    no i don’t think you are reading too much into this…

    i think it more shows that some people (coughmencough) are just not capable of dealing w/ successful women.

  19. prairielily
    March 26, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    My feeling is that it’s subconscious anger. Don’t these women KNOW that they’re supposed to be catering to male fantasies all the time? How dare they not conform, and still make more money and have more success than the vast majority of Maxim readers will ever see?

    So they try to bring them down by calling them ugly, or stupid, or by calling them bitches, or whatever is the insult du jour. I think a lot of us have probably experienced this phenomenon in real life as well. I know I have, and I’m not even rich and successful, just really obviously bright. And I feel really vain saying that. I know that it’s completely true, but I still feel vain acknowledging it. I guess it’s an effective system, if it keeps women off-balance and unsure of their best talents and attributes.

    Damn you, patriarchy! *shakes fist*

  20. March 26, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    If it helps, though, The Phoenix did a list a couple years ago of the 100 unsexiest men in the world.

    They’re very different lists, though, and bad in very different ways.

    The Phoenix list was compiled by two straight guys, and aside from a few hilarious howlers (Brad Pitt?), basically broke down into a list of various tropes (fat, short, bald, old). Almost none of the people on the list had ever been marketed as “sexy.”

    The Sarah Jessica Parker inclusion on this list can’t be seen as anything but pure spite, coming from a magazine which helps perpetuate the idea that women should look quite a bit like Ms. Parker.

  21. preying mantis
    March 26, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    “And also, she said that her husband was bothered by it too — because it reflected poorly on his judgment. WTF?”

    Well, yeah. As a man, his sex partner is a walking, talking advertisement for how big his dick is. If he picked a wife deemed insufficiently hot by other dudes, it’s either because he wasn’t man enough to get a better model–clearly the inadmissible option–or because his dudely sensory apparatus is busted. Duh.

  22. puggins
    March 26, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    I’m reading a little something extra into the constant SJP-bashing:

    “Too Jewish.”

    Well, I’m positive that Maxim and the rest would have no problem stooping that low, but I really think it’s more a case of “uppity woman gets *****slapped.” Look at Kristin Davis- she played a converted Jew in the show and gets not one bit of nastiness visited on her.

    SJP’s character in the show is the only one that isn’t portrayed as being needy at the end. Samantha is reduced to a crying mess because she can’t help falling for that rich jackass. Charlotte falls so hard for her guy that she converts religions. Miranda gets pregnant and falls back in with the daddy. Okay, maybe you can argue that Miranda sorta-kinda didn’t look too needy (I think it’s a stretch, but whatever), but Charlotte and Samantha were both absolute car wrecks.

    Plus, add in all the one-sided accounts of the Parker-Cattrall feud where Parker is portrayed as a jealous control-freak who can’t stand her “much-sexier” co-worker/rival. Parker is definitely too big for her britches to these people.

    That said, some second-order prejudice could be at work here- just why is a large nose considered so unattractive?

  23. Ailurophile
    March 26, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    I have a feeling that most Maxim readers sit in their parents’ basements night after night, dateless except for Miss Rosie Palm.

    SJP, on the other hand, is a successful businessperson as well as talented actor, and is widely admired.

  24. March 26, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    “where does that leave the “real” women who date Maxim’s target audience? ”

    In one word, FUCKED!

    I always thought she had the most beautiful eyes.

  25. March 26, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    My guess is that they’re attempting to be “edgy” — SJP portrays sexually active, sexually confident, sexually alluring characters, but Maxim finds her repellent for some reason; they assert that she is the opposite of what she appears to be, and voila! Instant freshness and novelty! *rolls eyes* They mean, “SJP is not as sexy as she’s cracked up to be,” but they say, “OMG SHE’S DISGUSTING!” A typically juvenile response to something one believes is overhyped.

    As for why they find her unattractive … If the issue is SITC backlash, then why didn’t Maxim label Carrie Bradshaw the unsexiest television character on air? Why go to the actress, the real person (or at least the public persona that’s attached to the real person)? It’s clearly not based on her looks, since they’re pleasant enough, and since when do Maxim guys follow enough celeb news to know anything about her personality?

  26. mk
    March 26, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    I always find it fascinating that whenever there’s a post like this about a woman being accused of being ugly, half the comments boil down to “No way! I’d totally hit that!” (Or, from het women, “No way! She’s totally gorgeous! I wish I looked like her!”) Is this really our answer to women being constantly subjected to negative scrutiny of their bodies (scrutiny that’s often punishment for having access to power, or opinions, or any of the myriad things we’re not supposed to have)?

  27. March 26, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    Yes, absolutely: what Mnemosyne said. I grew up hearing that stuff; just as some black women are never “attractive” to racists, some Jewish women are never “attractive” to antisemites. Stunning or not.

    Speaking of which, this Maxim piece is reminiscent of nasty things past generations said about Lainie Kazan and Debra Winger. Kazan even posed for PLAYBOY in her youth, and it wasn’t good enough!

    And House of Mayhem, I totally agree about Jennifer Grey, who I had a big crush on ever since FERRIS BUELLER. I saw her on some TV show recently and barely recognized her. :(

  28. Jasmine
    March 26, 2008 at 6:08 pm

    It’s no secret that Maxim is obviously run and read by neanderthals of the worst kind. I hate that they and their readers think they have some kind of god given authority to determine who is hot and who is not. My guess is that most of the runners up in this god awful poll were also very successful, smart and driven women, qualities these douchebags obviously can’t stand

  29. Luna
    March 26, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    I don’t find her particularly attractive either, and my husband has grumbled for years that he cannot figure out why she gets roles where she’s supposed to be gorgeous. Maxim says she’s the unsexiest woman alive? Puhleeze. She’s TV ugly. She’s not ugly ugly (Thank you, Simpsons! There truly is a Simpsons quote for every situation)

    It’s just another example of Maxim and their ilk saying, “This woman doesn’t fit our view of perfection [for whatever reason], so therefore she’s shit. And by extension, so are you. So blow me so I can forget just how ugly you are”.

  30. Ailurophile
    March 26, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    My guess is that “Maxim’s target audience” is lucky to get a date at all. They may swagger and bluster and boast about how they don’t have to buy the cow because they can run barefoot through rivers of sweet cream, but beneath all the misogyny and ranking and BS is probably a bunch of young, insecure men who would be grateful as hell to get the time of day from someone like SJP.

  31. evil fizz
    March 26, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    Look at Kristin Davis- she played a converted Jew in the show and gets not one bit of nastiness visited on her.

    I’d just note that Kristin Davis takes a phenomenal amount of grief for being “fat”.

  32. Jasmine
    March 26, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    Another thing that bothered me that Britney Spears was somewhere on that list too. What hypocrites, as this probably wasn’t always the case when it comes to how “sexy” they view her. She had two kids practically one after the other and is going through some hard times. It just seems unbelievaby cruel to have her on this list It kind of reminds of a very recent south park episode where everyone was commenting on how she “chubbed up:”

  33. cy
    March 26, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    This is decidedly stupid. As absurd as it is to rank or have a poll of the most or least sexy women, it’s equally absurd to claim that someon as conventionally attractive as SJP is the unsexiest.

    That being said, I think it gives too much credit to Maxim readers to suggest that their opinion of SJP is based on anti-semitism or her non- “patriarchal capitalist construct of fashion.” I’d wager that a vast majority of Maxim readers have no clue either that SJP is Jewish or that she has a fashion business.

  34. james
    March 26, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    Come off it, Sarah Jessica Parker is probably the one actress whose career does not depend on men finding her attractive. I really doubt film executives are quaking in their boots in fear that the expected deluge of heterosexual men will not turn up to see the Sex and the City movie. And I don’t belive Maxim readers are scared of her because she’s a sucessful business women – do you think any of them are aware of that? I’ll take your word for it that she is, but I really doubt that the fact she’s big in whatever field she’s big in (jewelry?, makeup? clothes?, perfume?) is on most Maxim readers radar. Besides, most women at the top of a sexiest 100 poll have leveraged their fame to become successful businesswomen in the same way.

    No. I actually think the real reason for this is that SJP success is down to her persona making her an aspirational figure to a rather shallow, materialistic breed of 30-something women. I’m surprised no-one has mentioned this. This is a big cross-generational fuck you to those women.

  35. Nicholas
    March 26, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    People still subscribe to Maxim?

  36. March 26, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    “IRL Maxim’s audience would be lucky to get the time of day from a woman who looks like SJP”
    “No-way, she’s totally hot!” (aka “I’d like to look like that” or “I’d do her”)

    Such responses make my teeth hurt! The point is that Maxim is made up of assholes who use the magazine as a platform to perpetuate the fucked-up idea that women should be judged by whether or not men think they are sexy. It is irrelevant whether SJP is sexy or not.

    I do wonder who the other choices were in the poll. I’m guessing they all fit some version of mainstream “sexy”. (It’s pretty hard to be a celebrity or an actress if you don’t) But by picking on a “sexy” woman and singling her out as totally “unsexy” Maxim attempts to further narrow the standard of beauty to which we’re supposed to live up. Afterall, the narrower it gets, the harder it is to achieve, and the more crippled women who try will be.

  37. March 26, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    I think that the salient point here is that a magazine was cruel without particular purpose, other than for cruelty itself. Now I am a straight guy so won’t presume what (some, or other) straight women would think. But my hunch is that little says “I whine like a little baby in the sack” to straight women en masse than taking an unprovoked, nasty and purposeless shot at the successful and talented Ms. Parker, who played a fairly difficult role very well. Playing Carrie Bradshaw poorly would have been easy, probably the default for many actors. Had she portrayed Bradshaw as a cliche rather than as a person, the whole show would have tanked.

    I don’t find the materialism of Sex in the City particularly appealing but I also don’t find war appealing, yet admire George C Scott’s performance in Patton.

    What a lot of (childish, scandalously disappointing) men find difficult is the very idea of admiring a woman for her virtues. By “virtues” is meant not her compliance with theocratic rules about sex but rather her general positive qualities – intelligence, bravery, loyalty, judgment, diligence, commitment to justice, good humor, etc.

    Women often look up to men because sometimes men are worth looking up to for some positive qualities. Men rarely conceive of women this way, especially not explicitly. In the qualities most associated with leadership and power, men almost never admire women openly. The technical term for the exclusive or near-exclusive association of power and leadership with maleness is patriarchy. It should not be much of a surprise to note that Maxim is patriarchal in its smack at a woman of substance, of virtue, someone worthy of considerable note for her great talent, diligence and willingness to take business risks.

  38. Nathan
    March 26, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    I’m astonished people are reading so much into some idiotic list Maxim put out. I’d think their writers are more concerned with avoiding complex words than they are with SJP’s contributions to the fashion industry. And I’ll agree completely that, in principle, these lists are at best offensively juvenile.

    And pretty stupid, because who the hell is any of us to say someone “is” or “isn’t” sexy. I mean, this is really something that’s in the eye of the beholder. If you think SJP is sexy, then she’s sexy for you. If I don’t, then she’s not for me. Neither of us can be objectively said to be right. (Obviously some men don’t find women who are more successful than they are attractive, and that is pretty stupid, but I’d humbly suggest the average Maxim reader doesn’t know enough about SJP for this to matter much. )

    Having said all that, and please don’t kill me, I’ll admit I’ve got stoned as an undergrad and argued with my friends about which actors and actresses are the most attractive. First off, from my limited experience, most hetero men are worthless at judging how attractive another man is (that is, what we thought didn’t bear much relation to what straight women and gay men thought). Hetero womens’ opinions were usually much closer to hetero mens’. We’d almost always agree, or at most disagree a bit about how attractive someone was. Where we’d disagree it mostly wasn’t along gender lines. (E.g., mysteriously, some people thought Pamela Anderson was too, but men and women were evenly deluded about her.)

    But with a few people what men and women thought didn’t line up. This was uncommon enough that we were always puzzled about why. For example, about half the men (and I couldn’t tell you why) found Jennifer Garner unattractive, while all the women and the rest of the men thought she was hot.

    SJP was the person where our tastes divided the most. Women thought she was sexy, and men didn’t. I have no deep theory of why this is, although I guess it’s not terribly shocking that straight men and straight women tend to find different, albeit similar, things about women attractive.

    Sorry for making a long post saying SJP isn’t hawt. I realize on some (probably many) levels it’s a stupid endeavour. I hope I haven’t created the impression that I think sitting around ranking how attractive various women are is a worthwhile exercise for anyone other than bored and stoned undergrads. But I’m not at all surprised Maxim put her at the top of the list, and I’m also not surprised that the women posting here can’t see why.

  39. Rebecca
    March 26, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    I have only the vaguest notion of who this person is – and most of that comes from the comments right here! – but I always find sexy/beautiful/not lists rather lame. It’s like arguing that the Grand Canyon is more impressive than the Great Pyramids at Giza or that Niagara Falls is a better vacation spot than the Taj Mahal. Everyone has different tastes and ideals and even if they agree, for instance, on the relative sexiness of an actor or actress, it is often for very different reasons.

    Lists for sexy/handsome/unsexy/ugly are done only to be hurtful and to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Why give them any credence or respectability?

  40. March 26, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    I’ll admit I’ve got stoned as an undergrad and argued with my friends about which actors and actresses are the most attractive.

    Sure, everybody does that, including plenty of men’s and women’s magazines with their “Hot 100” and “sexiest bachelors” list and the like. The thing that makes this Maxim thing so weird and gratuitous is that they’re turning the concept around to lob unprovoked insults. I mean, it’s one thing to have your list of the hottest five or ten or however many, but to print what basically amounts to an Ugly List? That’s shallow and looks-ist without the benefit of even being remotely complimentary. A “Hot 100” list might just be a bunch of guys sitting around talking about who they think is sexy, but an “Unsexy Five” just comes off as out-of-left-field ax-grinding, and that lends itself to all sorts of ugly interpretations like the ones that have been mentioned above.

  41. sophonisba
    March 26, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    This was uncommon enough that we were always puzzled about why. For example, about half the men (and I couldn’t tell you why) found Jennifer Garner unattractive, while all the women and the rest of the men thought she was hot.

    That one’s easy. She’s not a great actress, but she has strong, interesting features that can be cute or beautiful or even ugly, but never just “pretty.” For SJP, the same thing only more so. For sexist guys, interesting=strong=masculine=ugly. QED.

    The other reason men love to say SJP is ugly is the same reason they used to say they wouldn’t fuck Kate Moss. Kate Moss and SJP look nothing alike, but they have one thing, and one thing only, in common: they sell to women. Many man cannot bear the thought that women decide who to admire, physically and otherwise, rather than having it dictated to them.

    I don’t even like SJP (I have no opinion on her looks) but this is glaringly obvious.

  42. Nathan
    March 26, 2008 at 10:32 pm

    The other reason men love to say SJP is ugly is the same reason they used to say they wouldn’t fuck Kate Moss. Kate Moss and SJP look nothing alike, but they have one thing, and one thing only, in common: they sell to women. Many man cannot bear the thought that women decide who to admire, physically and otherwise, rather than having it dictated to them. I don’t even like SJP (I have no opinion on her looks) but this is glaringly obvious.

    I guess I’m too young to remember people saying that about Kate Moss. She seems attractive by model standards, although she’s no exception to the general rule that “sexy” and “emaciated” are not synonyms.

    I suppose that might be why I don’t find SJP attractive, but trust me, if it is it’s buried very deeply in my, apparently rather circular, subconscious.

  43. March 26, 2008 at 11:13 pm

    Wow, I didn’t think of the “too Jewish” thing, but I totally buy it.

    I think it’s despicable that they produce the “hot lists” (with their one-dimensional view of hotness), but they defend it by the “appreciating female beauty” line.

    One has to wonder what is the point of putting out the “unsexiest” list (earlier in the year) and declaring one to be the unsexiest woman alive? It was rightly said in the posting-that’s the ultimate insult.

    I agree with the above person too that part is about “selling” to women…if SJP was “selling” to men she would have had some plastic surgery on her face. I think it was in Family Guy that Peter refers to SJP being successful in a “hot body ugly face” contest. so clearly, she ought to just “fix her face” right? But she didn’t and doesn’t, and she starred in a show that, in-depth critique aside, in many ways destablized assumptions about male-female hetero relationships. It actually hat the guts to say that women can and should demand from sexual relationships what has always been men’s privilege (and is often the approach to sex and relationships that mags like Maxim espouse). I think that’s threatening.

  44. March 26, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    Look at Kristin Davis- she played a converted Jew in the show and gets not one bit of nastiness visited on her.

    Converted Jew and actual Jewish woman are not the same thing. At all.

    I think that if you scratched the surface of these guys, “JAP” would come out of them pretty quickly. As with so many racist and xenophobic prejudices today, it’s still fine to apply them to women (“nappy headed hoes”).

  45. March 26, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    It kind of reminds of a very recent south park episode where everyone was commenting on how she “chubbed up:”

    To be fair to “South Park,” the whole point of that episode was that she’d blown 3/4ths of her head off with a shotgun but all the press could talk about was that she was fat and had a cameltoe. They completely, 100 percent ignored the fact that she had a bloody stump where her face used to be.

    When “South Park” feels sorry for you, you know the press has gone too far.

  46. waldo
    March 26, 2008 at 11:45 pm

    ‘Maybe I’m reading too much into a stupid Maxim article’ – errr….understatement?
    All women are attacked because a hack byline scribbler in a pussy mag doesn’t like her?
    SJP is sexy like a great white shark.

  47. Henry
    March 27, 2008 at 12:55 am

    I would agree that SJP isn’t a very attractive woman. Her facial features are rather severe. That said, the whole idea of an “unsexy” list is mean-spirited and low class. And it’s not like she asked for their approval anyway. Definitely a dick move.

  48. sophonisba
    March 27, 2008 at 12:56 am

    I guess I’m too young to remember people saying that about Kate Moss. She seems attractive by model standards, although she’s no exception to the general rule that “sexy” and “emaciated” are not synonyms.

    Congratulations, you have paraphrased what I just said. “Model standards” is another way of saying “attractive in the eyes of women, not men.” And men never tire of telling us that if we want to be fuckable, we should emulate Playboy bunnies, not vogue models or strong-featured actresses. The groundswell of anxiety and the screeching and the Kate/SJP-hate start when women hear that message, understand it and ignore it.

    Would you like to tell me more about how unsexy models are to you, though, or thumb through your thesaurus for some more insulting synonyms for skinny? That never gets old.

    I suppose that might be why I don’t find SJP attractive,

    And, not finding her attractive, which is an inarguable statement about your own private sexual preferences, do you feel compelled to wander around telling people she’s unsexy and horse-faced? If not, I fail to see why you’re saying this as if it somehow answers or addresses what I wrote. The question is not why men don’t want to fuck some women. The question is why not wanting to fuck them makes them fair game for insult, mockery, and often outright rage.

    I don’t find her attractive either, but then, I’m entirely aware that this is a statement about me, not about her. And I’m pretty sure I’m not her type either.

  49. Nathan
    March 27, 2008 at 4:34 am

    I wasn’t trying to defend Maxim publishing the list, and I definitely wasn’t calling anyone “horse-faced”. I obviously offended you, which was not my intention, so again I’m sorry. I don’t mean to troll, sorry for posting.

  50. Jasmine
    March 27, 2008 at 7:33 am

    To be fair to “South Park,” the whole point of that episode was that she’d blown 3/4ths of her head off with a shotgun but all the press could talk about was that she was fat and had a cameltoe. They completely, 100 percent ignored the fact that she had a bloody stump where her face used to be.

    When “South Park” feels sorry for you, you know the press has gone too far.

    Was I being unfair? I just meant that this kind of behavior speaks volumes of our priorities as a society and the episode accurately satirized it. After her performance at the MTV awards all people could talk about what that she was fat and was lip-synching. People can real be vultures sometimes. I wondered if she was experiencing post partum depression (her pregnancies were practically one after the other), but we shouldn’t bother ourselves with those silly questions, let’s just all gawk at her ass

  51. juju
    March 27, 2008 at 8:02 am

    I’d wager that a vast majority of Maxim readers have no clue either that SJP is Jewish or that she has a fashion business.

    It’s not really about the readership knowing that she is Jewish, but rather that she“looks” Jewish. The crime is in having “Jewish features”. In her case, SJP doesn’t look like she has gotten the ever popular obvious nosejob.

  52. March 27, 2008 at 10:50 am

    Was I being unfair? I just meant that this kind of behavior speaks volumes of our priorities as a society and the episode accurately satirized it.

    Sorry, it didn’t quite come across in your original comment that you thought “South Park” was satirizing her treatment by the press. Given how often they’re unfair to celebrities, I thought it was worth pointing out that they were actually sympathetic towards her in that episode.

  53. Jovan1984
    March 27, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    I totally hate Maxim magazine. First they slandered Sarah Parker, then they criticized the Black Crowes latest CD, Warpaint, without ever listening to it. And because of the Black Crowes incident, I urge everyone not to buy Maxim. I also strongly urge everyone to cancel their Maxim accounts if they have one.

  54. harlemjd
    March 27, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    Kristin Davis gets criticism for being FAT?!?!? Dear God, am I glad I don’t read celebrity news.

    And as for Carrie being the one non-needy character by the end, hardly. That was Samantha (got over the rich bastard, started dating the much younger hot actor who totally loved her, survived cancer, and was willing to break up with him when her hair fell out and her sex drive disappeared but he wanted to stay). Carrie moved to Paris for a guy who treated her like shit and only left him when Big showed up wanting to be with her. Since her character’s “independence” isn’t why she’s getting slammed, I’m going to agree that a lot of it has to do with her supposedly “looking Jewish.”

  55. March 27, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    Not seeing the whole “it’s because she looks Jewish” thing, as Maxim had Sarah Silverman on its cover a while back.

  56. bekabot
    March 27, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    IMO, this one explains itself. Sarah Jessica Parker is out of the Maxim league by a factor of several Astronomical Units at the very least. Such is plainly the case; it couldn’t possibly be more evident. Now since the Maxim league’s definition of “hotness” is all about “accessibility” and since SJP is not at all accessible in Maxim-league terms, it follows logically that naturally SJP would end up categorized, in terms of the lexicon used by theMaxim-league, as the very opposite of enticing; as, in fact, the Unsexiest Woman Alive. So far as they’re concerned, she’s too haute to be hot. QED.

  57. juju
    March 27, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    Not seeing the whole “it’s because she looks Jewish” thing, as Maxim had Sarah Silverman on its cover a while back.

    You very well may be right and it is not about her looking “too Jewish”, but one exception does not unmake a trend.

  58. Katarina
    March 28, 2008 at 6:40 am

    # Nathan says:
    March 26th, 2008 at 8:01 pm –
    I’m astonished people are reading so much into some idiotic list Maxim put out.

    Yes, I think we’re all being conned by clever PR into providing free content, as happens with every celebrity-centred comments page. We’re putting our time and energy into making Ms Parker more famous. Meanwhile she enhances the belief that men’s opinion of women’s looks is the most important thing in the world to women.

    Personally, I’m worked up enough to comment (twice!) because it drives me mad, this re-enactment of the Judgement of Paris that takes place in the minds of so many men whenever they’re in a room with women.
    When fat old men shout “hey sexy!” at young women, when acquaintances sit and rate — aloud — every woman who comes into the pub, when a boyfriend tells me I’m the best-looking girl in my class as if it’s a great compliment (what was he planning to do if he fancied someone else more?), they’re telling us over and over again that their libido is the most important thing in the world, at least to women.
    It’s ugly, this assumption that every woman — and everyone within earshot — needs to know how they rate her looks, no matter how old or ugly they are themselves. Lists such as the one in question enhance a jerk’s belief that everyone needs to know what turns him on. Ms Parker’s reaction will enhance it even more. So women will be subjected to ever more opinions of our looks from people whose opinions really shouldn’t matter to us. The worst of it is that we end up caring about those opinions.

  59. A.D.M
    March 28, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    Ooo! now that you mention the Jewish thing. Man, just for getting excited about that point, you should go b&tch clap yourself. Anyway, if you are dreaming to be as sexy as JSP, that says a lot about yourself actually! LOL

  60. Esme
    March 28, 2008 at 11:51 pm

    Boyfriend has lately been receiving copies of Maxim (he’s not sure why either. Same reason one of my female friends keeps getting copies of a pregnancy magazine I suppose), and I’m consistently appalled by the crap they put in there. In recent issues I’ve seen them call a girl a “geek goddess” because she liked Star Wars (Jaime King), devote all of 1/3 of a page to small blurb type questions, and then 5 pages of her in skimpy outfits that in no way reflect anything in the questions. She says she’s writing a comic book, and then not a damned thing about what it’s about, or where to look for it when it comes out, and what her inspiration is. Just the mostly naked photos. Another has a long piece about women and porn, and how you should never let your girlfriend see your porn relating to fetishes or porn with fat girls. Another is a column on how to tell if your girlfriend is cheating on you, right below an article telling you how to create a home made cellphone wiretap.

    In sum, the magazine is disgusting. But that doesn’t change the fact that it has high readership, that it’s high profile enough that we’re hearing about this and discussing it. And it’s one of many places that young men go to learn about how to be men, the way girls read Seventeen and Cosmo to learn how to be women, only to find glossy pages telling them how to be consumers. Women learn what they’re supposed to be from these magazines, in the images they are bombarded with. And the same way, men learn what they’re supposed to find attractive with the images they see everyday.

    I care about these things because I don’t have a choice. How people see my appearance affects my job prospects. How people judge my weight can too, as well as my health insurance, and how I’m treated by doctors. How many more studies do we have to show people, showing that those considered ugly are handicapped in our society before you understand that what people believe to be true holds genuine power in society. Tell me all you want that the men who say this stuff are losers, but that doesn’t change the fact that there’s a shit ton of losers out there who are deciding that I’m ugly, and that has power in our society.

  61. kathleen Johnson
    March 29, 2008 at 12:24 am

    It’s ugly, this assumption that every woman — and everyone within earshot — needs to know how they rate her looks, no matter how old or ugly they are themselves. Lists such as the one in question enhance a jerk’s belief that everyone needs to know what turns him on. Ms Parker’s reaction will enhance it even more. So women will be subjected to ever more opinions of our looks from people whose opinions really shouldn’t matter to us. The worst of it is that we end up caring about those opinions.

    I couldn’t agree more! “THE WORST THING” — (WE COULD CHOOSE TO DO) — “IS END UP CARING ABOUT THOSE OPINIONS”….

    Having said this, there are two things we can do as women: We can focus on the problem by adopting this superficial “f**kability quotient” as our own subconscious measuring stick. Or we can choose to let go of the notion of having to measure up in such a way.

    It’s a deceptively simple choice yet an important yet powerful one. It all comes down to something I’ve learned time and time again in life: I am ultimately the both the problem and the potential solution for all the issues I’ve struggled with in life. The problem in the end came down to faulty thinking. These erroneous beliefs (thoughts and feelings) about myself or my situation. The degree to which I refused to see beyond them is the degree to which they acted as self-fulfilling prophecies in my life…..The ultimate solution came to light only after I choose to look at things differently. From that point a solution falls into place and the rest works itself out….

    With that in mind, It’s important here to stop pointing the finger at the men who subscribe these magazines or society for creating this sort of thinking. As justifiable as the finger point maybe, it’s fruitless. Mind you I’m not defending anything, I’m just not sure it empowers us or helps us any grow above or beyond the issue..

    It focuses the solution away from what you can do to how they need to change. We can’t change Maxim magazine or all the men who subscribe it. (Has anyone out there tried to do this in a relationship ever??? How well did that work for you??)….

    Again, mind you as I say this, I’m defending nothing but trying to point the focus toward a solution. In the end all we can do is take the time to individually reflect upon our own views. Do we at some level buy into this crud in how we view and feel about ourselves???? Why is this???…

    As for me I have to say I’m guilty of this. Consequently, the degree to which I’m choosing to buy into such an assessment is exactly the degreee to which it becomes my self fulfilling prophecy… I alone created the problem by making the measuring stick my basis of assessment (if only subconsciously). Therefore I brought the problem into my life entirely as a result of choices made by me…

    …WHAT IT COMES DOWN TO IS THIS: The degree to which each individual women buys into such a measuring stick, is the degree to which it continues to have power over us. WE HOLD THE SOLUTION IN OUR HANDS BY (1) CHOOSING TO LET GO OF MEASURING UP IN ANY WAY, (2) REFUSING TO CATER TO THAT STANDARD, AND (3) DECIDING NOT TO EVALUATE OURSELVES OR OTHER WOMEN IN SUCH A WAY….

    JUST A THOUGH….

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  63. March 29, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    I dunno, I think you might be reading a little too much into this. I agree that “ranking” women is offensive.

    Nevertheless, as you noted, SJP (and everyone else in hollywood) makes a living by selling their attractiveness.

    In the immortal words of Peter Griffin, “Sarah Jessica Parker looks like a foot.” Yes, she’s ugly. Ugly as sin. Not just her physical attributes, but her mannerisms. She could look like anything and her jibbery jabbery mannerisms would raise my stress levels just by listening to her.

    SJP put herself out there to be ranked by choosing a profession that, well, thats what it is all about. If she were a doctor, waitress, lawyer, astronaut, carpenter, or lifeguard, it would be unfair… but she jumped into the ring, no complaining when she gets hit.

    And she does look like a foot.

  64. Leslie
    March 29, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    kathleen Johnson
    .As for me I have to say I’m guilty of this. Consequently, the degree to which I’m choosing to buy into such an assessment is exactly the degreee to which it becomes my self fulfilling prophecy… I alone created the problem by making the measuring stick my basis of assessment (if only subconsciously). Therefore I brought the problem into my life entirely as a result of choices made by me…

    …WHAT IT COMES DOWN TO IS THIS: The degree to which each individual women buys into such a measuring stick, is the degree to which it continues to have power over us. WE HOLD THE SOLUTION IN OUR HANDS BY (1) CHOOSING TO LET GO OF MEASURING UP IN ANY WAY, (2) REFUSING TO CATER TO THAT STANDARD, AND (3) DECIDING NOT TO EVALUATE OURSELVES OR OTHER WOMEN IN SUCH A WAY….

    JUST A THOUGH….

    Well said! As I am getting older and now have a daughter, I am choosing a better mindset. Men will be men. But women can have and should have a better view of themselves not to let guys interpret them. I think SJP should have ignored them, that would have lessened the storm. And this would have simmered down.

  65. syfr
    March 29, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    Yeah, but the doctor and the lawyer, the waitress and the lifeguard, the astronaut and carpenter still get judged on their physical appearance.

    There’s no escaping it.

  66. March 29, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    I disagree Sarah Jessica Parker is ugly on the inside and out. And no I don’t feel sorry for her. SJP is a celebrity in fact she hit the jackpot she got the lead role on Sex And The City a sex pot role even though she’s no Charlize Theron or Halle Berry. Sarah Jessica Parker’s character on Sex And The City was never believable the woman is ugly she’s not attractive. Also Maxim is a men’s magazine some feminists want it both ways. They bash the male gender but refuse to acknowledge their own push to fit the ideal of limited beauty standards.

    SJP is a hypocrite she actually “thinks” she’s attractive and she
    “aspires” to be pretty when in fact she’s ugly. The blog entry writer fails to acknowledge that SJP profited off of her looks making a cool $25 million dollars in endorsements. SJP also tries very hard to maintain the heterosexist standard of beauty she has fitness trainers, stylists, buys the most expensive clothes. She is anorexic has a gawky figure with thin waist, thin arms and legs. Is the blog entry writer trying to aspire to look like a walking stick like SJP? SJP is everything wrong with American beauty standards the woman is simply not attractive. And to top it off SJP is also a liar she has had plastic surgery.

  67. Ted
    March 30, 2008 at 5:55 am

    I certainly agree some women will read Maxim’s article on SJP and think that their looks are the best they have to offer. Though they make that choice on their own. A person has to believe in themselves and ignore the media. That’s simply a self-esteem issue and lack of good sense if you’re swayed by a magazine.

  68. March 30, 2008 at 6:06 am

    I actually can see the “too Jewish” thing. I remember reading somewhere (I don’t have the link anymore–I’m sorry) a thing about the women on Maxim’s unsexiest lists, and a lot of them were Jewish (heritage-wise).

  69. ron
    April 11, 2008 at 1:23 am

    you guys are way over-analyzing this. its got nothing to do with men being intimidated by a strong woman or anything like that. its simple, she’s famous b/c women find her attractive. men and women find different things to be attractive about ppl. a lot of women think johnny depp is gorgeous, i think he looks like a hobo..

  70. Kat B
    April 13, 2008 at 12:29 am

    Before maxim decrees uber sexy Sarah as the most unsexy, lets take a look at the photos they use. Yes most of the girls are attractive(and thats about it) but the photos themselves are horrid. As a photography student I would say I’m better qualified to shoot pictures for their mag. The always have the women in akward positions that don’t really do much to show us just how “sexy” they are. As far as setting an unrealisticly high standard for us real women, I can assure you that if you ever read the interview’s or glance at the quotes from these “sexy” women you wouldn’t have much to be jelous about.

  71. Kay
    April 26, 2008 at 6:07 am

    For me, it has nothing to do with “too succesful”, “too old”, or “too whatever”. All I can say is that I *personally* don’t find her attractive at all. Why, just because she’s famous and succesful, is it suddenly WRONG to find someone unattractive?! And btw, who cares what anybody thinks anyway? As long as YOU find her attractive, that’s all what matter, right?

  72. Indigo
    July 14, 2008 at 8:25 am

    SJP is gorgeous, a beautiful Jewish woman, talented, strong, creative, and sane. Anyone who says otherwise is blind.

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