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o-KIM-570

Apparently I am sexier than Jennifer Lawrence, Kim Kardashian, Lauren Conrad, and Scarlett Johansson

September 29, 2013
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Today Paleo for Women brings you the five most infuriating statements to come out of Hollywood females this week, ranked from the”oh, that’s unfortunate” fifth place of Scarlett Johansson to Lauren Conrad’s “ohmigod-that-crazy-said-whaaa?” gold medal.  They come from an article in the Huffington Post titled “8 Sexy Celebrities Who Don’t Feel Sexy.”

—–

The two runners up are Scarlett Johansson and Kim Kardashian.

Scarlett Johansson, first up, says “I don’t feel sexy, not right now.”  Ok. Maybe she feels sexier after she’s showered or gone to the gym. I’ll give Johansson the benefit of the doubt. She comes in fifth place.

Kim Kardashian, the other runner up, says “I don’t find myself as sexy as everyone thinks.”  Kardashian gets off the hook largely due to the ambiguity inherent to her statement. It remains plausible that she still thinks of herself as sexy.  Not “as sexy as everyone thinks.” Fair. She could still consider herself a sex bomb. She passes under the fiery-depths-of-hell threshold and does not, like the forthcoming women, make me want to light my hair on fire in protest.

The medalists do, however, send me reaching for the matchbook. They have no excuses.  Check it out. I might cry.

—–

o-NICOLE-570

Third place is a tie.  First up is Nicole Scherzinger. She says: “I don’t really see myself as sexy; I’m the biggest nerd I know.”   To which I can only say: “please close your mouth, Nicole Scherzinger.” She does a major disservice to herself first and foremost.  She speaks as though she cannot be sexy as herself. She cannot be sexy because of what she loves and enjoys, and she cannot be sexy because she doesn’t conform to some ridiculous standard of plastic, objectified womanhood. Please.

Maybe worse, though I am not positive, is that she speaks as though nerd and sex appeal are exclusive. To which I can only say “false!.” I myself am an excellent example of just how wrong she is. Her statement reveals that she thinks – or at least lets popular culture think she thinks, that being smart is a bad thing.  As though all smart women cannot be sexy. As though all women being themselves in their own skin and enjoying their own hobbies is antagonistic to sex appeal. As though liking Game of Thrones automatically disqualifies any woman from the sexy category. Boooo hiss. Please don’t make it any harder for the rest of us to live out our own empowered sex appeal. Don’t let culture make you think sexy is a thin woman in a red dress and heels. Sexy is just as easily – if not more so – a woman in sweats and a Gryffindor scarf.

 

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Tying Nicole for third place is Carrie Underwood, who says “I don’t consider myself sexy. I am kind of a nervous person in general.”   She gets the same critique, though with a bit less fire. I understand that she is nervous and self-conscious, and that is perfectly okay. Nonetheless – just because she is (and we are all) vulnerable to pressure to perform and to be confident and to obtain love, and because she feels uneasy – does not mean she cannot still love herself. Nerves are okay, if sad. Letting those nerves get in the way of your own empowerment, however — letting them prevent you from your self-loving goals – not okay. I hope all of us learn to embrace and to love ourselves and to live through our nervousness.

Jennifer Lawrence is the recipient of the silver ribbon — an infinitesimally close miss of taking home the gold.  She says first “I don’t think of myself as sexy.” Okay, fair. Lots of women don’t, and all of these celebrities are guilty of that. She goes on, however, to say: “And, obviously it’s not true.”

To which I can only say, “we are not in seventh grade anymore.”

 

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The reason this statement infuriates me with the fiery passion of a thousand suns is that Lawrence makes the categorical statement every single woman in the history of the world makes: “Obviously it isn’t true.”

No! Fuck you! How many times have you said this yourself? How many times have I? It took me years and years and years of effort to overcome this problem. It’s the world’s easiest cop-out and a frightfully obvious cry for someone, anyone, please, will you?, tell me I am wrong.

This is something I learned to do when I was in seventh grade.  Probably sooner.

We as woman are told time and time again that our sex appeal is out of our own hands. We need validation from the outside. We need men to tell us we are sexy. We need other women to bow to us in sexy deference.  And then – worst of all – is that it is never an internal feeling. It is only a descriptor other people can give to us.  We make statements like the one Lawrence did because we have sacrificed our confidence and our sex appeal for the sake of false humility and this horrible culture that beats into us from birth that we are small and should always think of ourselves as small.

True humility is honesty, not deprecation.  True humility is receptivity to correction, not rejection of inherent worth.

—–

Finally, I do not know who Lauren Conrad is, but apparent she is famous. She wins. conradIt’s not her fault. Same as the rest of these women. It’s not their fault. But her statement indicates something horribly insidious that lies at the heart of femininity in America today, and I’ll be damned if I don’t shout its rebuttal from my rooftop (or blog) every day for the rest of my life. She says: “I’m not a sexy person. I’m okay with it. I’ve never been the sexy girl.”

A) “I’m not a sexy person. I’m okay with it.” In this, Lauren commits the same sin as Lawrence. She goes even farther, in fact. “I’m okay with it.” Yeah, I get that. I’ve said it a thousand times myself. I even kinda like it. It’s acceptance. It’s having worth beyond sex appeal. But is it really? Is that really what she’s saying here, however? I’m not sure — I highly doubt it. Most women who say things like “I’m okay with not being sexy” are really saying “Please tell me I’m sexy. I’ve gotten really good at being self-deprecating, but that just gives all the more reason for you to tell me I am sexy.”

B) “I’ve never been the sexy girl.” This one takes the cake and is the one that has set my poor hair to frizzy ashes. The sexy girl. As if there can only be one. If that’s true, I’ll eat my own arm.

Conrad could not be more wrong about what it means to be sexy. Every woman (and man) is sexy. Every woman has sexiness inside of her, much as she and all these celebrities might deny it.

More importantly, however, is the fact that just because one person is sexy does not mean another person’s sex appeal is less. Sexiness is not relative. Sexiness is absolute. Sexiness is a fucking right, for god’s sake. Everyone’s got it if they will only see it.  We should be able, as women, to delight in each other’s beauty rather than fear or hate or estrange ourselves from it. God damn. I want every single one of you – every single woman in the PfW community and beyond – to be extraordinarily sexy. And to be extraordinarily beautiful.  It’s not going to make me afraid. It’s not going to make me jealous, or hate you, or resent you.

If you own your extraordinary beauty and hope that I do the same, then you will join me and every other woman in a community of mutual love and support. We will delight in each other’s womanhood. We will be strong, self-loving, and femininity-loving together. We will boost each other up rather than tear each other down. We will be a community of empowered, self-loving, self-determining woman, throwing off the heavy hand of American Sexism and doing things our own damn way. We are what we please, and it’s about damn time we stop pretending anyone else has any say over who we are or how we feel.

—–

There are a couple of brief notes I should make before moving on for the sake of fairness. First, I want to commend these women, and to obviously give them as much love and support as possible. I have been flippant about their statements, and have even called them “sins” – though obviously what I have shared about each of them is a quote out of context from a very real and very difficult life in the limelight.

Second, what these women might actually be after is a move away from defining themselves by sex appeal. “I’m not sexy and I’m okay with that” might be their way to empower women in terms of other qualities. It’s not important to be sexy, in all honesty. Much as I’ve been ranting about it – hell, I called sexiness a “right” – there are still about eight million things it is more important to be than sexy. “Nice” is one. “Smart,” another. Now – I consider both of those things qualities that enrich a woman’s sexiness, but I appreciate the sentiment and want us to love ourselves first and foremost for who we are, and only secondarily to give that the mantle of sex appeal.

My definition of sexy is extraordinarily inclusive. I consider sexy to be a feeling. I think sexy is “excitement to be in the skin you’re in.” I think of sexy as ownership of our own selves, and of recognition of inherent worthiness of sexuality.

For that reason, we are all worthy of sexuality. We are all beautiful, natural, imperfect, alive human beings. We are all worthy of love, worthy of being loved, and worthy of loving ourselves. We are worthy of confidence. We are worthy of comfort in our own skin. We are worthy of life and dancing and strutting on the way to work, and of wearing make up if we want to or not if we don’t. We are worthy of our wardrobes and of flattering clothing, and of looking in the mirror and saying either “hell yes” or “it’ll do.” We are worthy of having acne or being overweight and still being hot, of being in pain or sick and still being sexual; we are worthy of sexuality because we are women and we are ourselves and we are alive, god. damnit. 

——-

To that end, I would like to posit an alternative to the statements above, in the form of an assertion of my own sexuality. I invite the rest of you to do the same in the comments. This is a community of love and support, so please feel happily free and affirmed. You will be affirmed by me and this kickass community no matter what, this I promise you.

——-

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My name is Stefani Ruper. I am a super young almost-25-year-old. I am inexperienced in life, but I try very hard to be good. I try to be kind. I try to be smart. I try to live a life of integrity and awareness. For these reasons more than almost anything else, I think that I am sexy.

I have PCOS. I have a sex drive maybe 8 percent of the days I am alive. I have acne scars all over my chin. I have comedones on the side of my face. I have always hated my thighs, and I spent my entire adolescence wishing for a thigh gap. My breasts are small and boring and I have one nipple pierced, not like it matters, except that it means to me every lesson of love and life I learned while living on the tiny island nation of Taiwan. For these reasons I am sexy.

By some miracle of my upbringing and location, I was a girl of rabid curiosity and anti-authoritarianism, which means that it wasn’t long before I took a long, hard look at the sexism in our society and said “fuck that, I would like to feel differently than just plain bad all of the time.” For that reason, I am sexy.

I love frosted flakes.  One of my greatest feats is that I have watched all seven seasons of the West Wing in the span of four weeks.  I have read several million words of slash Harry Potter fanfiction over the course of my life.  I have a purple sex toy named Maurice.  I almost never do laundry and I wear the same socks several weeks in a row. I prefer to work than to spend time recreating.  Sometimes I spend all day in the library and don’t speak to another soul until 10pm.  Usually I like it this way.  I am anti-social on most days. On other days I am super social. When I day dream, it is always about dancing.  For these reasons, I am sexy.

I am also a natural woman. I do my best to be in harmony with my body. I feed my body what I think it needs. I eat every single time I am hungry. I lay on my roof like a lethargic, passed-out lizard every sunday afternoon, and there I delight in the simplicity of my existence and the sizzling warmth of the sun on my skin. I have learned through years of trials that American society put me at war with my body but the best place to be is on her side, in her skin, working with her to do what needs to get done. I accept my illnesses. I accept my limitations. I accept my psychological scars. I work hard to overcome them. I don’t give up. I don’t let rejection worm its way under my skin. I get hurt and I hurt myself most of all, and some times I have done it real bad, but I have never given up. For that reason, more than anything else, I am sexy.

My name is Stefani Ruper. I am not afraid of who I am. I am nothing more, and I am nothing less. I think I am sexy.  And  I think you are, too. Thank you for bringing so much beauty into my life, even if you have never known it or thought of it that way.

Thank you.

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Managing director of Paleo for Women and author of Sexy by Nature.

26 Comments

  1. Pingback: Apparently I am sexier than Jennifer Lawrence, Kim Kardashian, Lauren Conrad, and Scarlett Johansson | Paleo Digest

  2. Hi, My name is Amanda but I prefer Manda for about 101 reasons, but what is important is that I like being called Manda. I have had three last names and two of which have been in the last four years. I have gone by Manda Leisten (Maiden) Manda Hughes (Divorced) and now, and I feel finally, Manda Wermers the name I was meant to have. I am 26 years old, just barely, and have found my passion, my soul-mate (or one of), and generally know myself pretty well. As shown by the name changes above I have a weakness for love and that is a good thing. For all of these reasons I am sexy.

    I grew up as the fat kid, I have a food addiction like you’ve never seen and work every single day not to over eat and to maintain my sanity on this earth. I haven’t ever had a healthy relationship with food but I try daily and because of that I am sexy.

    I have an autoimmune disease known as Hidradenitis suppurativa really it just results in horrendously painful boils on my inner thighs and groin. I also was diagnosed with HSV2 when I was 22 years old because a partner lied to me and thought I would never be loved again, I was wrong. These things do not define me and knowing that makes me sexy.

    I am in love with all things Harry Potter, I believe the characters and actors are actually my friends and that is awesome. I believe in magic, but more than that I believe in love. I care about every person I meet, even if they just cut me off on the highway. I am very sensitive to people’s needs and responses to me and I DO take it personally when you defriend me on facebook because I notice and it hurts. But that sensitivity and my extremely large heart make me sexy.

    I have a sex drive that rivals most men, as a matter of fact I have yet to find one who can keep up but that’s ok. I am pansexual and proud. I am polyamerous because all this love can’t be contained… and I am married to someone who accepts all of those things and more. I live to love and love to live and because of that I think I am sexy.

    I am Manda Wermers. I am 26 years old (presently) and I am crazy sexy. Saying it doesn’t make me a bad person, it makes me a role model. I want you to feel sexy too, because I think you are. <3 I love you.

    • YES YES YES YES YES!

      • I am also pan sexual and polyamorous, for the record, and those things are damn sexy in my book.

        • Hooray for pan/bi/trysexuality! That makes me sexy, as does my witchcraft, as does my intelligence, as does my beautifully imperfect body. Hooray for us glorious women!

  3. It’s silly trying to dissect offhand comments for their alleged significance. And are they supposed to say “I’m the sexiest woman in the world and I know it”? That would certainly work. No backlash at all. LOL. Modesty never hurts, especially for celebrities. Because the alternative of being seen as vain is brutal.
    In sum, please don’t go into the pr field.

    • Hey Winston,

      My point is not that these women are at fault — I did my best to be explicit about that in some of the paragraphs above — but rather that the way they are speaking indicates larger problems that infect the whole of American womanhood and society.

      Or something. :)

  4. My name is Dorothy Ruper and I am the very happy mother of Stefani and I have learned much for my daughter in the last 25 years. I have learned that I am sexy too. I love to sew, I love to create, I love to sing, I love to work, I love to smile. I am 58 years old in my skin but I am much much younger in my heart and in my head and for this I am sexy. When I create through sewing I feel at one with myself and in my place and for this I am sexy. Singing brings me joy and I sing in the car and I sing in the shower and I sing in the kitchen and I sing at work and for this I am sexy. I smile and acknowledge almost everyone I encounter these days (while grocery shopping or taking out the garbage). It brings me warmth and makes me feel one with others and surprisingly or not most people want to reciprocate. I feel a connection with them when our eyes meet and our smiles communicate…from the lowly woman in the electric cart to the parents with their hands full of kids to the special needs people out on a expedition. I drive a school bus and sometimes notice people driving by looking at me and smiling and realize they are smiling back. For this I am sexy. I try to exercise to stay fit and strong but when it doesn’t happen that’s okay. My arms may not be as strong as I would like sometimes and my waistline not as trim but my smile with always be there. Stefani has taught me to appreciate living more simply. How many things do we really need to own? I am content with what I have and yearn only to be what I love to do. Sexy is natural. Sexy is being ourselves and loving ourselves. Sexy is accepting who and what is in our life at any given moment. Sexy is “kickass” … thank you Stefani for that.

    • MY MOM IS COOL AND SHE LOVES ME.

      SUPER COOL.

      Also, I wouldn’t know how to tie my shoes and walk out the door in the morning let alone do any of these things if she didn’t inspire me and teach me how to love every day.

  5. You are beautiful and brilliant and you will overcome anything. Great Piece. And all I expect from you and, wow, for you, no footnotes!

  6. The best things I ever did for my self confidence is going to Burning Man for the first time one month ago. It is the place where, for the first time in my life, I felt truly sexy. It was a great feeling and I’m hoping I can keep it up in the “default world” as we call it. For any women who want to learn about themselves, or men for that matter, I highly recommend it. It will change you forever and empower you to love and express your true self.

  7. What a way to start a Monday, this is the most awesome thing I’ve read in a long time. Stefani you are just fabulous. ‘Sexiness is a fucking right’ is going to be something I remember for a very long time!

    Here is something I wrote in what I called my ‘alternative healthy living manifesto’ a few weeks ago…

    My name is Laura, I’m 4 stone less than I was at my heaviest
    and 2 stone more than I was at my thinnest. I’m a UK size 12 /
    14. I have a big nose and non existent eyebrows. I have a
    cracking pair of boobs. When I flex my butt muscles my arse
    looks pretty good too. I have a few stretch marks, but my
    colourful tattoos do a good job at distracting from them.
    I like my smile.
    I love salads the size of my head and smoothies with spinach
    in them. A day without coffee feels like something is missing.
    There is no greater food than Reece’s Peanut Butter cups…and
    salted caramel…together in a bowl with vanilla ice cream for
    me please, thank you.

    Another bit from it…

    I accepted that how I look was not a static thing and that
    putting so much of my own self worth into something that will eventually wither with age was really fucking stupid. Sometimes I have days when I look in the mirror and feel a bitchunky. Sometimes I look at my Instagram feed and see people posting ‘before’ pictures
    that look like how I am now (urgh!)
    But now, most of the time, I look in the mirror and genuinely think I look hot!

    I’m now going to add sexy to the hot. Thank you!

    • Yeah! Thank you! Your comments are rocking my monday :)

  8. While I applaud the effort and the inspiration behind this post, I struggle with the assumption that all people should a) want to be sexy, and b) desire to feel sexy in order to demonstrate that they love themselves.

    What about people who don’t WANT to feel sexy and have no desire to possess sex appeal? There is danger in the message that sex is natural when it turns into an assertion that anyone who doesn’t want sex or feel sexual is automatically UN-natural. There are many ways to feel “excitement to be in the skin you’re in” that does not involve a sexual impulse, and to say otherwise shames asexual people into pathologizing their (lack of) sexual feelings.

    I think it’s wonderful to tell people that it’s okay to feel sexy, but when we equate sexiness with self-love, appreciation of beauty, and self-ownership, I think we send the message that there is something wrong with you if you don’t feel sexy and have no desire to do so.

    • Hey, totally! I agree with you one million percent. I put this one paragraph in for the sake of that argument, to demonstrate how important it is to me, while still maintaining this argument, too, which is also quite important to me.

      “Second, what these women might actually be after is a move away from defining themselves by sex appeal. “I’m not sexy and I’m okay with that” might be their way to empower women in terms of other qualities. It’s not important to be sexy, in all honesty. Much as I’ve been ranting about it – hell, I called sexiness a “right” – there are still about eight million things it is more important to be than sexy. “Nice” is one. “Smart,” another. Now – I consider both of those things qualities that enrich a woman’s sexiness, but I appreciate the sentiment and want us to love ourselves first and foremost for who we are, and only secondarily to give that the mantle of sex appeal.”

  9. I feel like a real asshole. I’ve spent the past 37 and a half years just hating my body and my looks despite being told my entire life that I’m very attractive, that other women would like to have my body and so on. I should have been telling my body and myself how sexy I am. It’s no wonder my body has waged a war against me in the past year!

    • To Kelly … Hooray!!! Thank goodness you are only 37 and have discovered this … I am sure that many women take these feelings to the grave with them. I sincerely pray that younger moms today can instill positive self-awareness in their beautiful daughters. Live Happy!! Live Sexy!! It’s never too late!

  10. Stephanie I fucking love what You are doing – never stop!

    Btw. I am at home being sick, runny nose and all this nasty stuff but it doesn’t matter – I am sexy, I have a family that loves me and it is cool. Life is good. We just shouldn’t complicate it.

  11. More realistically, even if celebrity women did feel sexy, it’s considered vain, unbecoming and ungrateful to self-identify as sexy. And women should never be those things of course. (Sarcasm)

    There’s a pop song out right now that goes, “You don’t know you’re beautiful, that’s why you’re beautiful” with the implication that if someone does act like they know how attractive they are, it makes them immediately unattractive.

  12. Pingback: Getting to the gym on dark mornings and gorgeous eats - Keeping Healthy Getting Stylish

  13. Men find me sexy, but then they often take that as permission to treat me like a whore, because that’s a compliment, right?

    I truly don’t understand what it would be like to want to feel sexy, outside a particular encounter with a particular person who has proven to be a safe person to be with. (Still looking for that person.) Most of the time, to me, “sexy” means an invitation to be treated in ways I can’t handle. I am not asexual, more struggling to come to terms with sex and what it means to different groups, and of course how to be sexual on my own goddess-inspired terms.

    Given that female celebrities are often treated like whores (look at their job descriptions!), I can see some of them disliking the term, too. Though I don’t know what their personal reasons are in each of these cases.

    Also, when you are treated like a whore, you do not feel sexy, you feel like dirt (at least in my experience). So it’s a bit of a catch 22. Sexy -> too much of the wrong kind of attention -> no longer feel or want to be sexy.

    Feeling sexy may be easier for women who do not attract a lot of impersonal attention from a lot of men.

  14. Pingback: The 2013 Paleo Year in Review • Paleo Movement Magazine

  15. Pingback: Paleo for Women | Top thirteen posts of 2013

  16. It’s interesting to see that your list doesn’t have any African American women.

    This interests me because I read some study a while ago that was showing that white women had a tendency to think they were less attractive than their peers viewed them as being, and African American women saw themselves as actually being more attractive than their peers viewed them.

    Urban African American women actually have such high confidence that even some of the phrases they use to express it have been solidified in stereotypical slang history. The, “Honey I know I look good,” and, “You just jealous because you want this” or any of the sassy quips people can think of all come from urban black women.

    I don’t know if it’s because of the inner desire to fight the Eurocentric standard of beauty, or if it’s actually because of the launch of things like “black is beautiful” and “black girls rock.” The study never explained it. Obviously not all African American women took the survey so it doesn’t represent every African American woman, but I definitely wouldn’t want to be in their shoes as being the universally least attractive women but somehow having the most self confidence of anyone. They are probably just overcompensating for having to hear about all the “studies” of racial preferences of men, but I still wouldn’t want to be delusionally confident. Maybe that’s what these stars are trying to avoid. They don’t want to come across as giving themselves more credit than they actually get from others. I wish I could find that study to share with you but I have no idea what I would even Google to find it.

    I think Asians had the least amount of self confidence. I am Asian and I don’t feel like I have that problem – I can take a compliment but I don’t think I’m prettier than Beyonce or Kim Kardashian or anything even near that level of beauty.

    Personally I think it’s better to be humble, but to be realistic about it too. If you’re praised worldwide for your beauty like celebrity women are, then it’s silly to pretend you think you’re not even cute. But the, “honey I know I look good” attitude isn’t cute either. I think Kim’s response is the smartest and most honest. She knows she looks good, but she realizes it’s not as serious as her fans make it out to be. She’s been living in her own body her whole life – so she knows that she is pretty but she also probably doesn’t see herself as being a sex goddess or anything.

    • Well, yes. I appreciate all of your thoughts. 1) there were no WOC in the initial post, and I was only responding to that post. 2) YES. Of course. For me, this is a complicated issue because I write books on how to be sexy. It’s a big part of what I do – empowering women to own their own sexuality. But I also believe it’s not all that important. Be and feel sexy, yes, but don’t make it the focus of your whole life.

      And yes, humility. Of course I don’t condemn it. And I do not condemn the celebrities who expressed their humility. They virtually have to. My biggest complaint is just that .. I don’t know. I’m so tired and sad of people — of EVERYBODY — being and feeling so low. And why not own our sex appeal? Why not? So anyway…

      If I wrote this article today I’d probably do so a bit differently, but I stand by my desire to make women feel GOOD in their skin and worthy of sexuality.

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