April 7, 2003 06:30 PM

My Happy Fat posted an assignment a few days ago.

BREAK OUT YOUR CAMERAS GIRLS. If you don't want your boyfriend or girlfriend to take them, take them yourself. Delete them right after if you want, but take them. Try different angles and lighting. Get creative and GET NAKED.

Brilliant. I do really highly recommend it.

And then Tish was talking today about that horrid show that combines the "Am I Hot Or Not" website with American Idol. As if one sort of body is built for sex. Ha. The rest of us, apparently, didn't read the label.

Why do we have the cultural notion of sexiness? Aside from the obvious biological basis, why bother? Clearly sexiness as it stands today is divorced from selection for health. So, what's with this?

The cynical (and I suspect correct) answer is that it's market-driven. The body can't serve as a sales vehicle and is a less effective generator of demand if all bodies have equal value. Enter media-promoted hotness, designed both to sell things that make you hotter and things unrelated to hotness by association with hot people. [This whole discussion becomes more amusing when "hotness" is the topic, doesn't it?]

And yet, empirically, I know that no two people have exactly like views on what constitutes sexy in other people. Why do we tolerate a cookie-cutter hotness sales pitch, then?

I don't know. But people are fighting it. You can fight it yourself. Just list, say, five things you think are sexy that are outside of the official hotness mode. Here are some of mine:
1. Jiggling when you dance.
2. Long grey or white hair, the kind that says hey, I'm old - so what?
3. People who just woke up.
4. Dressing to suit only yourself.
5. Smiling wickedly at idiots.

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