Jennifer Lawrence and the American Sex Symbol

On April 19, 2012 by Kim Wetter

I love women. I think they are beautiful. Their bodies, their hair, their skin, their smiles, their laughs, their kindness. Unfortunately, that list stops a lot earlier for many people.

I saw the Hunger Games for the second time last week and I was stuck with how beautiful Jennifer Lawrence is on screen (and she can act better than with her little pinky toe than most other actors in Hollywood right now but I digress). What shocked me most was the scenes in which I found her most stunning. There are several scenes at the beginning where she is dolled up with perfect clothes, hair and make-up. Obviously, I noticed she was attractive, but it wasn’t until the scene when she’s going off to the arena when I was truly stunned.

Super Hot

Still Super Hot

You may stop me here and say, “Kim, you’re a lesbian. Of course, you found that most attractive.”

I happened to be sitting next to a guy and when she came out with those khaki pants and black shirt, I turned to him to make a comment and he nodded fervently in agreement.

I didn’t know much about Jennifer Lawrence before her role as Katniss. I’ve seen A Winter’s Bone, but only recently. I was first hearing her name in the 2011 Academy Awards, where she also looked stunning.

See: Stunning

With any celebrity I’m interested in, I did a quick Google search to learn more. I was strangely appalled to come across these pictures.

This is weird for me

It’s nothing against Jennifer Lawrence and her decisions but I had really hoped I wouldn’t stumble across the obligatory bikini pictures. As with most attractive females in Hollywood, Jennifer Lawrence did a photo shoot for a men’s magazine. What’s so bad about that?

Everything.

I’d like to be totally and completely infatuated with an actress without her ass and breasts being plastered all over the place. That just boils her down to an ass and a pair of breasts. Do you really think that many men bothered to read the article attached to these photos? No. And why should they? What else is she to them?

America has a tendency to boil a female down to her looks. We sexify her and present her to the world. It makes no difference that Jennifer Lawrence kicks ass in the Hunger Games and if she were played by a male lead, would be on her way to becoming the next best action star. What matters most is that she can be a sexual fantasy.

I recently read two articles that probably got me thinking on the subject. The first, Ashley Judd defends her “puffy face” and the second is titled Dear Daughter.¬†They both say it all better than I can.

The point is that Jennifer Lawrence is a strong, talented and yes, attractive individual who has a lot to offer. I really hope that she knows she’s worth a whole lot more than those photos. As she rises to fame, I sincerely hope she handles it with grace (sorry Kristen Stewart), class (that’s not you Vanessa Hudgens) and sanity (I love you Britney Spears).

3 Responses to “Jennifer Lawrence and the American Sex Symbol”

  • Lala Cruz

    Though I can appreciate the point you are trying to make here, I find the whole post hypocritical. You are, in essence, doing the same thing that the magazine who asked her to pose in a bikini did: putting her in your own “comfort zone box” and wanting her to do only what YOU think is appropriate. Therein lies the problem.

    I too read the Ashley Judd article, and the “Dear Daughter” letter and was moved by them. However, it seems that they moved me in a different way. Instead of being dismayed, or devaluing her based on her sexy photos, which smacks of feminist backlash, I say Kudos to her. She is strong. Powerful. Compelling. Sexy. END OF DISCUSSION (or rather, it should be).

    If she has the balls to pose in a bikini, kudos to her. If she has the decidedly lucky fate to possess both brains and beauty, kudos to her. What she, as a seemingly empowered, aware young woman decides to do with said gifts should only be applauded. We, as a collective, need to stop breaking people like her down, but lifting them up.

    To quote Ashley Judd: Patriarchy is not men. Patriarchy is a system in which both women and men participate. It privileges, inter alia, the interests of boys and men over the bodily integrity, autonomy, and dignity of girls and women. It is subtle, insidious, and never more dangerous than when women passionately deny that they themselves are engaging in it.

    So ask yourself this: how are YOU participating in said system with the above-post?

    • Well Mrs Anonymous Commenter, I appreciate your feedback. I think you misunderstood me, as I have no problems with Jennifer Lawrence. My opinion of her has not changed through any of this. I still think she’s strong, talented and beautiful. So, the backlash you speak of is not coming from me but rather your own interpretation. I would not judge her for making the decision to do this magazine shoot and I don’t pretend to be above it. As I mentioned before, this is probably the first time I was against seeing a bikini photo. I still respect Jennifer Lawrence and think she’s amazing but there are many out there that won’t bother to look beyond her scantily clad pictures and that makes me sad. My “comfort zone box” is much bigger than you assume but something that is outside of it is judging people – something I was not trying to do here.

  • Tara Takano

    I think the problem here Lala is that she was posing for a men’s magazine. As Kim pointed out, these pictures weren’t taken to demonstrate her feminist empowerment to the men reading it. I personally think that if she wants to take pictures in a bikini she should do it but her motivations are really important. In a time where women are still so oppressed and the patriarchy is rampant, we have to wonder… was she really taking those pictures for her own empowerment? Maybe. But I highly doubt it. Mostly I think she was taking those pictures so that men all over the US could drool all over her body. I think Kim has a right to feel disappointed. I do. J.L. did not have to prove anything to a bunch of men to show me she was sexy and empowered.

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