Afternoon Inquisition


Earlier today, an MRA site posted a list of the 9 Ugliest Feminists in America. Don’t bother clicking because… yeah… also because the site is currently crashed.

Basically, a dude who is so handsome he can only be depicted as a cartoon lest everyone die from orgasm should his actual photo ever be published, took a list of outspoken feminists and declared them ugly and the world was like ‘WHOA! THAT’S SO ORIGINAL AND DEEP! NO ONE HAS EVER CALLED FEMINISTS UGLY BEFORE! You, faceless cartoon man whose legal name is totally definitely Roosh IRL because why would you hide behind a pseudonym, are a true hero!”

And I considered for a second asking you, Skepchick’s very good looking readers, to objectively list all the ugliest MRAs. Then I realized that was hypocritical. So then I was going to have you list the sexiest MRAs… and I threw up for like three days—Seriously. I’m barfing into the future.  Not because I judge MRAs on their attractiveness or shame their hairy necks or pity their deluded paranoid thoughts. I’m sure lots of them are well groomed and even lay off the Axe body spray while justifying how they think rape is pretty much the best  (when done to women) (LOLZ JK women don’t get raped that’s all made up.) There’s just something about hating women with every ounce of your bespittled being that kind of turns me off.

Which got me thinking… what is sexy anyway? I mean, a lot of people think those 9 Uggo Feminists are quite hot because of their badassery, but even at that? Irrelevant. And even a really sexy MRA (hold the vomit just a second) isn’t sexy because (s)he’s a HORRIBLE person.

So… what is sexy? Is sexy looks? Is sexy thoughts? Is sexy talking? Is sexy a whole package thing? Can a person be a little sexy or is it all or nothing? What makes people sexy? And what the hell is with this crazy demand that sexy be a thing women should be first and foremost?

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3pm ET.


Elyse MoFo Anders is the bad ass behind forming the Women Thinking, inc and the superhero who launched the Hug Me! I'm Vaccinated campaign as well as podcaster emeritus, writer, slacktivist extraordinaire, cancer survivor and sometimes runs marathons for charity. You probably think she's awesome so you follow her on twitter.

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  1. Hot is entirely subjective. And frankly irrelevant in all situations unless you actually have some realistic interest in having some sort of relationship (long term or short term) with said person.

    I work in burlesque. I deal with tons of women that are considered by most people to be hot. Looks pale fast in the face of an ugly personality. And women who are “less hot” but engaging to talk with and fun to be around quickly become “more hot”. Were these objective criteria this would not be the case.

    I think everyone CAN be sexy, and seeing yourself as sexy is the critical first step. It doesn’t matter what you look like: if you don’t think you’re sexy you’re facing an uphill battle in being sexy to others. Being confident, self aware, and comfortable in your own skin is absolutely the sexiest.

    If I can’t have a conversation with someone I sure as hell don’t want to have sex with them.

  2. Sexy is like art, it’s in the eye of the beholder. Melissa McCarthy eating a sandwich off her husbands stomach could be considered sexy to certain people. If it is and your partner is consenting, more power to you!

    I think confidence is sexy. I think brains are sexy. I also think acting “cute” is sexy as is a good sense of humor. I think touching is sexy. I think cuddling is sexy. I think being able to cook well is sexy. I think being mushy is sexy. I think a great smile is sexy. I think being able to put up with me is sexy!

    Speaking of Melissa, she’s sexy! Great smile, Funny, confident, going for it in Hollywood right now as a funny actress.

  3. The Geek Husband What Rules and I frequently talk about how quickly some pretty people become ugly the second they open their mouths. Conversely, some relatively (conventionally) plain or even unattractive people can become way hotter when you talk to them, because they’re smart, funny and have things in common with you.

    I don’t care how “hot” Roosh may physically be, that article proves that ugly goes to the bone there.

    1. Hear hear!

      And as far as simple appearance goes, one person’s “sexy” is another person’s “Are you serious? You look ridiculous.”

    2. Much agreed! I’ve nursed crushes on “hot” people I had met but didn’t know well that quickly shattered as soon as I spent enough time with them.

  4. Smart not to play sexists at their own game. Kudos.

    Sexy to me is taking care of yourself. In high school I knew girls who said felt unattractive but could have done simple things to up the ante. Granted some of them were probably depressed, but they didn’t take good care of themselves either.

    (Keep in mind this was a private school and many of these kids had more money than God).

    Some of these young women were overweight or had low self esteem, but every one of them was pretty in their own way. All they needed were some updates to their clothing; deeper colors that flattered their skin, a modern clean haircut (or even just brushing their hair) and some pride in their appearance.

    To me this is not vanity. It’s a matter of being proud of who you are and reflecting that in your style. Granted some of the time I hang out in my lounge clothes, but I don’t feel bad about myself when I do.

  5. (That should have said “they said THEY felt unattractive. These were girls who constantly compared themselves to the stereotypical popular girls but they were just as pretty).

  6. Sexy is a great smile and a look in somebody’s eye meant just for you. Yes to the other questions, definitely whole package. If you don’t think sexy should be first and foremost, I agree and that’s sexy too!

  7. Sexy is a giant n-dimensional cobweb with all sorts of random nooks and crannies and things you wouldn’t imagine would turn you on.
    (With a large, easily avoided black hole in the hyperspace where you act, look or otherwise cause me to think you’re similar to my mother.)
    It does help to speak Klingon, though … ladies …

  8. I had to say one other thing (Elyse, this is totally your fault for adding that picture) what is UP with that guy in the white shorts? His face is absolutely wild. Totally immobile expression. I actually thought he was a cartoon character or a blow up doll the first time I saw the video.

    Cute, but kind of scary too.

  9. I disagree with most here. Sexy is not entirely subjective (and therefore not subjective). Some things are generally more attractive than others. Health, strength, knowledge and stability are a few sexy traits.

    1. Sexiness is not a yes-no thing for me, it’s a spectrum. Personality definitely changes my perception of someone’s physical attractiveness (and often trumps it), but I agree with uhl7792 that we funny monkeys do have an in-built preference for outward signs of physical health, although we pick up on different traits and have different preferences. Some people are just more physically attractive than others.

  10. Smiles. Definetly. If I have to name a body-feature.
    Sometimes the sexiest thing somebody can do is to take some work-load off your back so you might actually have sme capacieties left for sexy to feature.

  11. Basically, I agree with Deviladv about it all being in the eye of the beholder. Personally, if by “hot” we’re talking about a let’s-find-an-empty-broom-closet lust, the I’d be lying to pretend plain old shallow irrational physical attraction has nothing to do with it. However, what sparks that physical attraction may not be Cosmo mag predictable. For one, I like big noses. Really. Really big noses. And guys who are just my height or a little taller– and I’m pretty short. My hottest blond-blueeyed-sleek female friend would give her rent-controlled two bed apartment for a night with Steve Buscemi.

    So go figure.

    But all that lust can be doused very quickly by the slightest cruel joke and sneering comment. And people should be extremely careful discussing politics with me. “Glenn Beck made a good point yesterday…” is saltpeter. Also somewhat irrationally, not liking animals has the same effect as Glenn Beck. If someone is actually cruel to animals, it makes me feel Bobbity (not that I’d actually do that.)

    Like most Cosmo Quiz respondents, I am attracted to a sense of humor. Whenever I hear the complaint “Women/men say they like a sense of humor but they would rather have someone hot looking,” I wonder if the complainant overestimates how funny he pro comedians, and a handful of funny as hell aquaintances and friends, attraction based on great personalities AND a very hot sense of humor. I’m talking about small-nosed people who do not spark an automatic physical lust; this is lust largely because they are funny.

    1. Oops. Lost a line in my post That happens when I post from my work computer for some reason, ahem.

      Originally typed “I wonder if the complainant overestimates how funny he is. I have buscemi-esque crushes on some pro comedians…”

    2. I also have a huge (lol) thing for big noses. A good friend of mine has a near-Adrian Brody nose and it drives me insane.

      I have wild tastes. I do not discriminate much, to be honest. I think if I were to have a “type” when it comes to men, it would probably be taller (than me, but I’m short), chubby guys with big noses and furry chests. I also like fuzzy arms. And I don’t mind back hair. BRING ON THE FUZZ.

      But on the same token, I find Macklemore, who is very tall, very light, and very lanky, *insanely* attractive, and I have had two crushes on two men that were *shorter* than me (and I’m 5’2″!).

      When it comes to women, I like tall women but in general it’s more about smile and personality. I find kissing women WAY more sexy than kissing me, and I’ve never been able to figure out why (maybe it’s my small mouth and I hate slobber?).

      Anyway. Sexy is so subjective. I’ve been really attracted to a wide variety of people.

      And if you’re hilarious and super smart, it’s OVER, regardless of looks or sex. I will have a crush on you. I have a lot of crushes. :P

  12. This is a tough question to answer. I agree with people that it’s a combination of looks and personality.
    Specifically, it’s eyes (smouldering) and athleticism (lithe) for me. Also have to be smart and have a sense of humor.

    On a side note, I bowl in a work league and my teammate told me last night that “there were some inquiries” about my marital status. I admit to a super-shallow “ewww, THESE guys???” reaction in my head. :)
    Then, of course, I got all self-conscious about people looking at my butt when I bowl. Blugh.

  13. Debate ability. Anyone who can construct a logical argument and be able to defend its weak points against me is hella sexy.

    Feminist men. I know, right? All that believing that I’m a full person and not treating me differently because I’m a woman? Infinitely hot.

    1. Amanda,

      Well I for one find brains attractive and I’m a feminist and a man, so there’s one for you.

  14. Fastidious personal hygiene. Brainy, feminist men. Dads who are sweet to their kids make me all gooey. Especially if they haven’t shaved for a day or two. Like they’ve just returned from some amazing mountaineering adventure or from hewing logs for the hand-built cabin you have to ski in to. Which describes my husband!
    He is, objectively, god-damn hot. Tall, fit, gorgeous eyes… He really is slumming with me (not a high bar to begin with, but still….). But that’s not what’s kept us together for fourteen years. He’s smart, thoughtful, funny, artistic, progressive, and an amazing dad. When we’re all together, the Tiny Anthropologist says we are, “Cozy as a family!” Which is why, even though I occasionally find other people intensely attractive, I’ve never met anyone who is worth the pain of screwing up such a good thing.

  15. Wow, that returnofkings site has to be one of the most pathetic web sites I’ve ever visited. Think I need to do a fresh install of Fedora just to get the taste out of my computer.

    As far as what is sexy, well, I’m sure that differs for each of us, but one thing I know for sure, I don’t care how physically attractive someone is, if they are ugly on the inside then they cannot be sexy.

  16. Looks is a part of what is sexy for me, but thoughts play an ever larger role.
    One could be insanely attractive, but if she is, for example, a creationist, then the level of sexiness drops off like an oceanic trench.

    For some reason, I sometimes find the goth look attractive, and I have no idea why. I have a weakness for black hair. Maybe it invokes thoughts of space?
    Fans of sci-fi definately rank high (so fuck off, Haters!).

    >”And what the hell is with this crazy demand that sexy be a thing women should be first and foremost?”

    Damned if I know. Intelligence, free thoughts, and reaonsing, IMO, ought to be first and foremost.
    I think that ought to apply to everyone. But that’s just me.

  17. Elyse,

    The so called, “men’s rights activists” are a sick joke. Seriously, these sexist pigs should get a life.

  18. Sexy is a blend of features someone finds attractive and not all of them are looks. There’s looks, attitude, intelligence, thoughts, etc. The least important and most changeable is looks. Someone could be an exact duplicate of Chris Hemsworth with Sea Connery’s voice and if he was an MRA he’s be decidedly unsexy. But someone who’s smart, funny, kinky, confident, loves science and feminism but looks pretty average is going to be damned sexy to me.

  19. I looked at the pictures of these supposedly ugly women and my first reaction was, ‘wow, these are all really attractive people.’ Which isn’t the same as sexy; I’m female and quite hetero, so I wouldn’t really be able to make a judgment on sexiness.
    All of those women, though, were thoughtful, intelligent, articulate people who have made real contributions to my life and/or movements I care about, to the degree that I realized that I didn’t even really give a damn that someone like Roosh was trying to shame them. I’d love to hang out with any of them. Their achievements and their own words speak so loudly of their attractiveness as people that it just made him look like a pathetic loser trying to pull other people down to make himself look better.

  20. In my youth, I had the off-the-shelf, American male view of sexiness which was pretty much whatever Hollywood and the rest of the mass media were defining it as. Then I met my wife (she wasn’t yet my wife, obviously, unless you believe in soul mates, but then you’re probably not reading this blog) and discovered that women can be total geeks (I led a sheltered life). That didn’t make those who fit the standard model less sexy, but it did allow the scale to go to 11 with physical attractiveness only taking one so far up the scale (needless to say, Julie is an 11).

    1. Like you my “male gaze” can be depressingly predictable sometimes, although I am the only guy I know to have a TV crush on Stephanie Zimbalist from “Remington Steele”. Something about the freckles…

      My wife is sexy and she knows it. So is Scarlett Johanssen. They do not look very similar. The difference being that Scarlett Johansson is incredibly unlikely to have sex with me, so her level of sexiness is largely irrelevant to my day to day life. Nice to know its out there, but not life changing if it weren’t. Although I will admit to being jealous of whovever gets to be Mr/Ms Johannson.

      In this day and age I don’t see how anyone can think that there is a “one and only” style of sexy. Doesn’t rule #34 apply to this situation?

      1. I had a MASSIVE crush on Stephanie Zimbalist! Not only was (is) she extremely attractive, but even in my early teens I found her TV persona very attractive. Her character was one of the original Skepchicks, including an everpresent battle against sexism and male privilege. I’ve never really thought about it until this moment, but that’s probably the thing that attracted me the most about her.

        1. Actually, Pierce Brosnan is also on my “I’m not gay but…” list.

          I loved all of the 80’s detective shows, from Steele to Magnum PI or Simon and Simon. Moonlighting. It was a golden age of sorts. The best example we have now is probably Burn Notice, of which I am also a big fan.

  21. Since appearance is apparently how these guys determine human worth, shouldn’t this guy have included a picture of himself?
    I mean, how else can we know that he’s better than the vile, hideous feminists he’s deriding?

    1. I’m pretty sure it’s a clearly stated double standard: it’s men that care about beauty. Women, shallow creatures that they are, only care about how much money you have.
      So, really, he should be publishing his T4, or whatever equivalent income tax forms he has in his country.

  22. I agree with what most of you are saying. Sexiness is more than just physical attraction to me.

    But even when it’s just about physical attraction I know people have different tastes. I find muscles to be such a turn off, not just the body builder kind of muscles, but anything that looks really “strong”.

  23. *raises hand
    Just to point out your pointless adhom I have a pet peeve about: online anonymity/vs RealNames™ is not more or less “brave”, people don’t choose pseudonyms to “hide”, etc. Although there are plenty of legitimate reasons not to use one’s real name, and constantly spamming from behind multiple fake persona (sock accounts) for dishonest reasons is bad, personally I use pseudonyms online because:
    1) You get rid of all the baggage attached to a normal name (country/sex/ethnicity).
    2) You can keep your online activities separate from your RL ones (protecting your privacy and that of your friends & family).
    3) It’s actually quite empowering to be able to create a new online “image” for yourself. Using a pseudonym online is actually *not* anonymity if you use it consistently – people will get to know what kinds of opinions you express, will recognise your pseudonym on various different forums and kinds of social media.

    Oh, and the “ugly” feminists were actually quite hot (75% average?) in my mind, although not always the age-group I’m attracted to. Overall sexiness would just be a percentage of people who find you sexually attractive, so subjective yes, but measurable in general. (A person who has a problem finding any sexual partners because no one finds them attractive would by that definition be “ugly”, although their eventual partner might find them “hot”).

    That is all.

    1. [It’s actually quite empowering to be able to create a new online “image” for yourself. Using a pseudonym online is actually *not* anonymity if you use it consistently – people will get to know what kinds of opinions you express, will recognise your pseudonym on various different forums and kinds of social media.]

      That’s why I often call myself the Honorable Skeptic and have a Circle H logo as my avatar. But I also use my real name too and I’m willing to show my face. Since Roosh calls out feminists he considers ugly by their real names and shows actual pictures of them, I think Elyse was merely pointing our his hypocrisy and cowardice.

  24. I’m just gonna quote Doctor Who (actually, Amy Pond):

    “You know when sometimes you meet someone so beautiful
    and then you actually talk to them and five minutes later they’re as dull as a brick? Then there’s other people, when you meet them you think, “Not bad. They’re okay.” And then you get to know them and… and their face just sort of becomes them. Like their personality’s written all over it. And they just turn into something so beautiful.”

    Although I suppose sexiness and beauty are two different things? Perhaps that’s worth an exploration.

  25. (Haven’t read the other comments yet, so someone may have already pointed this out.)

    The brain is the sexiest part of the human body and skeptics have brains the size of humongous rocks, much bigger than their heads (to quote my nephew’s self-description). Just sayin’…

  26. Sexy is confidence, intelligence, poise, curiosity, and passion.

    And red hair, but that may just be me.

  27. Oh, neat! They’ve got a handy link to a quiz that tells you how sexy you are to MRAs. I’m a -38! Yay!

    1. oooh, where is that quiz??? I totally want to take it. I’ll bet I can beat that -38! As in, be lower in the eyes of these losers :)

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