Updated June 11, 2010 with important insights from Greg Wright about the history of Lilith.
‘Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks is on the cover of this week’s New York Magazine Spring 2010 fashion edition.
Hendricks is blessed with an old-fashioned, real-woman hourglass figure, the kind that used to make men swoon and Hollywood directors, too.
The NYMag editorial makes a couple points important to note, knowing that the embrace doesn’t make me popular.
Hendricks lives north of the 15 BMI model we worry may drop dead any day now — the one Lauren, Lagerfeld and most male designers today — gay or straight — insist we women all want to be, if we would just get off our robust bottoms and start taking beauty seriously.
The voluptuous vixen lives way south of Beth Ditto and Gabourey Sidibe, celebrated as living proof that the BMI of 40 beautiful, too.
Make no mistake, putting Beth Ditto on the cover of LOVE mag in its inaugural edition was an ace move. I’m all for self-love, no matter what size your body.
Technically speakingthough, at 5’2” and 220 lbs Beth Ditto has a BMI of 40.23, making her morbidly obese. Personally, I want to keep all these fab women around for a long time, so I’m hapy to promote Hendricks and her medically-healthy hourglass figure.
Even the medical establishment has new research confirming that hips are good for a woman.
Writing about Christina Hendricks in Aug. 2009, NYMag said:
Bad is sexy. And then just very, very bad. The show lures you in with a glittering surface, but just below is a hothouse of homophobia, racism, anti-Semitism, sexism, and a more general and crushing sense of isolation. Joan embodies all of the show’s brazen contradictions, strutting and posing no matter how awful or retrograde the circumstances. And yet, with less screen time than the other main characters, Joan has broken out as the show’s most seductive player. Part of the allure is her retro-bodacious beauty—obviously attractive to men, straight and gay (she’s hot and campy), and oddly empowering to women. “Joan has one of those characters based on strength,” says Mad Men creator Matt Weiner. “Even her roommate says to her, ‘You are so upbeat despite what happens.’ ”
NYMag praises Christina Hendricks as the average woman, the healthy one by medical standards, the one with curves, who is capable of kicking some serious butt. I maintain that Ralph Lauren doesn’t like this Hendricks-looking, hourglass woman because she is … fertile, sexual, a bit of the Meryl Street wanton woman female with a robust libido.
You would think that Hendricks is every guy’s dream girl because she likes sex, men and is willing to make her own way in the male establishment back then. In a weird twist of feminism, today’s world fears the hourglass woman.
In the same way that blonds are considered to be best in bed but poor wives, given their extra-robust libido and supposed penchant for infidelity, the hourglass woman is sinful, and shame incarnate. She is Lilith.
Art directors and stylists are subliminal creatures, often striking poses and sets that spring from their unconscious minds without warning. Of course, I can see the Boticelli beauty of Christina Hendricks, but knowing of Lilith, Adam’s first wife, I chuckled over the Hendrick’s corset photo.
Years ago I published a small journal ‘The Gospel According to LIlith’. This was before the Conservative revolution that swept through America, basically derailing the women’s movement and leaving American women years behind those in other countries — about 60 other countries, according to the World’s Economic Forum report from Fall 2009.
Archaeologists and anthropolists are writing more about Lilith recently, but no one wanted to investigate Adam’s first wife, the official bad girl of the Old Testament times. Can you imagine asking for a research grant to investigate Adam’s first wife?
One of the blessings of hanging your Biblical hat on the New Testament and Paul the apostle, who said that women should be silent, is that you don’t have to deal with Lilith.
One look at her, and you understand the Lilith represents man’s worst fears. This is the problem with women like Christina Hendricks and Meryl Steep, recently compared to an unmade bed by Sharon Stone. They appear confidently in command of theirselves and their sexuality at any age.
Is America psychologically ready for the Lilith woman, the unmade bed-woman who is ‘normal’ and has a hot-line to Satan. I’d be surprised, the more I study religion and politics in America.
On my end, hope springs eternal and I live for the day the world learns to love Lilith. Call me dubious.
Unfortunately, from being cast as a female Mesopotamian storm demon to the voracious killer of newborn children, Lilith is the real symbol of how the patriarchal psyche interprets femaleness. Every group must blame somebody for the ills of the world.
Metaphorically, Lilith has probably been stoned to death at least 100 million times in the course of civilization. Reality is that the redhead has nerves of steel and broad shoulders, and she soldiers on.
Practically speaking, if we can nudge the fashion industry back towards a weight where women can actually identity with the woman in the picture — just a wee bit of healthy reality check — that would be a healthy move for women.
As to our sinful nature, there’s no real cure — sort of like homosexuality — BUT at least while we’re eating ourselves to death in guilt, we’ll have more rounded role models like Hendricks and Crystal Renn to look up to. Anne
This comment by author Greg Wright is reposted from my Facebook page.
See Greg’s Amazon profile here: http://www.amazon.com/Greg-Wright/e/B0032BLKZS/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0.
My new Minnesota-born friend Greg has written a novel which I will read soon. And Greg has enthusiastically said “yes” to working on a larger article on Lilith, because she’s so important to our understanding of — not only of historical feminism — but monotheism’s effect on the lives of all women.
The reason she (Lilith) was so heavily demonized or marginalized really comes down to the old saw that assertive women are a royal pain in the butt in male-dominated societies.
There are more than a few examples of the “cunning, deceitful, scheming” woman who’ll bring ruin and misery to powerful and “good” men in Judaic writings.
Lilith was basically the original prototype for this, and accepting her existence as “legitimate” in Judaism, and later in Christendom, would have basically required religious leaders to acknowledge to some degree that the original man, Adam, was a shiftless, no-good lay-a-bout whose first wife left him because he was always nagging her to do the dishes.
Another famous example of negative female stereotype that actually did appear in the Hebrew (and Christian) scriptures was the story of Samson and Delilah…. Delilah being the cunning woman who, when she learned of Samson’s strength coming from his long locks of hair, cut his hair and, thus, his power.
That is tale of male fear of emasculation by a guileful woman if I’ve ever heard one.
What is objectively important of many, if not all, the tales in the Tanakh and subsequent texts is from whose perspective virtually every story is told: a male perspective.
It isn’t commonly talked about (or known by most Americans, I would imagine), but even today in the most fervently conservative Jewish communities, the Hassidic community for example, a “good woman is a silent woman.”