Saturday, October 12, 2013
Christian Grey vs. Jessica Rabbit
First, this is not going to be a story of these two fictional characters in a smack down, although that would be funny. What I want to do here is compare the ideal female fantasy, according to fiction, and the ideal male fantasy. I do realize that these are generalizations and people have different tastes and priorities, but both of these characters are placed on pillars as the epitome of what women and men want. Both of their names are synonymous with sexuality. 50 shades of Grey is one of the bestselling stories of our time. The sales have exceeded Harry Potter at times. When women talk about why they like this book, what is the main reason? They touch on the love story briefly, some do get into the sexual parts, but for the most part their highest praise is Christian, aka 50 shades of fucked up. We have all seen the memes, “60% of wives wish their husbands would go Christian Grey on them,” gifs with women in bathtubs. Yes, there are plenty of women who say that he is abusive. His popularity among women overshadows his criticisms. When you Google for lists of top “Hot animated women,” the same character keeps topping those lists. Jessica Rabbit has not only become a staple of what men find attractive, but her name has become a literal term for female beauty. We have all met these women who have been referred to by their peers as a “Jessica Rabbit.” So what is the appeal of Christian Grey? He is a twenty-seven year old multi-billionaire with his own company to start with. He exudes power and control in every aspect of his life. His love interest is constantly calling him “a Greek god.” In addition to his overwhelming physical appearance, he wears cologne she likes and launders his clothes with the correct detergent. Despite all of his traits that make him the ideal alpha male, he still has a flaw that his woman gets to fix. A “crack whore” mother that left him with a pension to hurt women that look like her raised Christian. Jessica is an over exaggeration of the ideal female body type. Huge hair, legs long enough to make up 60% of her body, massive lips, a waist thin enough to turn any corset into a swimming pool, and yes, breasts that looked like they will not just burst out of her dress but throw the whole thing off of her. Her dress exposes different parts of her body depending on how she stands and how she moves. She is also a singer, and when she sings she has no shame in letting her sex appeal fill the room. Her one balancing factor is that despite her strength and resolve, she still needs protection from the bad guys. From these two characters, we can come to the standard conclusion that women seem to care primarily about the cerebral while considering the physical. Men primarily focus on physical while considering the cerebral. Is there anything though that connects these two characters? Is there any common ground women and men can meet on? Both of these characters have one thing in common: they both seem to be in a relationship with somebody who is beneath their station. Christian is in love with a middle class girl fresh out of collage with self-esteem issues and apparently eyes that are too big for her head. Jessica is married to an annoying, high-pitched, cartoon rabbit. Anybody on the outside of these relationships would look on them with confusion. Does this detract or enhance their appeal? We all fantasize about being with the ideal person. We all have celebrity crushes. We all have characters from books, television, or movies that we favor purely because of their sex appeal. When we see ideal forms though settling for people that we can relate to, or at least do not seem capable of getting the ideal forms, it gives us a sense of hope. “If Ana can get Christian, maybe I can get my own Christian.” “If Jessica Rabbit will marry Roger, maybe the prom queen will go out with me.” One could argue that this is a false sense of hope, and usually it is. The fact remains that in order to be in a relationship with somebody, that person has to agree to it. Maybe despite physical appearance, ability to provide, and potential for empathy, the most appealing quality a person can have is acceptance of our own imperfect selves.