New York is heralding the “return of voluptuous.” What they seem to have missed is that the only place it left was white Hollywood, and it hasn’t been gone that long either. Ever heard of writer/producer/actress/comedienne Mae West, who owned the box office during the 30s?
Mae at work (bonus points for a young Cary Grant!) :
Or Anita Ekberg, the star of Fellini’s La Dolce Vita (1960), famous for a very special fountain?
As beautiful as Christina, Mae, and Anita are, the fact is that Christina Hendricks is way cooler for reasons other than her hip to waist ratio. Just look at her choices in roles, which tend to capitalize on her “assets” to make a statement about what we expect of beautiful women in entertainment. The most obvious example is her work as Joan Holloway on Mad Men.
On a less intelligent show, Joan could’ve been a Tool Time girl, and instead she’s one of the most tragic characters on Mad Men. Not just because her affairs tend not to end well…
but because Joan is so smart. Because in some strange way her job at Sterling Cooper fulfills her. She doesn’t want it all so much as she wants both stability (with her doctor husband) and stimulation (solving problems in ways that impress even professional chauvinist Don Draper.)
Although this video’s description has a similar problem to New York magazine:
Where does one start with Christina Hendricks? From the moment you see her you’re thinking of ways to impregnate her. Her body is a walking diorama of feminine beauty, a pieorama if you will. Imagine if Marilyn Monroe really had curves. Imagine if Jayne Mansfield really had a rack. Imagine if Katharine Hepburn’s hair was really red. Imagine if Jennifer Lopez really had ass. Imagine if the young Julie Christie really was pretty. Imagine if Mae West really had ‘tude. Imagine if these qualities came together in one piece of pie. A glorious treacly, sticks-to-your-fingers, treacle-coloured piece of treacle tart warmed in the oven and served with melting ice cream. Well that pie exists. And its name is Christina Hendricks. She walks among us like a colossus, cracking flags and breaking hearts with every step.
Christina Hendricks is soooo much more than that infamous distorted New York Times photo. Where Hendricks’ work really shines is in her interactions with Elisabeth Moss’s Peggy Olson, the “plain jane” who goes from secretary to copy writer. Hendricks does an amazing job with the nuance the writers of Mad Men ask of her, a sad mix of resentment and pride for one of her girls. In this clip, Joan has to inform Peggy of her promotion without pay.
And geeks will remember that she was a recurring character on Joss Whedon’s short-lived Firefly, as a con woman who tried to marry Mal in order to hand over his ship to pirates.
Basically all you need to know is that she’s a femme fatale written by Joss Whedon. I’m surprised if you’re not watching already.
(And don’t worry about her getting knocked out. Saffron always outsmarts Mal. Because she’s awesome.)
Another place Hendricks gets points is her taste in men. After the “big girl, big dress” hullabaloo, her husband Geoffrey Arend (who also deserves points for his simple and charming performance in 500 Days of Summer) said this:
“Honestly, she’s the greatest woman I know. She’s the most beautiful woman I know. She’s the most talented woman I know. It’s like there’s not enough adjectives that could express or superlatives that could express how wonderful she is.”
So there you go youtube commenters. If you want someone as “treacly” as Christina Hendricks, look past the curves and the corsets and love the talented, wonderful woman inside.