Sex appeal is an extremely subjective matter. What makes a woman
sexy? In Japan it may be a small foot. In India, the perfect belly.
A dazzling smile. A great pair of legs. Seductive eyes. Thick, lustrous
hair. A sultry voice.
To many American men it’s as simple as a great rack.
Tastes have changed over the years, to be sure. In the early part of
the twentieth century, women were shorter and rounder and, in fact, the “ideal”
figure was that of an hourglass. The “flapper” ushered in a nearly
non-existent bosom which blossomed again during the depression, a time
when appearing gaunt was possibly considered less than fashionable.
During WWII, woman may have been patriotic enough to give up their hose, but
not enough to forfeit the sensual appeal of a seamed stocking. With a ruler,
eyebrow pencil, and some ingenuity, they managed to suggest the illusion of a
seam. (After all, isn’t sex appeal often only about illusion)?
In the fifties there were a sufficient number of “blonde bombshells” to
combat the “June Cleaver” type but it was the sixties that left an indelible
mark. Model Twiggy’s “little boy” look had a major effect upon how women would
view their sexual appeal for years to come. For the first time, they did not
desire the sophisticated look of French knots and ample cleavage. Instead, they
aspired to look young and “waifish” even if it took anorexia and/or bulimia to
achieve those goals. There’s a scene on the beach in the movie, Gidget where
Gidget’s well endowed friends scoff at Gidget’s petite, boyish figure. Nowadays
it’s likely that Gidget would be laughing at her friends, viewing them as
I’ve compiled a list of 20 actresses who might be considered to be the
sexiest for the times in which they lived. (I say “might” because, as
mentioned, tastes are subjective).
These women stand out for having maintained their sexuality, either by
creating their own styles or by bucking the trends of the times.
I intentionally omitted beauties such as: Carole Lombard, Claudette Colbert,
Lauren Becall, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Natalie Wood, Goldie Hawn, Demi
Moore, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Jennifer Aniston, who, while they might be
elegant, cute, or “girl-next-doorish” don’t necessarily exude sex. (Not to say
that many men wouldn’t find them sexy or that women wouldn’t want to look like
them. Audrey Hepburn is my personal favorite).
1. 1930’s – JEAN HARLOW (34-25-36) Star of Hell’s Angels;
original “Blonde Bombshell”.
2. 1940’s – RITA HAYWORTH (32-25-34) Glamorous star of “Gilda”;
Married to Orson Welles and also to Prince Aly Khan.
3. 1940’s – BETTY GRABLE (34-24-36) Known for her “great gams”;
#1 pinup girl of WW II, married to trumpet player, Harry James.
.4. 1950’s – MARILYN MONROE (37-23-36) Sexy and vulnerable; famous
(amongst other things) for the dress that flew up around her waist in “The
Seven Year Itch”.
5. 1950’s – JANE MANSFIELD (42-21-35) Very intelligent, despite
her “poor man’s Marilyn Monroe” image. Mother of actress Mariska Harigtay,
6. 1950’s – AVA GARDNER (36-23-37) Star of “The Barefoot
Contessa”; had an earthy femininity; steamy marriage to Frank Sinatra.
7. 1960’s – ELIZABETH TAYLOR (36-21-36) Violet eyes set off her
exquisite beauty; stormy relationship with Richard Burton; apparently not a fan
of casual dating, she was married eight times.
8. 1960’s – ANN MARGRET (35-23-35) Ended up being considered the
star of “Bye Bye Birdie” (an honor intended for veteran actress and
co-star, Janet Leigh); Swedish “sex kitten” with a wholesome appeal; acted and
had an affair with Elvis.
9. 1960’s – RAQUEL WELCH (37-22-35) Star of “One Million
Years B.C.”, which popularized the “fur bikini”.
10. 1960’s – SOPHIA LOREN (38-24-38) Smoldering Italian actress;
starred in “Two Women”; turned down Cary Grant to marry director, Carlo
Ponti, still sizzling in her seventies.
11. 1960’s – BRIDGET BARDOT (35-19-35) French, exotic, sexy.
American men adored her. (Check out that waistline ‚¬Â¦did these women wear
12. 1970’s – FARRAH FAWCETT (35-24-35) Star of “Charlie’s Angels”)
How many girls came of age with “Farrah haircuts”? How many boys came of
age with that famed
13. 1980’s – MADONNA (CICCONE) (34-23-33) Pop singer with a talent for
re-inventing herself often, each persona sexier than the next; popularized
14. 1990’s – SHARON STONE (36-25-35) Interrogation scene from “Basic
Instinct” – enough said.
15. 1990’s – PAM ANDERSON (36-22-34) Star of “Bay Watch”; hot
relationship with rocker, Tommy Lee; epitomized the California “beach babe
look” (or at least what men living outside California fantasize them to look
16. 2000’s – BEYONCE KNOWLES (34-26-40) Hip Hop star. The moves, the
body, the voice.
17. 2000’s – SCARLETT JOHANSSON (37-26-37) Starred in numerous Woody
Allen films. Voluptuous in a surprisingly old fashioned way.
18. 2000’s – HALLE BERRY (36-22-37) Starred as Catwoman in “Batman”
and the costume fit to perfection, emphasizing her great body and terrific
19. 2000’s – SALMA HAYAK (36-25-37) Gorgeous Mexican born actress;
“Frida”. Recognized for having a spectacular, non-enhanced
20. 2000’s – ANGELINA JOLIE (36-27-36) Known for her altruism, large
family, and husband, Brad Pitt; considered to be one of the sexiest woman of
her time; her bee-stung lips (emulated unsuccessfully by many women who don’t
own mirrors) alone would qualify her for this distinction.
I apologize to anyone who might feel this posting to have been a touch
politically incorrect but then I’m often a touch politically incorrect myself.
Have a great week. Vivian