Women React to Sexy Cindy Crawford

Cindy Crawford on Rolling Stone cover

Cindy Crawford on Rolling Stone cover

Want to know how women and men experience skin-revealing images of men and women?

I recently asked my students to write down what thoughts came to mind when looking at nearly-nude pictures of Cindy Crawford and Sly Stallone.

My participants included 35 straight women and 19 straight men, from three different women’s studies classes that met during the 2014-15 school year. I surveyed them on the second or third day of class.

First, let’s look at how women experienced Cindy.

Women feel appreciative, sort of

Most women — 70% — thought Cindy looked good, really good, pretty, beautiful, attractive, sexy or hot.

A few felt she looked confident.

One mused, “I like the picture because she’s cute.”

Another added, “Love her!”

Women feel “nothing”

About 1/5 of the women said they felt “nothing.” Like these two:

I’m just used to it.

It’s nothing new

So they barely noticed.

Women feel animosity

Even though 70% thought she looked attractive, there was plenty of antagonism toward her, too.

A few (1 out of 7) said the image made them feel “uncomfortable.”

Others used words like, “exploitative,” “objectifying,” “over-sexualized” and “F-ING ANNOYING” to describe what they saw.

About one-third felt she was overexposed and needed more clothes, like this woman:

I’m tired of seeing nearly nude women.

Another added,

I feel exposed even though it’s not me.

Overall, women felt a mix of appreciation, animosity and “nothing” toward “nude” Cindy Crawford.

And how does she make women feel about their bodies? We’ll look at that next time.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on January 25, 2016, in body image, feminism, men, objectification, psychology, sex and sexuality, women and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 36 Comments.

  1. I asked my fourteen year old son to give me his first thoughts that popped into his head when he saw “sexy Cindy”. First thing I noticed, he was smiling and blushing. This told me he was going to restrain himself from saying what he really felt, he just said that he was pretty. When I looked at her, I thought, wow she looks the same as years ago, has aged very well. A few years ago I would have opinionated in a negative way due to the unhappiness I felt with myself. Maybe would have said, go figure another thin model. Today, I have learned to love the person I am and be comfortable in my own skin. Can you imagine being in her shoes? The pressure of looking extremely good all the time or risk falling of the spotlight must be very stressful. She makes a living on her image.

    • Yeah, I hear she is finally retiring, Saying that she no longer feels she has to prove herself. A lot of women feel like they’re looks are significantly involved in their worth. It can be tough whether you are Cindy Crawford or any other woman.

  2. Your blog is amazing! Check out mine if possi. :’)

  3. As a straight woman, I one-hindered percent agree with everything the women in the in class survey experienced while viewing a photo of a nearly nude Cindy Crawford. 70% said they thought she looked good, or another adjective, 1/5 said they felt nothing because they were used to seeing women like her, 1/7 felt uncomfortable about her being close to naked, and about 1.3 say they felt like the nearly make women body was overexposed. Women are constantly shown totally naked in many magazines, whether they are geared to men or women. The style of the photo may be different, but we are in face exposed to multiple nearly undressed women a day. This type of exposure of a woman’s body has desensitized our youth, our men, and us women as well. We don’t think twice when we see a naked woman, as long as she isn’t too sexualized. But what is too sexualized? Isn’t the fact that we don’t feel much towards the naked figure enough? Women’s bodies are used to sell products and services. It is a shame and it has taught men and women to objectify women everywhere, whether they realize it or not.

  4. When I look at her picture, I think she’s beautiful, definitely sexy. She’s one of those models who didn’t have to take off her clothes to look the part. She has one of those faces that men desired and women envied. Her body type is exactly what society perceives as ideal: tall, thin, long legs, big round eyes just to name a few. I’m pretty sure she’s well aware of the public’s perception of her and had learned early on how to make a lot of money from it. I wonder what would happen if Rolling Stones magazine had decided to go with a fully clothe Cindy Crawford. I think their longevity in the business will be questionable since their target market are mostly men. Their marketing team has done their homework. Years of research has shown them that they could attract a larger number of male audience if their front cover shows a more provocative image. Apparently, Cindy Crawford is reported to have an IQ of 154, but that data is ignored because her outside appearance matters more to the media than her intellect.

  5. Thank you for your reply. You are very kind. 🙂

  6. Diamond Hawkins

    Looking at Cindy Crawford picture I feel that she does look beautiful, but I also do believe that in society girls are expected to look a certain way, that Instagram model, tall, skinny, slim thick young fit body. I feel that in today society if you don’t fit in that category you are over looked, and sometimes judged off of that. I feel that things are just getting worse, and worse, and society is getting out of hand on the way we look at things. When I looked at Cindy Crawford, the first thing that came into my head was really beautiful, stunning, and that she looked great, I really thought it was a great shot. I feel that in today society everything is all about competition, and a contest, for example if someone posts a picture of them, someone else will see that and be like let me add this to make it better, or let me take the same picture because I know i will look better in it. I feel that all women are equally beautiful, no matter what size you are, everyone can is beautiful, and everyone has there own beauty.

  7. Thank you for your kindness in taking time to reply. I read your links.

    In one of your link called ‘Must I Give Sex To Get Love?’ there is a story where a women said she was forced by a bisexual women who wanted to perform oral to her . Later in her story she talked about dating an elder lesbian who began sex with her on regular basis. Finally she understand that it was not love.

    In your reply to me you wrote women “need to feel an emotional connection in order to enjoy sex, It can feel strange to be physically open and vulnerable — without accompanying trust and connection”.

    Now I wonder, if it is the same or not same for lesbians and bi-women to have sex. I mean–

    1) Do lesbians need an emotional connection in order to enjoy sex?

    We all know Men are carnal and visual. They get get arousal very fast just by seeing ‘objectified parts of women’. Most men will be happy and willing to have sex as much as possible like those who meet prostitutes. Now –

    2) Are lesbians carnal and visual like men?
    3) Do they have any anime carving to feel and touch upon seeing ‘objectified parts of other women? –

    4) Do lesbian feel happy if any random strange sexy women force them to have sex or rape them?

    Once you told me, women are not aroused by penises and they have no interest in it at all. What about lesbians and bi-women regarding women’s genitals. Now–

    5) Do they aroused by vaginas?
    6) Do lesbians like to perform cunnilingus?

    Georgia, you know what, I always feel envy and worry by thinking that lesbians are enjoying more than hetero-women. Even though I am a Man, I do not see other handsome men as competitors or I never compare me with other men. Because I always know looks and body doesn’t matter for a man to win a girl’s mind. But I do feel threatened to see other sexy women and end up seeing them as rivals and competitors. I afraid.. afraid.. that one day my girl-friend might break up with me for any other women since they are ‘objectified’ and more beautiful to cause sexual arousal and satisfaction compared with me.. a man who can offer nothing but only flowers and gifts.

    • Who we all are is a mix of three things: Biology + social interactions + culture. All of this mixes uniquely in each individual.

      I’m not a total expert on lesbians. Here’s what I know about them. Usually they’re similar to straight women in preferring emotional connection. Interestingly, on average they have sex less often than straight or gay couples do. Partly because they are socialized as women, and women are 1) more sexually repressed and 2) not taught to initiate. Also, their emotional connections are sometimes so strong that big feel field They don’t even need sex anymore (since a lot of people use sex to create an emotional connection). Since there is nothing in our society that fetishizes vaginas, I doubt that they are visually aroused by them. I don’t know the answer to #6. I’m sure that at least some do. I have heard that lesbians are a bit more sexually satisfied them straight women. I’m guessing that that is partly because Women know what women want and because there is more likely to be a strong emotional connection. So if you want to have better sex with women, create more of an emotional connection and ask him for direction about what they enjoy. Also, the vast majority of women prefer having sex with men over women. So don’t worry so much about seeing lesbians as competition. There is pretty much nothing to worry about that way.

      • “2) not taught to initiate.”

        I find that interesting, since I wondered who initiates or takes charge, but I didn’t think there would be less sex because of it. Like for straight relationships women don’t because they maybe are less interested in sex and it’s the man’s role to do so. I think of that as far as approaching too. But I assumed that women don’t because men do. If men stopped initiating, women would.

        So I’m surprised by this because I felt in lesbian relationships, one woman takes the “male role” or takes charge, otherwise both would just sit back passively and do nothing. I assumed this to be as far as approaching, probably more based on natural personality. Some people are more aggressive and other’s not and some are more shy and reserved and don’t take chances while others do. So I would think lesbian women who are more of the take charge personality, extroverted, maybe A type to be the approachers in the lesbian dynamic, whereas, the more introverted, reserved shyer lesbian women, wait or handle things like how straight women do in the straight dynamic.

        “Also, their emotional connections are sometimes so strong that big feel field They don’t even need sex anymore (since a lot of people use sex to create an emotional connection).”

        That’s weird and doesn’t that say something about how non sexual and non visual and lustful in the pure physical, visual sense women can be? I mean yeah a lot of people use sex to create emotional connection or intimacy in a relationship. But there’s more to it. I mean well, atleast for men to go with the connection a lot of the desire for sex is also well, for pleasure and getting off and getting their partner off. I mean, men are just strong libido, women don’t know what gets them off sometimes because they don’t masturbate or figure things out. Whereas, most guys jerk off, because they are horny and it feels good. So there’s the pleasure reason and even though the fetish attractions wears off in a relationship, the sexual desire and wanting of it, will still be the lust of his gf’s or wifes body, because women’s bodies are still quite sexy to a man and seeing and touching is still a huge desire and turn on, even through the years, even if the fetish wanes and he can look at her naked body in a non sexual light and not be turned on, like say her changing infront of him or normal stuff like that.

      • Last time I saw a data on this heterosexual married couples had sex around once a week and lesbian couples had sex around once a month. That’s probably due to women’s socialization. Specifically, a combination of 1) sexual repression and 2) Women been taught not to initiate and 3) high levels of emotional closeness.

        With some lesbian couples one of them takes the “guy” role, but sometimes neither one does. But even when the woman takes a “guy” role she has still been socialized as a female, most likely, and that will have effects.

  8. Ever since a very young age, society tells little girls to be skinny and fit and to be beautiful. If you don’t match those characteristics, what are you doing? Its a difficult competition in regards to wanting to fit into society and be accepted but also to Create your own sense of self and belonging. Women look at pictures of models like Cindy Crawford and think that’s what I need to look like.

  9. have to admit to feeling slightly envious but that’s only because I’m still coming to terms with the scarring on my stomach and abdomen from surgery and I still don’t feel confident in letting the world see it!!!

  10. Hi Georgia, I just some personal experience of prostitutes, where they say..they hate the men who come as clients, they feel horrible when they touch them, they want to finish it fast since they hate their clients.. Why is like that? Is it due to low sex drive of women? Or those men don’t have any parts objectified to cause any arousal? I mean why women don’t enjoy sex as much men? They only want money. I wonder are those prostitutes asexual !!

    I always wonder..why prostitutes don’t enjoy sex like their clients.

  11. I’ve noticed from my own perspective that when I pass Victoria’s Secret posters or magazines with barely clothed celebrities I pass by it unfazed. That is only until I actually pay close attention to what is displayed which often happens while I’m scrolling through instagram or any social network. When my eyes are scanning through the details of the photo then I start to get a little bit self conscious of my own image, but this does not mean I have anything against her and her accomplishments. It made me realize even more how “normal” it is to see the exposed female body that it somewhat became less noticeable to me nowadays.

  12. If you look at society today, people are constantly criticizing women for the way that they dress and the way that they present themselves. I agree completely that women put down other women because it helps them boost their confidence and it’s some sort of inferiority complex. It’s sort of a pride issue, if people put down and hate on other people, then somehow it makes them feel better about themselves.

  13. I admire her very much as a career woman and for her intelligence and for her ability to parlay her brand into something that has lasted for so long. I have mixed feelings these days about careers that involve the sexiness of one’s body-then again there was a time when I would have gladly been her.

  14. I feel that in today’s society, we see more and more women becoming mored and more exposed through their body. I, for one, am comfortable with my own body and wouldn’t feel at all embarrassed or ashamed if I was to show up nude in a crowded room. Some students may say that Cindy is exploitive or being objectified because they believe that that’s what society expects of them. They’re stuck in the mindset that women should and only be seen as something as a given for all women. Some may say that she looks absolutely amazing because they see her body as an accomplishment in her part. Something like this is only an insecurity if you see it as something you cannot accomplish, regardless of how hard you work. Some may not even feel anything due to just the extreme amounts of nudity they see today.

    • And making people insecure about themselves is a prime marketing tactic. So create an impossible beauty ideal, for instance.

      I feel that all the reactions are understandable and legit.

  15. Perfect female bodies are likely to make other women insecure and can give rise to an inferiority complex…. same goes for men… 🙂

  16. Let me add kindly the following: 1) You have such powerful and impressive theme when you write 2) Very impressive always to read your post

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