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Sex symbol

Related: sex - symbol

Theda Bara in a publicity shot for A Fool There Was (1915) - Frank Powell [Amazon.com]

Key photo: Sophia Loren eyeing Jayne Mansfield's breasts (ca.1957/58), photo by Joe Shere.


A sex symbol is a famous person, male or female, who is found sexually attractive by the general audience. The term was first used circa 1911.

The movie industry played an important part in the rise of sex symbols. It disseminated images of beautiful people around the world, especially in the time of silent film, when there were no language barriers. One of the first sex symbols was the Danish actress Asta Nielsen in the 1910s and 1920s.

Although movies are still important, sex symbols nowadays are often created by television in general and soap operas and music videos in particular. Many "supermodels" of the fashion industry are also regarded as sex symbols.

Sometimes sex symbols can even be people who are not physically attractive, but possess other qualities that make them desirable. For example, powerful political figures such as Henry Kissinger or Donald Rumsfeld have often been admired as sex symbols. As Kissinger himself once put it, sometimes "power is the greatest aphrodisiac." Even Adolf Hitler was regarded as a sex symbol in Nazi Germany. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_symbol [Jun 2004]

Some female sex symbols

--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_symbol [Jun 2004]

Theda Bara [...]

[s]creen vamp Theda Bara explained, "The reason good women like me…is that there is a little bit of vampire instinct in every woman." Late twentieth-century feminists argued over whether the notion of the femme fatale was implicitly misogynist. Essayist Camille Paglia ventured: "The femme fatale …wields the sexual power that feminism cannot explain and has tried to destroy….Through stars like [Elizabeth] Taylor, we sense the world-disordering impact of legendary women like…Helen of Troy and Salome." --http://www.kewatt.com/Salome.html

Some male sex symbols:

--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_symbol [Jun 2004]

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