Image via Flickr.
Image via Flickr.
Jessica Danielle: I need to talk about trivial things like big boobs taking over sports sites.
Kate Perkins: Oh, good, because I was hoping to pick your brain on the subject of meme-model Kate Upton! Several .gifs-gone-wild ago, I had mentioned to you that, from the Straight White Female perspective, the thing about Kate Upton that is at least mildly appealing is the success she's had not because of but in spite of her size. I think that means, like, she has "curves," and to that extent "success" = people being okay with a white woman having some body. Or in any case, that would seem to have been her pre-meme brand of success. The anti-Kate Moss.
JD: Oh I have so many thoughts on that. But the media always picks a few women who are sort of “bigger” (but not really) to fetishize. Personally, I had no idea her size was abnormal in the beginning. I was surprised she could be a supermodel with a large chest. But what are curves anyway? a big chest? a donkey butt? or just someone who weighs more than Kate Moss.
KP: Any and/or all of the above! I think. Although her YouTube-scandal fame kind of suggests that people are NOT okay with white woman shakin' the body. Or at least, YouTube People, whoever they are.
JD: Oh, man! I saw that Cat Daddy video and just kept thinking WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME. I felt like a creep watching it.
KP: See, I tend to get that feeling more when I read BRO articles on the subject, as epitomized by articles like "Who Would Win in A Flirt-Off with Kate Upton, Harden or Durant?"
JD: That article...I just... Here's the thing: Kate Upton is a sort of teenage tabula rasa. Guys can assign her qualities without her real personality, thoughts, opinions getting in the way.
KP: Right, it seems like that’s what that Grantland article is doing when it claims that that Harden/Durant video shows that she's "a legitimately decent actress" or something, aka she's acting like a ditz who knows nothing about sports, when in fact she knows a lot about sports—she's a big Rangers and Knicks fan. The thing is that we like our supermodels dumb and if they aren't going to be that way they should get an academy award for acting like it.
(Also, LOL at how that video reveals Durant and Harden's "flirting styles"—as if it wasn't scripted.)
JD: So you think she's in on the "joke" then? I did like her acting in the video ... but if there was actual flirting going on there, it went way over my head.
KP: Oh, I definitely think she's in on the joke. She has a sense of humor about herself and she's funny in that video, no doubt. But there's a gross, kind of FRESH MEAT vibe to her fame, probably because of her association with the high bro-culture of the sports world elite, aka, the almighty beer-commercial brethren, aka hollering, fratty white dudes. Didn’t you tweet about that?
JD: Oh, yeah...my tweet about the white-bro meme. Basically, it goes back to the “blank slate” thing. The undercurrent in sports talk regarding women is "ZOMG I'd love to have a hot chick I can take around the guys who's down for anything," and under that undercurrent is not presenting a challenge. So when white dude says "dance for me Kate" and she's obviously wearing the tiniest bikini ever and can't dance a lick she's like "Okay!" and not "Well ... can I put some pants on first?"
I called this a White Male thing because white dudes run the sports blogosphere so they decide who's hot and who's not. As soon as I tweeted my comment, some white dudes immediately replied me assuming I was "hating" on Kate cause she's hot. I mean, there are lots of hot girls. I was just saying her rise has its reasons just like anyone else. Plus there's this crazy obsession with boobs and blond hair that black guys don't obsess about so much. They're more into length of hair and big bottoms. So ... Kate might not be quite as appealing to them.
KP: Right: in re. Upton’s particular brand of fame now, the reason has everything to do with bro-sports culture, but are there any other supermodels/single gorgeous celebrity ladies who have gotten the kind of attention that made Kate Upton famous in the sports world?
JD: That's a good question. *thinks* ... I keep thinking Jenn Sterger which totally doesn't count. But while I'm thinking about people who don't matter ... Sarah Phillips—white-bro meme!!
KP: Every aspiring model should fire their agents for not thinking of putting them in front and center in the arena of the bro gaze.
JD: Hah! Agree. But I think they have to date an athlete first. We can't forget how guys like what athletes like. The influence is there even if they won't admit it. So if Mark Sanchez, hottie of hotties who can have anyone he wants, likes Kate Upton she must be the way hot.
KP: You know, Shoals tweeted the other day that he kept confusing Kate Upton and Sarah Phillips, and that seems significant to me.
JD: "This hot chick likes what I like!” Phillips and Upton are beneficiaries of the thinking I just mentioned.
KP: Both epitomize THINK LIKE A MAN/ACT LIKE A LADY. Coed naked sports!
JD: The problems start when the guys who *made* the woman start feeling like they were played.This goes back to your point about how other models should be firing their publicists for not marketing them this way. lol!
KP: We'll only break the glass ceiling when James Franco and Ryan Gosling bring their cute white butts to a WNBA game. Related: Who is the female Terry Richardson? We need a hot female-gaze factory.
JD: Who is the male Terry Richardson? But yeah, I agree … women aren't running this game at all. Ed Reed is my Kate Upton. He really is. How do I make him a meme? I need more power. I also wonder what kind of folks white women or black women or any other combo that's not white and male would saturate the sports blogosphere with.
KP: Well, this has been productive. We now have a goal. MAKE ED REED THE NEW KATE UPTON! Thanks for yakking, JD!
JD: You're very welcome. It was fun. Now we just have to sit back and wait for people to say we're hating. That's how you know you made it.