With all the Golden Globes hype surrounding Netflix's Marriage Story, a familiar argument has once again resurfaced on social media: Is Adam Driver hot?
Normally, I'm not a fan of these Twitter circlejerks dwelling on the attractiveness of a particular "not conventionally attractive" celebrity. To be perfectly honest, these conversations strike me as deeply hypocritical, typically propelled by the same woke Twitter personalities who promote body positivity while simultaneously delighting in picking apart an (almost always) male celebrity's physical features.
But one Tweet amidst the recent Adam Driver fervor stood out to me, and I think it's worth discussion.
The Tweet comes courtesy of sociology professor and acclaimed author Tressie McMillan Cottom, who writes: "Straight men don't want Adam Driver to be hot because he is hot for reasons they could also be hot but aren't because they're lazy. He is interesting and has a personality. It's easier to think hot is just genetic symmetry because that lets them off the hook."
Cottom follows up with two subsequent Tweets, stating: "Although he is also tall, which yeah," and "Also, it is rumored that he is *signal drop*."
So first things first, let's address the fact that Cottom's follow-up Tweets do undermine her initial point (at least to some extent). Adam Driver is 6'2", and the suggestion that a tall, well-built, and allegedly well-hung man is not hitting a lot of conventionally attractive benchmarks is, well, just outright false. Adam Driver has a lot of features that do play into conventionally attractive standards, and I imagine life is a good deal harder for men who don't have any of those features.
I still think Cottom's original point mostly stands on its own. Judging by our celebrities, Western culture has certainly seemed to prop up symmetry, along with sharp, defined facial features, as a prerequisite for beauty. So when someone like Adam Driver––who, regardless of whether or not he's deemed "hot," is certainly not "symmetrical"––becomes a prominent object of women's desires, men who never balked at women drooling over Brad Pitt suddenly dig in their heels. "How could Adam Driver possibly be hot?" they wonder. There's subtext: "And if Adam Driver is hot, how come I'm not?"
But as Cottom points out, in spite of popular myth, there's a difference between "symmetrical" and "hot." In truth, there is no universal beauty standard. Different pockets of different cultures lean towards different aesthetics at different times, but by and large, there's no magic combination of features that will make a person attractive to everyone. That also means that, statistically speaking, there are some people somewhere in the world who will find you attractive, regardless of whether or not your features adhere to any culturally prevalent beauty standards.
So if we know that we're stuck with the bodies we have (give or take a little self-care) and that someone out there will find our features attractive, then it follows that our best course of action––if we want to be "hot" like Adam Driver––is to maximize our personalities and our interests.
Do women find Adam Driver hot because he's their perfect representation of the male form? Possibly. Does him being a talented actor who seems to have an incredibly deep appreciation for his craft and a solid sense of humor add to his attractiveness? Almost definitely.
And while we might not all have the potential to become an award-winning actor like Adam Driver, we do all have the potential to become really good at something. Almost all of us are capable of practicing something meaningful to us, or honing our skills pertaining to a particular interest or inclination. We're all capable of improving ourselves by some measure, be it how much weight we can lift or how funny our jokes are or simply how confident we are in our own skin––and improving yourself in any way will likely help with the latter.
The reason so many straight men are afraid of Adam Driver being hot is because if Adam Driver is hot, that means most of them can be hot, too. But being hot like Adam Driver requires hard work. It means not looking at your face in the mirror, deciding you don't meet whatever arbitrary standards of attractiveness you've decided to hold yourself up against, and then giving up on being a decent person worthy of being deemed attractive. And perhaps there's nothing quite scarier than the realization that your own "hotness," at least to the degree to which you'd be hot to a specific subset of people, hinges on your own actions and efforts rather than luck or genetics.
Of course, I'm speaking generally here, and general terms are never a catch-all. I'm sure that there's someone out there who truly is so physically unappealing that literally nobody else in the world would be sexually attracted to them. But at the same time, I've browsed through enough incel forums (out of curiosity) to know that for the vast majority of people who self-identify as being the lowest of the low on the totem pole of physical beauty, their self-assessment is almost always incorrect. The vast majority of them are totally normal looking guys who, I imagine, suffer from some degree of unchecked body dysmorphia.
But I'm not just talking about incels. Almost any guy who secretly struggles with his own self-image and wonders what it would take to be viewed as hot can learn a thing or two from Adam Driver. Cliches exist for a reason, and your personality counts for a whole lot. With some hard work––and the hardest part might be admitting there's work to be done in the first place––you, too, can be hot like Adam Driver.