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Mama_Cakes's avatar

Who would you consider to be a "handsome woman" (think celebrities, athletes, politicians)

Asked by Mama_Cakes (9835points) August 10th, 2012

I remember my Mom saying that Martha Stewart was a “handsome woman”. What exactly does that mean (to you)?

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20 Answers

TexasDude's avatar

It makes me think of a woman who is classy and dignified, but not necessarily feminine or sexually attractive. I can’t really think of an example, but I’ve seen women who I’d classify under this descriptor.

zenvelo's avatar

Margaux Hemingway. In her late fifties she looks better than women 35 years younger.

A handsome woman has to be “of an age” in my opinion.

Bellatrix's avatar

To me (and this is just my take on it) it means elegant, refined, sophisticated. A handsome woman may still be very beautiful but probably not in a pretty, ultra feminine way. I also imagine them as being a little more statuesque.

Catherine Hepburn.
Isabel Rosselini.
Her mother, Ingrid Bergman.
Lauren Bacall.

I am trying to think of contemporary examples…

Kate Winslet
Brooke Shields
Mariska Hartigay
Helen Mirren

_Whitetigress's avatar

Chyna (joanie laurer)

rooeytoo's avatar

I think of Meryl Streep. To me it means not necessarily fitting into society’s definition of a movie star pretty or feminine woman, instead someone who is real and strong, classy and seemingly independent and self confident.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Whenever I read someone described as a handsome woman, it evokes images of a female that may not necessarily be older, but one who is strong, both physically and personality. They have a physical beauty which tends to be more plain and possibly slightly masculine.

Barbra Streisand, even in her younger days, always struck me as a handsome woman. First Lady Michelle Obama is another example.

@zenvelo Goodness…Is Margaux already in her late 50s? Surely she is still just a child.

chyna's avatar

Olympia Dukakus the actress. I think it means to be attractive but not a great beauty.

Kayak8's avatar

As for definition, I would have to agree with @Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard as there is a sense of refinement, grace, and poise that accompanies this moniker. A beautiful woman can be handsome, but a handsome woman isn’t always beautiful. There is a sense that one can almost see the “breeding” or upper-class insouciance of these women. When seeing such a woman, one might comment that “she appears to be of good stock.” Even with messy, wind-blown hair or wearing limited or no make-up, there is that certain “something” handsome women portray. For me, there is also the sense of “mental toughness” that goes along with “handsome.” It is almost like beauty and mental toughness got together and no amount of crap from the world can disturb her.

As for examples, I would also pick Kate Hepburn and would add Marlene Dietrich. Jackie Onassis dressed casually is a good example (she is beautiful all dressed up and photos exist to prove that, but there is a certain quality of how well she is put together that shows even doing casual activities).

As for little known women who display these characteristics, Dorothy Canfield Fisher is one example. I have to admit that I am struggling mightily to think of a contemporary example other than Martha Stewart and some of the others listed above . . .


Sunny2's avatar

Glenn Close comes to mind.

janbb's avatar

Amelia Earhardt

Katharine Hepburn


zenvelo's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Whoops! I meant Mariel Hemingway. Margaux died back in 1996.

I agree with Kate Winslet, a woman who will be beautiful late into life.

El_Cadejo's avatar

So weird, me and my fiance were just talking about the word handsome to describe women last night. I dont think I could ever refer to a woman as handsome. It just sounds like a male term to me.

Bellatrix's avatar

It is a very old fashioned term @uberbatman and has fallen into disuse. If you called a women handsome these days it is likely some would feel you were calling them masculine and not get that it is actually a compliment.

filmfann's avatar

@zenvelo Margaux Hemingway?
If you think she still looks good, I am assuming you have a shovel, or ground sonar.

edit: I see you corrected that later.

Mariel is 50 years old.

zenvelo's avatar

@filmfann I already caught my mistake….

Kardamom's avatar

Emma Thompson

Earthgirl's avatar

my top two picks-
Elsa Peretti
Anjelica Houston
To me, it’s a woman who has class, dignity and presence that adds up to a special sort of timeless beauty. Often it is strength of character that shows through and confidence. It’s not your typical kind of beauty and often it does have an element of masculinity such as strong and not delicate features. A woman could be considered beautiful in her youth and if she retains an overall attractiveness and has great carriage and presence is deemed “handsome” as she ages.

Earthgirl's avatar

I thought of another good one. Georgia O’Keefe

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