Yeah, this is not the way you want to go GQ.
GQ just released their “The 100 Sexiest Women of the Millennium” issue featuring Beyonce on the cover as “Miss Millennium.” Flip through it and you’ll find the obvious nods to Jessica Simpson, Kim Kardashian, and Katie Holmes. But this year, the lad mag has included some ethnic specific categories that have some people raising their eyebrows. Examples:
• “Hottest Indian Chick”: Freida Pinto
• “Hottest Pregnant Sri Lankan”: M.I.A
• “Hottest Italian Chick”: Monica Belluci
• “Hottest Chinese Chick”: Zhang Ziyi (sometimes credited as Ziyi Zhang)
While there may not be anything inherently wrong with saying someone is a “Hot Chinese woman” the seemingly arbitrary racial call-outs have people squirming. For example, why did the magazine deem Beyonce “Miss Millennium” but not “Miss African-American Millennium?” Mila Kunis was included in the top three hottie picks but the magazine didn’t mention her Ukranian roots. And why was Kim Kardashian lauded for her performance in her 2007 sex tape but not labeled “Hottest Armenian Porn Star”?
I have always squirmed when I heard someone give a compliment that is embedded in their color or ethnicity. I even heard my son one day say, Denzel Washington is one of the best black actors out there. I corrected him. One of the best actors period. Don’t hold his compliment to just his color or ethnicity.
On the rankings of the women, and while not having a problem looking at the women and enjoying their beauty, I have never liked these lists of hottest, sexiest or most beautiful. I don’t think you can rank beauty since it is in the eye of the beholder anyway. And in our culture the standard of beauty and sexy will certainly be tilted a certain way leaving out lots of other women and men who have a different kind of beauty or sexiness. And by the way I do think Beyonce is beautiful and I am a fan. I just wonder if she would be in the running if she had a short afro and dark skin.
We can all agree there are lots of beautiful and handsome men and women, and even gawk at them in magazines and on TV. But yeah, adding a ranking by ethnicity takes a bad idea, that of ranking good looks (I always wonder who is judging and what their biases are), and makes it even worse.
Now let me also applaud GQ for one aspect though. Putting an African-American and mixed woman on the cover and labeling her “The Sexiest Woman of the Millennium” is at least an acknowledgement that other women besides just white women are worthy. As I said, unfortunately Beyonce fits the light skin and long straight hair model, but it is still nice to see a woman of color recognized for being beautiful.
Full article on the flap is here.