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"?
"If the magazine were saying, 'These are all the beautiful women from every country in the world', that would be a bit different; that's what the Miss Universe pageant is all about," says Ruth C. White, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Social Work in the Department of Anthropology, Sociology, and Social Work at Seattle University. "But by calling out certain women's ethnicity and not others, what they're implying is that these women are not beautiful simply because they're beautiful; they're only attractive within the context of their own ethnicity. This is qualifying their beauty and dismisses the idea that beauty comes in many different forms."
Objectifying women in the media is an old song and dance. Studies have shown that women are more likely than men to get picked apart and seen as parts, rather than wholes. And it's no surprise that men's magazines sell so well in part because they feature women in racy, tantalizing photos. But reducing some women to tokens of their race (and curiously not others) others is a new low.
Full list of women here (some NSFW pics)