Magazines geared toward men have, for years, rated women. They have picked apart our bodies like we were up for auction. And that right there is the very problem! We’re not for sale. We’re not for your viewing pleasure. If you’re going to tell me, “but it’s normal for straight guys to check out women,” I’ll say, “yes it is. It is also normal for women to be respected.” What’s not normal is the constant making women worthless.
How? By reducing us to a number, to the “hottest,” to body parts rather than the whole of us, to seeing us as drool-worthy or not. Until women are seen as whole beings not to be rated, sold, bought, picked apart, and for the masturbating pleasure of men, violence against women won’t stop. Until women are seen as equal participating members of the society, which means not being treated in objectifying and exoticizing ways, we will not be out of danger.
I guess you could say, “well, what did you expect?” But, I don’t want to let them off that easy.
When you say:
- “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)
first, you are taking away women’s bodies from women. Women must own their own bodies. It’s things like this that make it easier to justify everyone discussing laws that ultimately determine whether women get a say so about what we want for our bodies (rape, right to legal safe abortion, what we wear). But you are also doing something else grossly wrong! Setting a racist tone for beauty and ugliness. Throughout history, women have been acclaimed for their beauty and men for their accomplishments.
Traditionally women of color have been judged based on white standards of beauty, so the worth of black women, for example, would be based on how her features are similar to those of white women, like lighter skin. When GQ says “Hottest Chinese Chick” they are defining women by their race/ethnic identifiable traits. This not only defines what is “beautiful” for the society, but also what is ugly. When we think of women, hate is often based on what is ugly. So, it can be used as an excuse. She’s ugly, she deserves this treatment. Or even unconsciously, she’s ugly, I’m not going to give her this job. This also contributes to racism overall, which women we believe are worthy of certain things, treatment, rights.
Making women exotic, exoticizing them, also keeps women of color as the “other,” leaving them even more unequal and in danger.
It is absolutely disgusting that “gentlemen’s” magazines in this day and age support a ranking of women as if they were to be sold at auction like slaves. It is absolutely disgusting that they categorize women as beautiful or ugly according to race and ethnicity. This promotes: misogyny, the belief that women are less than and not equal, violence against women, objectification, the exoticization of women, and racism.
When are “gentlemen” going to start cleaning up their act? It’s one thing to be a guy attracted to women. It’s another thing to be a racist misogynist standing for things that promote violence against women. We’re in a new year! This may not seem like a big deal, but it is. It’s one more thing in a list of long things that all add up. Let’s change this! Let’s make change. Stop the hate.