July 22, 2008

I write more imaginary letters

Posted in beauty culture, gender, hot lists, letters, representation, sexy at 12:00 pm by LB

Dear Maxim, Playboy, FHM, Stuff, any other female-objectifying, list-making website or mag, that either masquerades as “entertainment news” or [hetero, natch] “men’s interest”:

This is what a “hot 100” [sic] list looks like. As a ‘women we love’ list. And ‘in no particular order.’ And in relevant and humanizing apparel.

This is what it looks like to appreciate smart, talented, beautiful, and sexy women for real.




  1. Awesome list! Random question, whatever happened to “the REAL hot 100”?? Does anybody know?

  2. earlgreyrooibos said,

    That is an excellent list. It makes me want to subscribe to the magazine right now. must . . . watch . . . my . . . spending.

  3. lindabeth said,

    You know what, I don’t know what happened to it but I thought it was brilliant. Jessica at feministing was one of the founders of it, I believe. Maybe someone should contact her and find out…

  4. prometheustherebel said,

    Posing a question, how would you feel if these women were dressed in a lot less clothing? Let’s say bikinis. Would you still feel the same or would that enter FHM-esque territory?

  5. lindabeth said,

    To answer your hypothetical, I’d be more ambivalent. The selection of women is still no less than awesome, but the display would be troubling. I find the seeming imperative that in order for a woman to be deemed “hot” or “sexy,” she must be posed and “displayed” (quite literally, like a product) in a manner and attire that is sanctioned by patriarchal and heterosexual definitions of “sexy” to be nothing less than insulting. It makes these lists’ “we don’t think they’re hot just for their bodies” defense impossible to believe.

    Men’s magazines seem to refuse to feature any woman:

    1) whose body is not norm-conforming (or that can’t be made to look like that through wardrobe, makeup, and Photoshop)


    2) Who will not “pose” in little/and or revealing clothing, and in a passive display of their bodies (i.e. lying down on their back, lifting up skirt/shirt as high as possible, etc.)

    In other words, they’re only interested in women and their lives so long as they will be wanking material for them. Their claims to *just* be about appreciating beautiful, talented women to me are bunk. What I liked about this list is that beauty takes all forms-faces, bodies, personalities, quirks, smiles-and comes in all shapes and ages, AND that all these women are talented and that who they are and what they look like are part of each other. And that sexy doesn’t rely on how much clothing they are willing to take off or what poses they’re willing to be displayed.

  6. prometheustherebel said,

    I can’t really disagree with anything you’ve said here. As controversial as this may seem, I think for the sole purpose of breaking stereotypes of feminist-minded women, that it would be interesting to see more women who were perceived as more attractive to the mainstream with these sort of credentials and experiences. I’m not necessarily saying posing in bikinis and the like because there are definitely very sexy women in Hollywood who I haven’t seen in such photos. I think it might turn the ideas of femininity and attractiveness on their heads…?

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