Apocalypstick GQ's Sexiest Women List: Racist Or Just Stupid? Almie Rose

Hey, GQ, let’s sit down for a second. Let’s talk about your latest issue, the one that ranks women in terms of sexiness – which, let’s be real, is mostly based who has the best Photoshopped magazine covers and who has the best publicist. I’m not even going to get started on how insulting and stupid it is to take a woman as gorgeous as Beyoncé, your cover girl for this month, and Photoshop her into a completely different person.

Let’s get to the part where you make it clear that certain women of certain ethnicities should be singled out, by doing this:

“Hottest Indian Chick”: Freida Pinto
“Hottest Pregnant Sri Lankan”: M.I.A.
“Hottest Italian Chick”: Monica Belluci
“Hottest Chinese Chick”: Zhang Ziyi/Ziyi Zhang

They didn't even include hottest British royals of the 1800s, that's just insane.

They didn’t even include hottest British royals of the 1800s, that’s just insane.

Okay wait, actually, “Hottest Pregnant Sri Lankan” is pretty funny. And I get that you were being overly specific as a joke (like how you listed ”Hottest Blue Chicks”: Mystique and Smurfette) but oh man, you guys really messed up by making it clear that apparently Freida Pinto and Zhang Ziyi are sexy…for an Indian woman and a Chinese woman. Yes, that’s not what you said, but you didn’t have to. Nowhere on your list do you specify “Hottest White Woman” because that’s just super silly, right? And you have Halle Berry and Beyoncé on your list – why aren’t they “Hottest Biracial Woman” or “Hottest Black Woman”? Because that’s both insane and insensitive. Because you can imagine the fury over that. But who’s going to raise a fuss over “Hottest Chinese Chick”, right, GQ? And if you’re really going to go full throttle on this one, where’s “Hottest Jewish Chick”? This is just laziness. Go for some consistency!

And really, you guys (and by guys I don’t mean just men, I am aware that women also work for GQ), this list reads like something a bunch of middle school boys put together at recess and then stuffed in their trapper keeper inside their JanSport backpack before anyone saw it.

I really want to see an issue of GQ featuring the staff. Something like:

“Hottest Editor Who Thought This Was A Good Idea”
“Hottest Staff Writer Who Contributed To This Mess”
“Hottest Intern Who Should Really Be Paid”

Honestly, I can’t decide if what you did was offensive or just ridiculous, or somewhere in between. What does everyone else think?

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  1. I’ve observed that in the world the present day, video games are the latest phenomenon with kids of all ages. Occasionally it may be extremely hard to drag your kids away from the video games. If you want the best of both worlds, there are various educational video games for kids. Good post.

  2. The hipper-than-thou hide behind cosmopolitan irony to perpetuate sexism and racism.

  3. They also said hottest Italian chick, which you omitted from your selective. But then again I guess including that would undermine your overly-sensitive cries of racism. It’s true that minorities aren’t adequately represented, but guess what? Everybody likes Kate Upton.

  4. Quite often people use humor as a way to slip in a hateful jab and get away with it. But only if we let them. I can definitely see the humor that was intended but it is the negativity that sticks with me. Thankfully, there are folks who will call them on it because a funny ass is still an ass

  5. I had not heard about it before I read it here and I can’t believe we’re still there!!! :/
    Beauty is diverse in its essence, no need to create artificial, direspectful, racist categories while they are not needed!
    GQ categories give an idea of scale, level, as if some categories are superior to others. This is deeply intolerable!

  6. The comments are interesting to read. I’ve gained a lot of insight from reading everyone’s responses. Still, my gut response when I read the article from Aimee Rose was one of disgust for GQ. It just reminds me of the quiet current of racism that continues to flow unnoticed by most.

  7. Love this article and I completely agree with you. I think most people here saying you are overreacting are completely missing the point. White women aren’t singled out because they are white and we are supposed to just accept that as the norm of sexiness.
    This is like the history of US presidents. Let me explain. Up until Obama was elected every single president was a white male. Nobody ever made a fuss about their birth certificates and where exactly they were born? Why? because they were white, so no need to justify it. Obama is up for candidacy. Where is your birth certificate? Are u even from here?
    Point is a person of color is singled out just because of their lack of whiteness. Right away, people start to question their integrity just because they deviate from the norm WHITE. As if being a person of color somehow makes them less worthy of the title or as if being a person of color needs further explanation, whiles whites just are , period, end of story, no justification needed.

  8. Terrible

  9. I’ve never scrolled down to the comments before though I often enjoy reading articles posted to HelloGiggles. I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised by the depth and breadth of discussion as opposed to just props or disses. Although I don’t prefer the segregation used in the article, I gained some insight reading the other views and have no ill feelings towards GQ’s decision to release the article that way. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Hi People who think that some people, including me, are overreacting.
    First of all, I just wanted to say before I go on, the things I am going to say are going to offend some of you, don’t let it because I’M NOT SAYING YOU’RE A WHITE SUPREMACIST, I’M DEFINITELY NOT CALLING YOU A RACIST. you may not think that you think the same way, but you might, still, i’m not calling you a racist. Heck, i bet the people who wrote the article and chose the pictures aren’t even racist. But just hear me out.

    WHen you think of a Chinese woman, what do you think of?
    What indicates that this woman is Chinese?

    Race has already been constructed, and there is no way we can de-construct it, so we just have to make do with what messed up systems are already created, we can’t all become “color blind”, unless color finally disappears and we all look the same. you can say to an Asian woman and say “no, I’m colorblind, I don’t see you as an Asian.” but you won’t really go up to a white guy and say “oh no, I don’t see you as a white guy” that’s not “normal”. Anyways ..

    “Non-whites” are always categorized with many different names and titles, and Whites have always been JUST WHITE. it’s always just White for European Immigrants but for non-white immigrants it’s a whole different story, too many different categories e.g. slaves, free colored, Indian, Japanese, Hindu, Chinese, Eskimo, Mulatto, Octoroon. It’s historical, these categories of race were created to demote other races and keep Whites at the top, and so many things have been done to keep non-whites apart from “becoming White” / “becoming American”.

    I saw the original article, Here’s the link if you want to see it http://www.gq.com/women/photos/201302/sexiest-women-21st-century-gq-february-2013#slide=1

    Why is it racist? it might not be racist in the fact that it doesn’t bash on Chinese people, but come on, it definitely is bias. Why are their race/ethnicities/nationalities blatantly pointed out? everyone knows what a chinese woman looks like, if you look at her, you’d know she was Chinese or of some Asian descent. All the others are just their names. AND why can’t get a picture of her just as she is? WHY does it have to be a picture of her fitting the exotic idea of Chinese women, of all pictures, why that one.? –to show that Chinese are different, not the same as the other White women.

    Do I sound like I’m overreacting? When pictures of Asians / Asian Americans are constantly flashed at us (the public) making us look either like the extreme foreigner, or the nerd, or THAT one role that does not fit into American society. Our differences are ALWAYS being pointed out, and when we’ve finally had enough, the 1 picture out of a billion others, you say we’re ‘overreacting’. OK.
    Try living in a world we’re you’re constantly being told that you don’t belong through messages like these .. you’d “overreact” too.

  11. I find it really insulting how media and society define beauty in both race and in women. And the really sad part is many people, especially teenagers, look up to the media and believe in it. If you wouldn’t have written about this GQ incident, I really would have not known about it. Thanks for speaking up about it!

  12. Can we have a list that puts really beautiful people with god manner in it and it should let the whole world decide who should be in it and who should win.. Ms Universe did a very good job because anyone can win, not just white or hispanic.. No offense, I’m an asian, ya’all!

  13. seriously..and this is small, but whenever i see women being referred to as “chicks”, I can’t help but roll my eyes and skip the rest of the article..

  14. seriously…and this is small, but whenever i see women being referred to as “chicks”, I literally cannot stop myself from rolling my eyes and passing over the article..

  15. Fair enough. Now, lets dish out a sexiest men’s list (based off ethnicity, of course). To even the playing field.. Wouldn’t want to discriminate on the level of objectification depicted towards these individ… I mean, icons..

    Our culture values beauty… but, especially feminine beauty. This within itself causes a lot of negative outcomes. It leads to stereotyping (anyone who’s ever heard or shared a dumb blonde joke can attest to that), discrimination (we live in a patriarchal society and hold firm to that belief system.. which serves to take a women’s power away.. by doing little things to keep them from climbing the social ladder.. because it limits a woman’s worth to their outward appearance), and then there’s the other negative implications that lists like these have on a person’s self-worth.. yikes! after-all, these lists are feeding a person the message that they’re inadequate unless they look a certain way. That’s just the type of confident booster I want to receive to jump-start my day!

    Really, this article just took an already ‘sensitive’ topic, and just made it about ten times worse by adding the factor of racism to it.

    One word describes it all: Rude.

  16. I’ve noticed something. A lot of the anger going on here is directed at me, like “YOU’RE stupid for finding this offensive” when my question was, “Do you think this is offensive or just stupid?” I think the fact that those who say there’s no problem with this GQ list yet get so personally heated/angry with ME, says a lot. Just pointing it out! Loving the discussion, everyone!

    Apocalypstick | 1/23/2013 02:01 pm
    • In case it wasn’t already super obvious, that wasn’t a reply. I was about to write, “Agreed, sheesh! She voiced her opinion and is asking for yours. About the ISSUE, not her!”. But then I realized it wouldn’t be fair for me to write that without first writing a post on the issue. So that’s my really interesting story.

    • Well first of all, to the non-minorities commenting that it isn’t racist – really? Don’t get me wrong, it’s your opinion and that’s cool! But you definitely don’t have the same perspective as minorities on this subject.

      That being said – I actually don’t think those “titles” are racist. I think they’re just descriptive. No, they shouldn’t have separated them at all, but to be fair, this is GQ USA. There are GQs for other countries as well and I’m assuming if they were to make a list, they’d include more women from their respective cultures, as well.

      HOWEVER, I do think the whole ranking thing is stupid. And that’s actually the reason I’m NOT offended by it. Because you can’t take these lists seriously. There is no set criteria for attractiveness! One year it’ll be Sofia Vergara as hottest woman, and the next year she’ll be #3 and Mila Kunis will be #1. Did they “switch” attractiveness? Of course not, it’s totally arbitrary and this is how magazines make money. Magazines will keep publishing these articles, there isn’t much we can do about that. So we just have to spread the word that it’s okay not to take them seriously – spread the word that these lists are stupid and meaningless (by writing articles like this one!)

      Basically, I take comfort in knowing that it’s just a shallow way for silly magazines to sell more copies and keep their readers coming back year after year (because these lists are usually annual), and hope that other women can appreciate the arbitrariness of it all and not feel bad if they don’t look like #1.

  17. why are you reading GQ? problem solved.

    • I’m not! It’s an issue (haha magazine pun) that caught a lot of peoples’ attention, regardless of whether or not they read the publication, and I think that’s worth discussing.

      Apocalypstick | 1/23/2013 02:01 pm
  18. For someone who hasn’t read the article, this nonsensical rant disguised as an article comes across as whiny. You give us no sense of context but I believe I was able to piece together your problem.

    I think you’re being hyper sensitive. They have all sorts of 25 sexiest women in rock, sexiest women in whatever.

    If they were writing the article for men, men tend to categorize things. Because specific things about specific women make them sexy, but not inherently sexier than another woman. It’s not a, “Well, this person is sexy for someone who is Chinese…” It’s a “This person is sexy and they’re born in, or from this country.” … I’m trying to figure out a way to describe it… think of it like a film. What’s a better movie: 300, LOTR, Starwars, Les Mis, or the Avengers? They are all good movies, and all amazing, but they’re of different genres, so we separate them. Action, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Musical, and Super Hero. That doesn’t denigrate any of the movies, or say that one is better than the other, it says that every movie is unique.

    Lastly, the fact you’re reading GQ and actually care about what they write enough to write an article about it is quite silly. Really protest them by not reading their magazine anymore.

    • Classic mansplaining with a soupçon of stupid gender stereotyping. Remarkably stupid.

    • Ok, Mr. Funkhouser, where did the list segregate the white women into different ‘genres’ as you put it? Since men love to ‘categorize’, show me where they categorized the white women? I mean, I must be hypersensitive to notice that there were NO women of Asian descent in the rest of the list. As a woman of Asian descent, I find it personally affronting that GQ believes that the most beautiful women of the world are either white or (fair)black with Caucasian features, while the Asian women get a “special” category for being Asian. And I don’t buy the argument that GQ’s readers are only white men, thus the bias. As this country becomes more diverse, and GQ’s readership becomes more diverse, they need to wake the ‘ell up and realize that beauty comes in MANY flavors. Interracial marriages are on the rise. What is shamefully happening, is that once again, media continues to perpetuate the WRONG belief that whiteness is the epitome of beauty. I call bull***t.

    • I don’t see me coming off as whiny anywhere in there. I think it’s what each person brings into it, Mr. Christiaan Funkhouser. All I did was ask questions and then ask you awesome readers what you think. Sir.

      Apocalypstick | 1/23/2013 02:01 pm
  19. Also “over sensitive” is a bit harsh. As a social movements teacher once told me, we pick and choose the things we fight for or get upset about. If some women choose to get offended and fight for lists such as these to be less racist and more equal and impartial in the terminology they use then that’s their right. Whereas some other women may get offended that lists such as these even exist, or some women may be more offended by things not even related to this article or conversation. So while people who aren’t offended by this can say “why so serious” don’t discredit other people’s clear concern and frustration over ideas that matter to them.

  20. I really disagree with the statement “The only way to beat racism is to stop talking about it” because racist people won’t stop talking about their racist ideals and beliefs, as well as if we stop talking about racism that implies that our society is color blind which it truly is not. So no the way to beat racism is through education, which you can’t do by not talking about it.

    As for the Olympics argument, it is very different because the “white women” are still classified by their nationality/ethnicity/ whatever you want to call it. British women are british, Swedes are Swedes. The difference here as she pointed out, is no one said “the hottest caucasian woman is…” or “the hottest white chick is…” so if you aren’t going to call out all the women by their nationalities/ races. then don’t do it for some.

    And as far as the “chinese is a nationality not a race” I feel that is a very western/ American statement. In America we identify people through their race and not necessarily through their nation of origin because if you were born here in America (no matter where your great great grandparents are from) you are American, we are all American. So rather, I am bi-racial, my mom is white, my dad is black, etc. etc. those are races. However Asia is a whole ass continent, so we determine and classify people based on their country, or even part of the country they are from. China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, etc. Which would be the same as saying black or white.

    I hope this doesn’t offend anyone or upset anyone, I just feel like arguing about race v.s. nationality is kind of not the point to the question she posed, rather is segregating certain women based on race or nationality, v.s other women not based on those factors just.