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

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?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=714575432 Sujana Regmi

    I concur absolutely!! By segregating categories such as hottest Indian chick or Chinese chick, I honestly found it offensive not only because I am a foreign woman myself but just the type of language that has been used in such obscene category. I would rather prefer 100 most beautiful women where ladies from all over the world would be included.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1575000076 Colleen Marie Siler

    I read the list and it kinda made me feel gross.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553420707 Taylor-Marie Medway

    FINALLY somebody agrees that the list really sounds like something a middle school boy wrote. I would like to see the REAL women who have been topping “sexiest” lists for years (and for far more than their looks) make a comeback…Kate Winslet, Naomi Watts, Winona Ryder…the least they could have done is rename the article “Top 100 Starlets Whom Probably Had to Undress More, Get Involved in a Scandal, or Have Their Natural and BEAUTIFUL Features Photoshopped to Get Into This Issue and Thus Further Their Careers and Fame”.

  • Starla

    Yeeeah, this is ridiculous, but are we really surprised? Most men (note, I did not say ALL men here)pretty much stop maturing at about 12.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=557049278 Shawn Newman

      stupid comments like this are far more offensive than any magazine list.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=19205836 Nathan Weston

    Actually, Indian and Chinese are both nationalities, not ethnicities – same as Italian and Sri Lankan. Would you be equally offended if they worded it as, “Hottest Female Born in China?”

    Yet your suggestions, “Why not ____” are ethnicities or races – not nationalities. Learn the difference.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=554216593 Brittney Marie White

      Indian, Chinese, and Italian are all ethnicities inasmuch that they are subdivisions of race. Nationality is mutually exclusive of both terms, as someone of “foreign blood” in terms of location of birth can be nationalized as a citizen of another country.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=19205836 Nathan Weston

        Great, so show me in the original GQ article where they differentiate Indian, Chinese, and Italian as referring to the racial sub-division of ethnicity and NOT as a nationality. Because if they’re referring to the nationalities, the list isn’t racist (is it stupid? That’s still up for discussion.). But if they meant, Hottest Asian Chick who Happens to be Born in China – then yeah, that’s racism.

        All I’m saying is people are taking offense and crying racism when there’s no evidence to support it. (I can’t believe I’m standing up for GQ.)

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=608497449 Alanine Rhenylalanine

          How come there were no women of Asian descent in the rest of the list. I find it offensive that the most beautiful women of the world are either white or black with Caucasian features, while the Asian women get a “special” category for being Asian.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=557049278 Shawn Newman

            Maybe because readers of the magazine are mostly white. Races are attracted to each other. It’s natural and the indignation about it is laughable.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1394054253 Agnes Tjioe

      Well, it is still considered as ethnicities.
      For example, I was born in Indonesia and my nationality in Indonesian but my ethnicities will always be Chinese, because I have Chinese heritage and blood.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=19205836 Nathan Weston

        That may be true – but Freida Pinto was born in India, Monica Belluci was born in Italy, and Zhang Ziyi was born in China. So Indian, Italian, and Chinese are their nationalities (respectively).

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=722795503 Shinny G. Vang

      the point is not about ethnicity and nationality blah blah blah, your comment/argument is just distracting from the real point …. What is really frustrating and bothersome is that American History has always found ways to categorize “non-whites”. it’s always just White for White Europeans but for non-whites it’s a whole different story, too many different categories e.g. slaves, free colored, Indian, Japanese, Hindu, Chinese, Eskimo, Mulatto, Octoroon. It’s a whole construct of keeping people of color apart from White people, why? White supremacy. LET ME CLARIFY THAT I’M NOT SAYING YOU’RE A WHITE SUPREMACIST. I just want you to understand the frustrations from a Person of Color.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004718680569 Ludmirer Moyd

    They must have been strung out on some good shit to actually believe that anything they wrote was remotely witty and not at all offensive. Or, I wonder whether they are attempting to “counter racism” by trying to include women of all ethnicities but in the end, they are only doing it with more racism! (ex: “I’m not racist. I have 2 black friends”) I hate lists like this or even the talk of race because why does it matter– we are all women of the world , right? Anyways– I am pretty sure a lot of people do know this article is offensive and horrible on all levels, but I am actually genuinely curious of readers who find it otherwise, because that is an article that I have not yet come across. :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=776595152 Nimra Khan

    What’s worse is that if they were going to specifically create another list for the Indian, Sri Lankan and Chinese, they should have at least done their research and not just put the first Indian/Chinese name which they could think off. They probably sat and thought, Oh what about that Indian chick in Slum dog millionaire, she was oryt…just put her down as the Hot Indian chick. If you’re going to single out people- at least do it properly. Idiots.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001230645041 Christopher Watson

    I think you’re all being ridiculous. When the Olympics categorizes woman into the fastest Italian, French, Brazilian woman, or the highest, longest jumping British, Swedish whatever woman… Or the categorizing of woman’s football, volleyball etc.., teams into nations of origin. I don’t see anybody complaining, I mean, why would you? There’s nothing wrong with it, right? It’s a distinction between groups, and as humans we like to put things into groups, each other included. Now, deciding whether this has negative effects or not, depends on the individual. You can see it as; a woman, or anybody for that matter, representing their nation (group) as being the best of that group in what ever the competition is (Olympics, leagues, cups.., beauty contests, magazine polls) or you can see it as promoting segregation with racist intent, like maybe this article does. But if you are to do the later, then you better know the meaning of racism, as getting it wrong puts you in the box of “Racist or Stupid?”.

    Racism: Is usually defined as views, practices and actions reflecting the belief that humanity is divided into distinct biological groups called races and that members of a certain race share certain attributes which make that group as a whole less desirable, more desirable, inferior or superior.

    Did GQ say one race is less or more desirable, inferior or superior? Or was it just a categorized list with your own interpretation?

    A great quote comes to mind, which applies incredibly well to situations were racism is imposed and not found: “The way to beat racism, is to stop talking about it” – Morgan Freeman.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000059685158 Ashlee Ortiz

      That’s what I was trying to say. You just said it better. haha

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000059685158 Ashlee Ortiz

    I think people are over-sensitive. Photoshop and such may come off as offensive in the fact that it gives an unrealistic standard of beauty and nationality, but to call a chinese woman “chinese” etc., in my opinion, is taking to the “I’m a little overly touchy” side of things. While women of all nationalities are equal and beautiful, we can’t really condemn them for segregating them in such ways. I mean.. this is how they were taught to think. Be constructive, not rude. They didn’t do it on purpose.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=5122003 Ben Ziajka

    Nathan makes a good point; they’re nationalities, singling them out even makes sense in the context because they would be less well known here.

    As for the whole idea of such lists in the first place, well at least they have men and women lists. Still, it is kind of a one way problem: the lists and the cover photo issue. That’s a huge issue though, that goes way beyond GQ and includes pageants, models, etc, & their free choice to participate versus the consequences on themselves and society.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=622991639 Kristine Rezija Sulzanoka

    I never really paid too much attention to those “top hottest female” listing, but this really makes a lot of sense! Who are these people who make these tops and what are the criteria they follow? It’s just silly…. But then again – boys will always be boys! 😉

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1284130117 Seth McGathey

    I think the fact that people are offended by this means you are the one with the problem, not GQ. You are reading way to much into this. If they say the person is the hottest then they are giving them a complement so stop trying to find insults where there are none. If someone called me the hottest man, white man, Mexican man (I’m 25% Mexican), or hottest 5 foot 11 man I would not be offended by those or any others like it. Now if they had said, kind of hot for an Asian chick. Then yea get offended. But they are complementing a woman on her beauty and letting you know where she comes from.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=75401269 Christiaan Funkhouser

      Completely agree.

    • Apocalypstick

      Okay Seth, totally get your point, but your experience does not equal everyone else’s, especially considering that as a man, you’ve never been reduced to being labeled by how awesome your tits are (or aren’t) and how hot you are (or aren’t). I think a lot of women are reaching a point where we’re thinking, you guys know we offer a lot more than being hot for a/an ______ woman, right?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=503049627 Stephanie Hall

    I think as a society we 1) Label WAY too much. 2) Complain too much 3) Have too many lists such as THIS. We’re slowing getting better in terms of body image but we still have a long way to go. I’d like to see the EXACT lists like this for MEN. Seriously. Maybe they’d start to feel what woman go through.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1450440035 Katie Breen

    Ok, here’s the thing, this article is just as bad as the original list. All you’re doing is pointing out that maybe’s it’s racist, but then you go and change your mind and decide they’re just being funny, and that makes it okay. Then, instead of challenging them that they’re being sexist/racist or whatever, you give ideas of some other hottest women list that they should make instead. WHAT?! I find it both ridiculous and sad that this is what so many women do without even realizing it. The list is racist and stupid. Any such list would be. A list of simply “hottest women” would be so much more okay, because while it’s super annoying that “boys will be boys”, they will be until our messed up society goes through some much needed paradigm shift and will recognize women for more than just their perfect boobs and hair.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=75401269 Christiaan Funkhouser

      Beautiful point.

    • Apocalypstick

      “Then, instead of challenging them that they’re being sexist/racist or whatever, you give ideas of some other hottest women list that they should make instead.” Oh my Gosh, no, no I didn’t. I was being satirical. If you’re referring to when I suggested “hottest magazine editor” etc, that was completely farcical, especially considering that most of their staff are male (I think. Could be wrong.) I don’t mean to insult you, but did you read this article carefully?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1450440035 Katie Breen

        I did read it. I get that there are jokes. It’s the humor that is apparently supposed to come from them that I guess I don’t understand. You’re not making any kind of solid case that the list thing is sexist or racist or anything at all, you’re just saying yeah, maybe it is, but oh well. Let’s make more jokes and not actually address the underlying problem.
        Sorry. I know it’s not supposed to be like the most serious article ever, it’s just things like this frustrate me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004329906316 Rachel Ariane

    I might find GQ’s list stupid, but at the same time, I don’t find anything offensive about it. However, I can’t say that people should not be offended by the list as they see it differently than I do.

    • Apocalypstick

      ” However, I can’t say that people should not be offended by the list as they see it differently than I do.” I agree with this completely!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000544756617 Brianna Willis

    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.

    • Apocalypstick

      Yes! Thank you for explaining your thoughts and opinions so clearly. I hope everyone reads your comment. You bring up some very great points. Thanks for commenting!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000544756617 Brianna Willis

        Thanks so much!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002664469388 Ashley ‘Chelle Christian

      I was just going to say…but you beat me! LOVE!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000544756617 Brianna Willis

        Thanks :]

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000544756617 Brianna Willis

    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.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=75401269 Christiaan Funkhouser

    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.

    • Apocalypstick

      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.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=608497449 Alanine Rhenylalanine

      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.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003355158835 Bethany Spencer

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

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003854584313 Pamela Kellman

    why are you reading GQ? problem solved.

    • Apocalypstick

      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

    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!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=503450585 Claire Chan

      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.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=503450585 Claire Chan

      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.

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