Afterellen.com’s Hot 100


AfterEllen.com released the results of their annual Hot 100 campaign a few weeks ago. About the Hot 100:

We introduced the first annual Hot 100 in 2007 to give lesbian/bi women a way to express what, or who, we find attractive, since our voice is largely missing from mainstream, heterocentric pop culture.

I think it’s important to recognize women not for what they look like, but what they’ve achieved. In that vein, campaigns like The REAL Hot 100 (co-founded by our own Jessica Valenti) try to do just that. That being said, I also think it’s important to promote alternative views of beauty outside of a heteronormative context.
You can check out the winners here. Maybe not to anyone’s surprise, Portia de Rossi came out on top this year, followed by Jennifer Beals. Rachel Maddow was number six. Over 150,000 women voted in the overall competition. They also included a specific breakout list for Women of Color this year (Michelle Obama made it!) as well as Out Women and Women over 40. These are meant to highlight the women in these categories who got a lot of votes, but didn’t all make the overall Top 100, due to the lack of diversity in the mainstream media and the voting population.
Sinclair Sexsmith, author of Sugarbutch Chronicles, was disappointed by the lack of butch women on the list. In response he’s asking for submissions for his own version: Top Butches of 2009. Details here.

Join the Conversation

  • Tara K.

    Looking at the list, I first asked, “How are these results different from any male hetero list?” Not only are there more women of color, but I would argue that there’s a more diversified aesthetic represented. The women don’t largely look as if they’ve had cosmetic surgery (though they may have, I don’t pretend to know) and their attractive features vary more widely. Also, the WOC aren’t attractive for representing stereotypical features of their ethnicity, i.e. exceptionally curvy booties or extra plump lips. I say this because I think WOC on lists like Maxim tend to represent exotic or fetishized racial and ethnic expectations.

  • dormouse

    I’m of the opinion that ranking and judging women based on “hotness” is inherently un-feminist. The fact that this list was compiled by women does not forgive the “come-and-get-me-I’m-sexually-available” pictures used for many of the celebrities and the ultimate idea that anyone has the right to publish their judgments on anyone’s appearance. I felt like the older women and women on of color on this list were tokenized, as were less feminine lesbians like Ellen Degeneres. There were no heavy women, women sans make-up, or, as your post points out already, butch women.
    Why is it bad for men to leer at Jessica Alba and Lindsay Lohan as sex objects, but perfectly okay for women to do it?

  • Naught

    I’m not really sure it’s more diverse. It may be a bit different than a hetero top 100, but I think it’s only that more lesbians and people who played lesbians on TV are on it. Almost all of the women are conventionally attractive and the few I saw who aren’t are older women who were conventionally attractive when they were younger.

  • MsM

    Though there’s at least one similarity: that picture of Portia is airbrushed to hell and back.

  • Honeybee

    The simple answer is that it’s human nature.
    I also think it’s important to recognize that this list isn’t evaluating a woman’s worth, only her physical attractiveness. So whoever didn’t get #1 or didn’t make the list, no one is saying they are worthless or lesser.
    Back to your point, I’m not sure how I feel. I used to think like you but these boards have made me go the other way. Because overwhelmingly the view I see from feminists is that we should be allowed to be attracted to whoever we want (ie: can’t force someone to be attracted to someone they are not) and that it is perfectly valid to only be attracted to and date people who you find attractive and/or who meet certain standards. This point comes across in MANY many threads. A good recent example was a prof foxy post about an overweight woman who was only attracted to skinny guys and overwhelmingly people told her it was perfectly valid for her to set whatever attractiveness level she wants for potential partners and that she shouldn’t have to compromise on looks when looking for a partner. Pretty much everyone thought it was perfectly fair for her to judge partners based on looks. And I don’t neccessarily disagree. But if we grant this position then I don’t see how can disallow lists like this. We can’t allow people to judge people for their looks in their personal lives but then not allow anyone to publish the results of this. I don’t think we can at least. :)
    This is a tough topic though, especially for feminists. I’m interested in other people’s thoughts.

  • MsM

    I’m torn. Apart from the fact that I think this particular list has more to it than physical appearance only, I’m not sure why I feel that women celebrating women’s hotness like this is different from your average Maxim competition. The only rational reason I can come up with is that the context is different from the usual societal objectification of women. But I’m not sure if I’ll be able to put that into a reasonable argument or if it simply makes me a hypocrite.

  • more.joy.less.shame

    Just a small corrective note, Michelle Obama made the main list, not the WOC list

  • Erikasf

    I think Jessica’s idea of the Real Hot 100 is fantastic, but the web site did not actually announce the winners. Who are they?
    That said, as a heterosexual woman who thoroughly enjoyed AfterElton.com’s Hot 100, I have to ask “Is pro-sex feminism dead?”. I think that, for heterosexual women, the answer is unfortunately yes. I see great lesbians having fun drooling over each other, like here http://www.tinynibbles.com/index.php.
    But, as a straight woman, I often feel invisible. I think there are positive ways to acknowledge our sexual desire, but the feminist movement doesn’t seem interested.

  • ghostorchid

    You feel invisible as a straight woman? Uh, could you elaborate? And also define “pro-sex feminism”?

  • Tara K.

    While judging women based on their looks is un-feminist, recognizing lesbian sexuality is not. And are we supposed to ask lesbians, bisexual, or, hell, ANYONE to not be physically attracted to the people they’re sexually attracted to?
    I can make a list of my top five hot women, hot men, or hot people. Would it maybe be less bothersome if they were just hot people?
    And, yes, the lists have to include celebrities. If people put their neighbor guys and girls, no one would get it.
    My Hot Top People:
    1. Me (Why not? For fun, folks. I’m covered in sexy tumor scars.)
    2. Rachel Maddow
    3. Idris Elba (from The Wire, The Office)
    4. Katherine Moennig
    5. Zach Braff (but NOT in Scrubs, which annoys the crap outta me. Just when he’s all quiet and smoochy.)
    See? I’m not valuing them only for their bodies? (Hey, I value Zach Braff in some respect, just not Scrubs.) I’m just saying I think they’re hot, and physical attraction is part of sexuality. We shouldn’t be ashamed of it.

  • deconlonizedmine

    It’s sad that a supposedly progressive site like this that claims to challenge convention ends up with an ‘air-brushed white women are beautiful!’ story. Thanks, but I’ll pass.

  • Alexandr

    Your comment is a bit unclear.
    You mean you want a feminist Top 100 sexiest men?