Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hey, hotties

So the annual AfterEllen.com Hot 100 came out yesterday. In case you were living under some big lesbian rock (which happens, they’re rent controlled and surprisingly cozy), Naya Rivera won this year. I’m thrilled to little bits and pieces by this for several reasons. 1) She is hot, I know, I was standing mere inches from her two weekends ago. 2) She is gracious and wonderful to her fans, many of them rabid lesbian fans. And 3) She is doing a world of good with her nuanced, evolving portrayal of Santana on “Glee.” So big, fantastic, sloppy, possibly wet congratulatory kisses to Naya for her much-deserved win. I actually told her at the GLAAD Media Awards I was sure she was going to win and her reaction was almost verbatim her tweet yesterday about the news: “Oh my gosh, that’s amazing!” Who says “Oh my gosh?” Just adorable people, that’s who. What? Is my smitten kitten showing? Whatever, I’m on vacation starting tomorrow – professionalism can suck it.

But, of course, whenever there’s a list of anything (hotties, TV shows, humus recipes, paint thinners, etc.) you also have people complaining about whoever is on the list. “How could Person X not be on this list?!” “How could Person Y be on this list?!” “You are all nuts because Person Z should be the only person on this list 100 times, and then another 100 times because that’s how awesome Person Z is.” “Whatever, Person Z is fat.” Sigh.

I’ve discussed the sometimes problematic exercise of ranking women in the first place before. But I consider the AfterEllen Hot 100 voting to be a somewhat respectful objectification, more than just tawdry leering (fine, OK, there’s a lot of that, too). What I enjoy I enjoy most about it is not just looking at this list of beautiful women, but looking at this list of beautiful women who queer women consider beautiful. We can argue all we want about who is and isn’t on the list, but in the end we made the list. This was voted on by us. And that’s why I like it. I think us gay gals bring a different perspective that is all-too-often missing from the oiled-up bikini babes that tend to dominate other such lists. And, no, I am not bashing oiled-up bikini babes. Especially since I hope to see many when I’m near the beach in the very immediate future. Still it’s that variety, the nuance and the reasoning that always intrigues me about this very special list of 100 ladies each year.

The Top 10 this year is particularly interesting:

  1. Naya Rivera
  2. Heather Morris
  3. Jessica Capshaw
  4. Sara Ramirez
  5. Olivia Wilde
  6. Amber Heard
  7. Shay Mitchell
  8. Dianna Agron
  9. Lily Loveless
  10. Lea Michelle

I find this group fantastic because it says that what we love most in women this year is women who play gay, are gay or act gay with their best friend on Twitter (oh, Achele, you adorable teases). We think it’s beautiful when women allow us to see ourselves reflected through them – either through their real lives or their portrayals on screen. That’s an important thing to celebrate and acknowledge. We are very loyal to those who are good to us. One of the greatest struggles when you’re part of a minority group is to find yourself in the wider world. Where are the other people like me? How can I see my own life? Who will tell my stories? And these women have given us that, and that’s special.

We may disagree about who ranked where and when. We may argue about who should be higher and who should be lower. We may bemoan what kind of women got left off and what kind got let on. But, in the end, it’s just a list. What is important is that women – in all their forms, shapes, colors and ages – are beautiful. They all deserve to be on a list. And we, as women who love women, should feel great about the simple act of acknowledging our attraction and appreciation for them out loud. Sometimes, you’ve just got so say it. Damn, women are fucking hot.


Laura said...

As someone who did a fair bit of moaning that so and so was not on the list, I completely agree with you that in the end it's just a list. And yes women are fucking hot!! :O)

Steph Mineart said...

Of the women in the top ten, I did vote for at least 5 of them. So I'm completely at odds with myself when I observe that the list has changed from the early days by quite a bit. There are quite a few more women in the slim, young and conventionally pretty range. Lots more overlap with women who would also appear in Maxim.

I think that might have something to do with the the fact that lots of young women are in prominent gay roles on television, which is an awesome thing.

But is it also possible that the editorial tone of the afterellen site has changed over time? What AE is writing about and how they're writing it has changed in ways that I'm quite sure I like. I still go there because they cover quite a bit of news about lesbian visibility, but I don't enjoy it as much.

Another thing that is bugging me - AE editors are making fun of the disagreements in the comments openly on twitter and on the site, rather than considering them from an editorial perspective as potential fallout from editorial policy.

Openly mocking your readers (and then telling them how they should think about your content) isn't sound editorial policy, really.

Anonymous said...

It's the elephant in the room that no one is mentiuonjing how Naya has an old lady face. Oh not that it's wrinkly or anything (wrinkles don't usually affect people of color like they do white people).

I am saying that she doen't look like she needs to be playing a teenager.

Anonymous said...

SOOOOO disgusted with all the Glee hate. Naya deserved and won that #1 spot fair and square. As far as I'm concerned she should get it based on her commitment to the lesbian community alone. Shame on everyone tarnishing her win. Just goes to show how fickle a fan base can be. (I've looked at some of the first and most vocal objectors, and A LOT of them were previous fans of Glee and Naya)

Carmen SanDiego said...

here's hoping you have a wonderful time in europe and come back safe to us.
we'll miss you!

Steph Mineart said...

Naya may be older than a teen - but "old lady face?" Good gosh; that sounds like you mean that as an insult. I hope I have old lady face - I think wrinkles are hot. There's a reason Susan Sarandon is always at the top of my list.

And think about it - casting teenagers is problematic for a TV show; much easier to cast early 20 somethings that have some experience and don't have work restrictions, especially when you have a large "teenage" character pool. It's practical matter for casting directors to get actresses Naya's age.

Patricia said...

I would go with Kim Catrall´s list (with one replacement)... Don´t know... "whole" "hot?" women have to show/hide something more than be at the breaknews media (IMHO) - anyway, glad to know that nice (inanyaspect) women are not in short supply!

alex dumas said...

Well said. And if you don't like the list, make your own!


Ava said...

Thank you for this post. Some of the comments about the Hot 100 were just ugly. As women-loving women, we should do better than to call another woman "fugly" or "heavy" just because we don't think she should have ranked so high on a silly list on the Internet.

Jessica said...

I have to say I couldn't desagree more with the top 100 list this years, honestly this isn't about who is hotter anymore but who is more visible at the moment. That's pretty clear to me... and no, I don't think the top 2 were well deserved!

Anonymous said...

To Steph Mineart

Yes an Old Lady's face, I already mentioned that I am NOT talking about wrinkles so I don't know what your problem is.

Also another person disagreed with the "HOT" candidates but she mentioned that this site of supposed to be for women who love women. I guess she wasn't around while Ms. Snarker sang the praises of riding cock in her assessment of the Kids Are All Right. I'm just saying.

Anonymous said...

I just find it amusing that every year it seems like whatever show AfterEllen is high on, those are the ladies that make the top 10. I don't disagree with some of these ladies, but I just wish the voters would think outside the tiny box that AE buts you in...

Anonymous said...

so get a role on Glee and become hot
that's ridiculous,the list and the show

Anonymous said...

Let's be honest, you're on vacation/therapy to cope with the fact that your wife only made it to number 39. I feel for you, Snarker. I really do.