Creative Destruction

June 7, 2006

The Hot 100 – Radically Redefining “Hot” To Mean…Hot

Filed under: Blogosphere,Popular Culture — Robert @ 2:28 pm

Some feminist bloggers have been nominated for the "Real Hot 100", an alternative to the Maxim 100 cheesecake list that comes out every year. According to the organizers:

We’re tired of the media telling young women how to be "hot"! Maxim Magazine’s annual "Hot 100" list exemplifies how young women are viewed in popular culture.  The women featured in this leading men’s magazine are chosen solely for their appearance.

The REAL hot 100 shows that young women are "hot" for reasons beyond their ability to look cute in a magazine.

REALLY hot women are smart. REALLY hot women work for change. REALLY hot women aren’t afraid to speak their minds. And while some REALLY hot women might look awesome in a bikini, they know that’s not all they have to offer.

While their lefty bias is of course problematic (women working for "change" by, say, saving babies from abortion aren't "hot"), the basic idea is a good one: recognize women for something other than looks. I'm all for it.

Only…I've reviewed their nominations to date (strictly in the interests of online journalism) and…well…these gals are all pretty hot. Oh, there are exceptions; a few ordinary-looking women, a handful who wouldn't be regarded as attractive outside the lefty world, and one or two who might be considered conventionally unattractive. But basically, it's photo after photo after photo of cute, conventionally attractive women.

Not that there's anything wrong with that! But it seems like either:

a) pretty much only cute, conventionally attractive women become activists, journalists, poetry slam coordinators, etc., and the Real Hot 100 nominators are just working with what exists, or

b) there are plenty of non-cute non-conventionally attractive women out there who meet the criteria, but the leftysphere isn't nominating them.

In my lefty days, there were reasonable numbers of reasonably attractive women taking part in the various wankery that is 90% of lefty politics – but there were also a LOT of women who few people would look twice at. It was pretty much a representative sample of the distaff side of things.
Amazing how none of those women seem to be "hot", under a standard emphasizing mental attainment.



  1. (And, not to be excessively snarky, I have to wonder about whoever nominated Amanda Marcotte as having a "world-class intellect". On Phobos, maybe.)

    Comment by bobhayes — June 7, 2006 @ 2:29 pm | Reply

  2. Only…I’ve reviewed their nominations to date (strictly in the interests of online journalism) and…well…these gals are all pretty hot.

    Yes, quite curious, isn’t it?

    Public relations, I suspect (her politics are… awful… but the hotness… critical brain melting… hooray feminism!)

    Comment by Tuomas — June 7, 2006 @ 2:41 pm | Reply

  3. Amanda is very smart – much smarter than most bloggers, right or left – but her approach to blogging isn’t especially accessible to those who disagree with her. It’s similar to how most right-wingers think the Protein Wisdom guy is smart, while most left-wingers think he’s an idiot.

    Looking through the list, most of the people there are conventionally attractive, but no more so than any group of mostly young, activist leaders. The list mainly has a bias towards the young, and in our culture “pretty” and “young” have a huge crossover in women; plus, due to subconscious discrimination, the conventionally attractive in all fields are more likely to become leaders; and, of course, it’s safe to assume that most of these folks, when asked to send in a photo of themselves, sent a photo in which they looked nice.

    (By the way, I will be declining to discuss any particular examples, for obvious reasons).

    [Edited to remove an unfair comment about conservatives, and to add:]

    For the record, I think responding to a list like this by trying to discuss nothing but appearances is more than a little disturbing. Probably it was a mistake for me to respond to it all; I can’t help but suspect that you had, perhaps, a bit of mischievous baiting somewhere in the back of your mind when you wrote this post.

    Comment by Ampersand — June 7, 2006 @ 4:32 pm | Reply

  4. Please. If the list is explicitly about something other than appearance, then they should call it the “Smart 100”. Naming it as they have, they are manifestly riffing on appearance issues – but they then fall prey to the same biases and conventions that they would decry in the larger culture.

    I wouldn’t argue that Amanda isn’t smart; it’s the “world-class” that amuses.

    Comment by bobhayes — June 7, 2006 @ 4:36 pm | Reply

  5. Oops; you edited your comment and now my response doesn’t make any sense. (Clever bastard, you are.)

    I didn’t discuss nothing but appearances; my first substantive comment concerns the monotonicity of the list’s politics. So nyah.

    My motives in this post were 20% baiting, 80% noticing the irony of an anti-lookist agenda being completely obviated by the total lookism of the participants.

    Comment by bobhayes — June 7, 2006 @ 4:40 pm | Reply

  6. I am partly at fault here, my comment didn’t address anything but looks. But it is somewhat problematic argument, as there could be the implication that I think these women only got nominated due to hotness (physical).

    What I might raise now is the ageist argument — why must the REALLY hot 100 be about young women?

    Everyone is also American (skimmed, might be wrong). I thought lefty feminists were internationalists?

    I find the comparison on accessibility of the intellect of Amanda and Jeff G eerily accurate.

    Comment by Tuomas — June 7, 2006 @ 5:38 pm | Reply

  7. (to add: the original Maxim version they are spoofing isn’t, to my knowledge, all-American.)

    Comment by Tuomas — June 7, 2006 @ 5:44 pm | Reply

  8. Come on now, link to it, for journalism’s sake. And I noticed a little blurb that said “Read up on how to land a brainy babe.” Here she is:

    Comment by John Howard — June 7, 2006 @ 6:15 pm | Reply

  9. In our culture “pretty” and “young” have a huge crossover in women.

    In what cultures is this not the case?

    Comment by Brandon Berg — June 8, 2006 @ 3:13 am | Reply

  10. Le sigh… And yet again, I’m hoping for (Pardon the weak paraphrase.) “an editus for the rest of us.”

    As to the Hot 100 list, I must say that I barely made it through the first page so far, but my babe-o-meter only dinged 5 times, even including the blurbs attached to the photos. However, it went absolutely off the scale when I got down to Lisa Scarbrough.

    The rest of them seem to be more about the progressive scene and awareness raising. Yet Lisa Scarbrough put her assets where her mouth is. And not for the standard causes, but for abused and neglected animals.

    Now that’s REALLY hot! I wonder if she likes guys that can cook… I finally figured out the Insta-Chicken recipe, you know.

    Comment by Off Colfax — June 8, 2006 @ 4:56 am | Reply

  11. In what cultures is this not the case?

    That was a serious question, by the way. Feminists like to talk about the fact that younger women are generally considered prettier than older women as if it were some sort of pathology unique to our culture. But to the best of my knowledge this is universal, and I very strongly suspect that it has a biological basis. Are there any examples of cultures in which this isn’t the case?

    Comment by Brandon Berg — June 9, 2006 @ 10:33 pm | Reply

  12. I haven’t a clue how much the age/beauty connection varies from culture to culture. Maybe it’s basically the same everywhere; maybe it varies. Obviously, I don’t think it’s totally unique to our culture.

    You’re assuming that when I said “in our culture” I meant “this is a pathology unique to our culture,” when in fact I meant “in our culture, which is the only one I know enough to speak about.”

    Comment by Ampersand — June 9, 2006 @ 11:49 pm | Reply

  13. In the classical cultures of Greece and Rome, youth = beauty. In Persian culture, both ancient and modern, same thing.

    I’m not sure I’d characterize it as a pathology; more common sense for reproductive strategy, under survival conditions.

    Comment by Robert — June 9, 2006 @ 11:57 pm | Reply

  14. To Off Colfax, thank you so much for the kind words! I was just doing a Google search for something and found this page. You really made my night! And yes, I adore guys that cook. My dinners are usually cereal or a sandwich as once I finish my real job and then get home and feed five dogs, I have no energy to get over a stove to cook just for me. So again, THANKS! 🙂

    Comment by Lisa — June 29, 2006 @ 7:09 pm | Reply

  15. Lisa, you should be advised that Off Colfax is currently serving nine concurrent life sentences in the Colorado State Penitentiary for repeated sexual abuse of tiny mammals. We let him post here (via the penitentiary library’s one online PC) because one of the other bloggers here is very big on the whole rehab-the-criminals thing.

    The rest of us are watching him with a suspicious eye, secretly convinced that the lemming porn posts are only moments away.

    In other words, he only wants you for access to the critters.

    The sick SOB.

    Comment by Robert — June 29, 2006 @ 7:51 pm | Reply

  16. Lies! All lies!

    Okay, fine. It was with Jeff Goldstein‘s armadillo. But only once. We were both extremely drunk and the little guy had stolen all of Jeff’s Percoset. One thing led to another and…

    Well, I’ll leave to your imaginations all of the gory details of liasons with fictional stuffed armored beasts on the way back from the taxidermist.

    And Lisa, should you ever find yourself in the Denver area (And should you ever come by this site again… Hmm. My optimism begins to war with my pessimism, suddenly. And my pessimism has much more practice.), feel free to drop me an email. I’ll cook until half the neighborhood is pounding down the door. (Note to self: Get Greatnanna’s down-bayou style recipes from Dad. Use bribery and/or base groveling if required.) And you will see that I absolutely do not live in a correctional facility. (For one thing, most of my comments are in the wee hours of the morning, Robert!)

    And lemming porn? Ugh, Robert. You surely have no taste. Everyone knows that transgendered meerkat porn is all the rage these da… Ummm, never mind.

    Comment by Off Colfax — June 30, 2006 @ 2:35 am | Reply

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