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.

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