Is People’s ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ Campaign Racist?

Joanna Schroeder challenges the outdated notion that Americans don’t find men of color sexy.

By now you’ve probably heard that Channing Tatum—aka”Magic Mike“—was named People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive“, an honor that has gone to 25 other men before, including Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and Ben Affleck.

25 of the 26 men who have won this award have one very obvious thing in common: their race. Tricia Romano of The Daily Beast points out how bizarre this trend truly is:

And during the last four years, when there has been an African-American president (who, if he were a Hollywood hunk, should surely have topped the list), it seems preposterous that no other men of color have been picked as the winner. In 2008, square-jawed Aussie, Hugh Jackman took the top honor. In 2009, Johnny Depp and his rotting teeth were selected for a second time. Last year, nobody’s favorite, Bradley Cooper, walked away (shirtless) with the crown. And the year before, perhaps in anticipation of the release of Green Lantern (which bombed), Ryan Reynolds was bestowed this dubious honor. Call it the Sexiest Milquetoast Man Alive.

Yes, Johnny Depp has won TWICE!

After 26 years, this trend can no longer be considered coincidental.

Daniel Dae-Kim in Hawaii 5-0

Ms. Romano suggests a list of men whom People Magazine seems to have been purposefully ignoring for the last 26 years: Taye Diggs, Blair Underwood, Terrence Howard, Morris Chestnut and of course Idris Elba. And might I also suggest Michael Ealy, since we’re playing this (dreamy) game?

I’d also like to nominate Hawaii 5-0′s Daniel Dae Kim… unless People Magazine thinks Asian men aren’t contenders for “sexy”. But newsflash, People: If you type “Daniel Dae Kim” into Google, “Shirtless” is the third query after his name. His shirtlessness on LOST made him famous for his sexiness. Also, how about Antonio Banderas, Benicio del Toro or Naveen Andrews?

Of course, People Magazine blames Hollywood, as Romano cites:

A rep for People explained: “The cover subject is chosen solely on the following criteria: Is he hot at the moment? Is he sexy? Is his career on fire this year? Channing Tatum fits that criteria this year, which is why he was named 2012 Sexiest Man Alive.”

People explains that their Sexiest Man layout does include men of color, but what we all know is that it’s the cover that really matters. That’s the headline. That’s the guy whose value is upped by the title of “Sexiest Man  Alive”. The rest of the guys seem to be present for tokenism and not much more. Did they ever stand a chance at the title? Probably not, just as a man of color probably doesn’t stand a chance at being cast as The Bachelor.

Think Like a Man’s Michael Ealy – AP Photo

Producers and publishers can blame Hollywood, and Hollywood can blame the American public—after all, they only produce what people will buy, right? And according to them, Black men don’t sell.

But hold on a minute. What was the top-grossing romantic comedy of 2012? One of the top-grossing movies of the year? Hmm… Lemme think… Oh yeah, Think Like a Man! The film shocked traditional movie experts by staying in the top slot for weeks on end, starring a cast that was almost entirely comprised of Black actors and actresses.

Released in April, the film has grossed 91 million dollars (domestic) so far this year. 91 million dollars, people! That places Think Like a Man in the top 30 highest-grossing romantic comedies of all time… and it’s been in the marketplace for less than a year.

This Means War starring Hollywood darling (and box office gold) Reese Witherspoon (and two hot young white guys) grossed $54 Million. Jason Segal and Emily Blunt’s 5 Year Engagement grossed $28 Million. Wake up, People Magazine. $91 million is an impressive domestic box office for any romantic comedy and proves that the traditional idea of what sells—white men—is old news.

And even if it weren’t, even if we were still living in a time when men of color didn’t sell magazines or movies, it is up to the media to take the first steps toward equality. Even if equality in this case is something as silly as deciding which beefcake is most beefy.

Wake up, People Magazine, and smell the wonderful diversity of flowers in the hot guy bouquet.

 

 

Also read:

Idris Elba Proves ‘Cool’ is More Important Than ‘Swag’ by Damon Young

How the Rules of Racism are Different for Asian Americans by Matthew Salesses 

Magic Mike: On the Objectification of Men by Joanna Schroeder

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About Joanna Schroeder

Joanna Schroeder is the type of working mom who opens her car door and junk spills out all over the ground. She serves as Executive Editor of The Good Men Project and is a freelance writer whose work has appeared on sites like xoJane, hlntv.com, and The Huffington Post. Joanna loves playing with her sons, skateboarding with her husband, and hanging out with friends. Her dream is to someday finish her almost-done novel and get some sleep. Follow her shenanigans on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Its interesting to me how, as the demographics of America change, how very very long it takes for some folks to notice. Saw a little of that Nov.6th.

    Heh.

  2. Being deemed sexiest man alive is basically the sum total of the opinions of the people who are interested in such things. Since people tend to be attracted to people of their same race, in general, the fact that ~70% of people in America are white implies that the men who are voted to be sexiest will be the men who appeal to white women.

    This is only racist if we are racist to have a sexual attraction preferences for people of our same race. If that is racist then we’ve completely diluted the meaning of the word.

    • So wait, where is your data that most people are ONLY attracted to people of their own race?

      Because in order for your assumption to be correct, people would have to ONLY be attracted to their own race.

      Also, if it’s 70% white people in the population, wouldn’t it make sense to have the sexiest men represent the population, and therefore have 30% of the 26 men chosen be non-white?

      • Joanna,

        I clearly didn’t use the word “only”. It’s a general pattern, and that pattern translates into a larger skew when it comes to a final decision about how millions of people think about what is and what is not sexy.

        And the contest occurs once a year. Once a year the people who decide this (editorial staff who claim that they are gauging their reader’s tastes and preferences) vote on a new crop of celebrities. Looking at over the history of the contest might not be the best way to look at it because in none of those single years was there a heavy enough influence from non-whites.

        This type of contest will change as the population demographics change. That it hasn’t yet is not an indication of racism.

      • “So wait, where is your data that most people are ONLY attracted to people of their own race?”
        Most attracted to, not only attracted to.

        “Also, if it’s 70% white people in the population, wouldn’t it make sense to have the sexiest men represent the population, and therefore have 30% of the 26 men chosen be non-white?”
        Um, what? Do the lower vote presidents win occasionally? If white people get 70% of the vote each time, they will win every time.

        I am most attracted to women of my race, specifically pale women for some reason, though I am fairly pale myself. It’s not racist to have sexual preferences highest for one race anymore than it’s homophobic to be straight or fatphobic to be attracted most to athletic people. What you are attracted to is not under your control and it doesn’t say anything about the worth of the person.

        Problem with these sexiest person alive awards is that the majority demographic will always win if that is what is most attractive.

      • No on both counts.

        If we posit that people are mostly attracted to people of their own race, then the theory works. For every person in the majority who prefers a minority, a minority likely prefer a member of the majority. Say only 55% of people are attracted to people of their own race, and let’s assume only one majority of 70% and one minority of 30% (for ease of calculation). You get 55%*70%+45%*30% = 52% of the “vote”.

        On the other hand, you wouldn’t necessarily get 30% of winners from the other race. It doesn’t work like that. Otherwise, Texas would give the electoral votes to the democrats 40% of the time. The majority imposes its will.

        Now, this isn’t really up for a vote, but still. These factors influence the decision in any case.

        I’m not saying there shouldn’t be people of color or other races as sexiest men alive, just answering the specific questions about the logic behind Chuck’s argument.

    • And, PS, this isn’t something that’s voted on, like American Idol.

      This is decided by an editorial staff, so in essence, it doesn’t matter.

      Beyond that, did you not read my section about the movie What Women Want?

      • Magic Mike was deemed, rightly or wrongly, to be the “hot” movie of the year. It grossed $20 million more than What Women Want, and Channing Tatum has been drooled over for years now. It was his time, I guess. Even people who didn’t see Magic Mike knew about Tatum and what his role was supposed to be. Add the fact that he was in a specifically sexualized role. None of those factors applied to the other movie.

      • What are the demographics of the editorial staff?

  3. I agree completly. When are we going to have a non caucasian sexiest man alive ? Repeat cover men are a clear indication of their racism. wake up people america is made of many shades of sexy men !

  4. Kirsten (in MT) says:

    How many of those 26 men were my favorites- hot, bald men? How many were regular wearers of eyeglasses? How many were older than 50?

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      I totally agree. Slate did a GREAT hot guys list that included Louis CK, Kamau Bell, Chris Kluwe and a bunch of others. You and I may be more likely to choose our “hot guys” from there than from People!

      • Joanna Schroeder says:
        • This is interesting comments I pick from Salon article

          “mmm,

          Not really getting about 3/4 of these.

          Admirable yes

          Interesting yes

          but sexy?

          Really?”

          “Oh haha we’re ironically pretending we’re people magazine. Haha imagine if we boned Ai Weiwei, hilarious!

          This may be the most depressingly self-conscious piece of hipster trash I’ve ever read.”

          “I fear that is true. As lovely as many of these men are – and Ai Weiwei is very twinkly cute in his smile – I would make out with maybe two of them – Mr. Kluwe, because he’s smart, funny and hot, and John Hawkes, because his talent makes him sexy, although he’s a wee serial killer from certain angles. I know you guys want to be alternative and cool. But do YOU who made this list really find these guys desirable, or are you just trying not to be “People,” as Damon said?”

          “Yeah…but, mostly, no.

          The only way I will believe that the staff who picked the people on this list are sincere in their desire is if they give their names. They can even pick one listee, no doubt the one listee they were asked to come up with. I imagine it went something like this: “OK, just one guy, that you would have sex with. Just you, because the personal is…well, just you”. Maybe, maybe I could believe that each of the guys on this list has at least one list contributor who wants to bone them.

          But really, you know, I don’t believe it. Actually, it kind of pisses me off. Give me a break”

          Hahahahaha lolz!!!

  5. It’s People Magazine, basically a Hollywood magazine. Hollywood is marketed to white people, just turn on the TV or watch any movie to see that. People Magazine is in the business to sell magazines and this list reflects who they are trying to sell their magazines to.

  6. wellokaythen says:

    Hang on a minute. Antonio Banderas is a “man of color”? He’s Castillian Spanish. He’s European. He’s no less “white” than George Clooney is. Same nose, same coloring. Does his accent make him exotic and nonwhite, somehow? For that matter, as a brown-eyed person myself, I can’t help but notice there is a huge under-representation of men with brown eyes. Only in an ultra-Wonderbread context would Antonio Banderas be considered a man of color.

    Another great example of the need for “white” and “of color” to be defined. Do the allegedly white men on the list self-identify as white, or is this just based on the general impression of them?

    Sean Connery’s not white, he’s Scottish. Believe me, in the long history of the British isles, to be Scottish is to be a person of color.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      In the United States, Antonio Banderas is “other” – regardless of whether his skin tone and hair are the same as George Clooney.

      As far as Sean Connery, sure in the British Isles a Scottsman is an “other” but here he is a mainstream white guy with an accent. There is a difference in how people perceive Banderas and Connery, even if there isn’t any logic to it.

      But you’re right, and your point is even more important if you consider that there aren’t really any other mainstream Latino “hunks”… I chose Benicio del Toro, but he’s too funky to ever really be considered. Banderas really as close as we’re gonna get here. Mainstream, good-looking, very good movie career, etc.

      • wellokaythen says:

        I guess I’m suggesting that the racism is even more absurd than it looks on the surface. Only in a really weird, twisted definition of racial categories (like in Hollywood?) is Banderas a “latino.” He’s about as latino as Cameron Diaz. He’s as exotic as Tony Blair.Yes, these are categories that have shaped the society we live in, but they are ultimately idiotic distinctions.

        The racism may go even deeper. I think there are some racial undertones to the way that brown-eyed men are under-represented. People with brown eyes make up the vast majority of the population, but they are probably in a minority of the Sexiest Men list.

        Like the T-shirt says: “Not an Accurate Reflection of White People”

        • wellokaythen says:

          I should say only in an *especially* weird, twisted definition like Hollywood. Ultimately, all of these distinctions are weird and twisted.

      • Um…. Gael Garcia Bernel? Diego Luna?

        I can’t really accept Banderas as a person of color, I’m sorry.

        • Joanna Schroeder says:

          Totally agree on both of these fronts, but are they mainstream enough? I had to google Diego Luna and while he’s hot, he’s more of a producer than an actor. I think we need an actor/singer guy… Though they did put JFK Jr on the cover one year as a notable exception.

          • Joanna Schroeder says:

            And PS – I agree about Banderas being a “person of color” but he is an “Other” in the USA and I think as wellokaythen is pointing out, the whole example of him as a man of color is a great example of how fucked the whole system is, really.

            • According to the census bureau, Banderas would be considered white: The term “White” refers to people having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa

            • wellokaythen says:

              If it’s the accent that makes Banderas “other,” then he’s just as “of color” as Vladimir Putin and Gerard Depardieu. (Okay, maybe not the best examples for a sexy list, though Depardieu is an excellent chef, and Putin has that “power is an aphrodisiac” thang.)

              Census definitions hardly clarify anything. “Europe” extends out to the Ural Mountains, and “North Africa” means….? It’s hard to come up with definitions that aren’t circular in some way. European means you come from Europe, obviously, as if Europe is a totally clear thing. The Roma, Lapplanders, and Basques will be surprised to hear they are benefitting from the incredible privilege of being of the original European race. Tell them to count their white privilege blessings.

              The Kurds are Caucasians. Literally Caucasians. Goddam spoiled white people, just like everyone else.

              The Equal Opportunity form at my institution gives definitions on the back to help clarify the categories. For “Black/African American” it says something like “ancestors from the black peoples of Africa.” Clear as mud, no?

            • I would say in the USA the census would give Banderas a leg to stand on for being white (even if he doesn’t benefit from whiteness). Kurds, Basques, and Gypsies while not Germanic people are still Aryans are they not? Are Italians, Irish and Jews still not white (they should try to get back into boxing). I am pretty sure North African means Africans who live above the Sahara. Descendants of Berbers (Ancient Libyans) and Egyptians. They even recognize themselves as not being from Sub-Sahara or Black Africa

        • Bay Area Guy says:

          Gael Garcia Bernal a “person of color?”

          Does this guy look like a “person of color” to you?

          http://www.latinheat.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/gael_garcia_bernal.jpg

          Does this guy?

          http://ia.media-imdb.com/images/M/MV5BOTE0MjI2NDczMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTgwMDgyMg@@._V1._SY314_CR1,0,214,314_.jpg

          As someone who has travelled to Latin America and seen its many different people, classifying all “latinos” (which is a moronic, made-up French term in the first place) as automatically non-white is at the height of the absurdity.

          Due to the nature of Latin American immigration to the U.S, most Latino immigrants (illegal and legal alike) tend to be of mostly indigenous and mestizo descent. So I guess it’s understandable that most (ill informed) Americans see them as all being non-white “latinos.”

          But still. Some of the logic I’m seeing on this article/comment thread is beyond ridiculous.

  7. Welcome to why a lot of guys don’t care about the sexist woman alive lists that go around each year. They are mostly limited to young white women and women that don’t fit that seem to get left out (with maybe the exception of a few token black women like Halle Berry and Tyra Banks).

  8. @TheCeeJayLouis says:

    I commend you, Joanna, for noticing and making this known. Interesting. My younger sister agrees with your points.

  9. “…it is up to the media to take the first steps toward equality.”

    Says who? That’s never been the role of the media, and still isn’t. Maybe it’s the chosen mission of certain niche media who set out to do something like facilitate a new discussion about modern masculinity, but in general, the media – specifically the entertainment kind – is about selling tickets, magazines, advertising space, or whatever. “People” is fluff media whose target demographic skews white and female, I’m guessing. That’s not to say no one else can or does enjoy it, but they’ve been building and pandering to that core demo long enough now to keep right on doing it as long as that’s where the money is.

    When GMP ran the #RealFatherhood series with pics of dad with kids, there were some criticisms in the comments about how the selection looked awfully white. I thought it was a bogus criticism, both because it wasn’t all white guys, and because the pictures were representative of the submissions received. It wasn’t like GMP went out of it’s way to exclude men of color from the piece or discourage that kind of submission.

    I don’t know the editorial process on People’s Sexiest Man Alive selection, but even though it’s not a readers’ vote kind of thing, they have to draw from what’s available. It’s got to be some celebrity who’s hot at the moment, and while it may speak to lopsided representation in the industy, it’s not People’s fault or intention that the pool of contenders is going to skew white. That’s Hollywood. If Hollywood changes, so will People, but I don’t think instituting affirmative action for Sexiest Man Alive is going to change Hollywood.

    It would be interesting to know if the one year People picked a man of color (Denzel, right?), if it had any noticeable impact on the issue’s success compared to other years. One thing most SMA’s have in common is that the selections are usually already household names, not just actors who fans of their TV shows might now. I think at least some of the guys you suggested as worthy candidates – like Idris Elba or Daniel Dae Kim – are plenty attractive, and known to a passionate fanbase of shows like The Wire or Lost or Hawaii Five-0, but for most people, I think those names would require a visit to Google or IMDB to identify them as “that guy”, if they recognize them at all.

    The import of any of this depends, of course, on the import and prestige you give to the whole Sexiest Man Alive gimmick in the first place. It’s not like these are Nobel Prizes. No one is compelled to agree with the choice, or prevented from having their own, just like every debate that’s ever sprung up when someone posts their “Top 10 ____ Of All Time” lists.

    • wellokaythen says:

      If People were to put another man of color on the cover of the Sexiest Man issue, then it would probably be accused of racism in that case as well. No doubt it would be accused of tokenism, or the objectification of men of color at the expense of seeing them as people, or reinforcing the racial stereotypes of the “black buck” or “latin lover.” Someone would note that there still hasn’t been a(n) _____ man on the cover, and you can’t just treat all people of color the same way. Someone would accuse the magazine of political correctness or of being insincere in its social consciousness.

      No matter what the skin tone of the man on the cover, someone would point out that he is too dark or too light to be an accurate reflection of group X. If he is too dark, then he is a stereotype, and if he is too light he is simply a whitened version of a person of color. It will in some way privilege one subgroup over another subgroup.

      In things like this, the test for racism will always come back positive.

  10. “People explains that their Sexiest Man layout does include men of color, but what we all know is that it’s the cover that really matters.”

    You have a point. It’s no coincidence that the “sexiest man alive” is consistently white. But I don’t read People magazine or any of the other magazines that tell us who we’re supposed to consider “sexy.” I’ve always considered them shallow. Glad to know I’m not missing out on anything!

    • wellokaythen says:

      Yeah, it seems like a dubious honor to me, like being the first black Playboy centerfold. Is this really an achievement to be proud of?

  11. Looking at how women go crazy and lusted for Channing in Magic Mike, or in Ellen show, its not his fault he’s chosen as a sexiest men alive.

    But the way Channing got those title is unique to me. What is sexy man? Traditional view , sexy man is rich, powerful, confident, and funny. Channing? hes play a role as a male stripper! Male stripper? Ewww, its gross, women dont find male stripper sexy, its funny and gross! ( powerful and rich CEO is far sexier for women! ) Cover your body ewwww, its gross…!! But guess what, many women find Channing sexy, lol.

    This prove what women like is not really different from what men like. Beautiful women with hot bodies who can dance are sexy, so do men. Channing is not really a good actor. His charisma is nothing compared to Clooney, Pitt, Depp, and Christian Bale. The way women find Channing sexy is almost the same as the way men find Megan Fox sexy. We know Megan is shitty actress, shes just sexy. I guess Men and Women are not really different afterall.

  12. Joanna,

    Your article is a good start. The interesting question though is not whether non-whites are beautiful (for clearly no one group has a monopoly), but what informs notions of beauty. Asking the question this way helps us to transcend constraining prejudices that gets in the way of real spiritual evolution.

    In the US, a “white standard of beauty” is the lens through which everyone is judged and how power and status are still largely rewarded. This is a problem, particularly for racial and ethnic minorities, who will have little success in ever achieving the ideal. The sooner we change the model from a physical to a spiritual one, the better we all will be.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      GREAT points, Mike!

    • @Mike: Good points. So if the points are taken to the logical conclusion, shouldn’t black people have to deal with body image, beauty and other concerns around being unable to meet standards of beauty and looks they can never truly achieve?And if so why don’t you ever hear about these kind of issues? The only persons who society are concerned about where these issues live is white women; who control and define the dialogue. And if the standard of beauty is, as you and Joanna confirm, whiteness doesn’t that speak to the comparative privilege of white women in America? A privilege that so many deny.

      I can only hope that black people and others don’t fall into the trap that white women have fallen into where by they have power and responsibility they deny and desperately need validation. Listen up, black men just don’t care, for the most part, we have much bigger issues to deal with.

    • wellokaythen says:

      And, it’s a specific, extremely narrowly defined kind of “white beauty” standard. A man with not “too much” facial hair; no body hair; with a specific physique who looks a certain way in a suit and tie; straight, even, bright white teeth; not too tall, not too short; not too muscular, not too slender; two distinct eyebrows, but not too big; nose not too big or too small; only certain hair texture and configuration, not too long or too short; symmetrical facial features, etc. It’s not just skin color, but also smoothness, uniformity, glow, etc.

      It has a lot to do not just with race but with other related ideas about skin tones, shape, body hair, etc. There are men of color who would fit these related ideals better than the vast majority of white guys. I’m not so sure an athletic African American man with green eyes would get passed over for a skinny white guy with brown eyes, even under the current prejudices.

  13. If PEOPLE thinks a cover with Idris Elba or Daniel Dae Kim ( Lord, those cheekbones!) on the cover won’t sell, than they are more out of touch then I imagined them to be. It’s 2012, catch up PEOPLE or your readers will look elsewhere for the diversity you lack.

    • I haven’t seen anyone make the argument that a cover with any of these guys on it wouldn’t sell. What I wouldn’t be surprised about, and I don’t know if it has or has not happened yet, would be for the magazine to run dual cover models for the same issue.

      However, that doesn’t address the annual Sexiest Man Alive question which isn’t all that hard to understand when you consider that white females make up the largest group of People readers.

  14. Isn’t this pretty much the same for those Bachelor and Bachelorette shows? I don’t watch but everytime I see something about that show everyone on these shows is white. And I’m pretty sure all of the bachelors and bachelorettes have been white as well. It’s odd there hasn’t been any stink made about that. Then again those shows are horrible so I guess it doesn’t really matter.

  15. I totally agree with this, Joanna. Something you said in the thread about America being 70% white really resonates with me–where are the other 30% on this list. I mean, we don’t even half a half-white person of color on here…

  16. wellokaythen says:

    Nitpicky here. Is the word “Alive” really necessary? Does the magazine run a list of the sexiest dead men?

  17. wellokaythen says:

    The man has to be famous and with a successful celebrity career. That guy in Virginia who has 30 kids with 12 different women obviously has some sort of profound sex appeal. (GMP ran a story on him last year, I believe.) Just thinking objectively, shouldn’t he be on the list?

  18. Thank God men of color don’t depend on the media or society, in general, to form their self-image. Think about it. If white women, who seem to have major issues concerning acceptance and validation about their looks, had to deal with the kind of invalidation that men of color face they’d be a mess.

    Quite frankly , as a man of color who has dated white women and women of other cultures too,, there is much to unpack in the area of race ,bias and the acceptance of men of color( who aren’t highly paid athletes, entertainers, celebrities and politicians) as equal to white males as potential partners. Most white women that I have known, know little about and care even less about the experiences of men of color. Many just throw men of color into their great big bag of “all men are privileged”. Most know almost nothing about the histories of men of color in this country and as such, the sexist man alive award, in this context, for men of color, is a shallow thinly veiled opportunity for white women to gain access to bodies, not whole beings.

    Whether men of color are fairly represented on the bachelorette show, has very little importance or meaning to men of color that I know. We have our own style of talk, of dress, of dancing, of writing and of interacting with the world. We are not having many conversations about how we can be made more appealing or sexy to white women.

  19. wellokaythen says:

    The title question is a trick question. I’ve been told that everyone is racist and that racism permeates every part of American society. So, yes, the Sexiest Man Alive list is racist, because everything and everyone is racist.

    Put another way: in order to show something is NOT racist, what would count as proof of that? I suspect nothing could ever prove a LACK of racism.

    By this logic, the more appropriate question is whether the list is more racist than average.

  20. Mark Ellis says:

    Definitely not my department, but I don’t see how Time could have missed this awesome, sexy, person of color.
    http://gunshyassassin.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Tom-Araya-Grammy-2.jpg

  21. Mark Ellis says:

    oops, make that People

  22. Bay Area Guy says:

    Hold on a second.

    Since when did a SPANIARD such as Antonio Banderas become a “man of color”? Not all people with Spanish names are “Latino,” and not all “latinos” are “people of color.”

    • Bay Area Guy says:

      Oops, didn’t read through the earlier comments, so I didn’t read Joanna’s earlier clarification.

      Still, my point stands. Americans have some really odd notions about racial classifications.

      The way I see it, if a person looks white, he’s white. This is true whether he’s a pale, blue-eyed Scandinavian, or has a more olive-skinned Mediterranean look. Even certain Iranians and other Middle Easterners of Indo-European descent or white looking phenotypes can be considered white under certain circumstances.

      (though for Middle Easterners, it’s more of a case-by-case matter)

      I’ve known certain Armenians throughout my life who have been either considered or accepted as white, even if they’ve had a minor tan/olive-skinned look. That, in addition to having “exotic” surnames.

      I mean, take a look at my own family. My aunt of ethnic Greek descent is olive-skinned and darker in complexion than Antonio Banderas. Does that make her a “woman of color?”

  23. There are several non-white men that should have been considered for the cover of People Magazine’s sexiest man alive. Idris Elba, Michael Ealy, Barack Obama, Giles Marini or Marc Anthony. ALL of these men are SEXY. Only one black man made the cover (Denzel). Racist, I tell you, racist.

  24. Phalluster says:

    Why aren’t any openly homosexual men on this list? Bigots!

  25. Hi Joanna

    Why not get rid of infantile things like that.
    I do not care if the men or are brown,green,blue,orange or violet.

    This phenomena of declaring some persons as the most sexy of the years is silly and is counterproductive in creating a sex positive society for all..

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  1. [...] to Channing Tatum indicates that the entire “contest” is racist.  Joanna Schroeder asks the question in the headline, and a good rule of thumb for question-headlines is that the answer is always [...]

  2. [...] been plenty of articles over the years about whether People’s Sexiest Man practices are racist, but the root problem is more that they’re overwhelmingly safe. People pretty much always chooses [...]

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