The issue features Beyoncé, on its cover as “Miss Millennium” and includes spreads of Jessica Simpson, Kim Kardashian, Kate Upton, Megan Fox, Mila Kunis and Katie Holmes. The controversy started with the new ethnic specific categories that bear names like “Hottest Indian Chick”: Freida Pinto, “Hottest Pregnant Sri Lankan”: M.I.A, “Hottest Italian Chick”: Monica Bellucci, “Hottest Chinese Chick”: Zhang Ziyi.
Even though there isn’t something essentially wrong with calling a woman a “hot Chinese” the apparently arbitrary racial call-outs started some commotion. For example, Beyoncé, is deemed “Miss Millennium” with no reference to her ethnicity. She could have very well been the “Miss African-American Millennium”. Mila Kunis ranked in the magazine’s top three hottest women but her Ukrainian origin was never mentioned.
Ruth C. White, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Social Work in the Department of Anthropology, Sociology, and Social Work at Seattle University, thinks that the magazine should have presented the categories in a pageant manner, like a list of the most beautiful women from every country in the world. The way it was done, including some women’s ethnicity and leaving others’ out, implies that women aren’t beautiful on their own but only judged within the boundaries of their ethnicity.
The constant objectifying of women is an old issue, but presenting the celebrities as mere tokens of their ethnicity sets a new low.