People Magazine's 100 Most Beautiful People List.
People Magazine has published their 100 Most Beautiful People List for 2009. Now, I haven't been one to pay particular attention to this list, in the past, but something made me take notice this time. The list is full of people who shouldn't be on it.
What does it mean to be one of the world's "most beautiful" people? Well, to me, it means to have such great visual appeal, in the aesthetic sense, that almost no-one approaches it. It is clear, however, that this is not what "most beautiful" means for People Magazine.
The biggest surprise of the list is that Michelle Obama, the First Lady, is featured. Now, I have nothing against the woman, but "most beautiful" she is most certainly not. She is well-dressed and well presented and smiles a lot...but that does not make her one of the world's most beautiful women. To say that she is diminishes all the other women who are more beautiful than her - who, in my estimate, would constitute about 45% of the world's women. Michelle Obama, is slightly above average in appearance - and no more. She does not, if one is being truthful, honest and unbiased, have the physical wherewithal to be accounted one of the world's most beautiful people.
There are other surprises, too. Timothy Geithner, Treasury Secretary, appears on the list, as does White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel. Again, these men are well presented, and very polished...but that only makes them well presented and very polished, not "most beautiful" - though it has to be said that both are much better looking people than Michelle Obama, relative to other men. Perhaps this list should be renamed to: the Most Influential but Not Ugly, list, or The People we Most Need to Suck Up to list, or Well Dressed Famous People list.
Other inclusions in the list have more justification: Robert Pattinson, vampiric star of Twilight, has a place, as does Halle Berry. Also present are others, such as Angelina Jolie who is widely considered very beautiful but of whom I have never thought so (some of her features are disproportionate).
A walk down the high street of any major city in the world would reveal better looking people in half an hour, than are contained on this list. The only difference is that such "beautiful people" are unknowns. This People Magazine list is a meaningless annual rite, in that it does not live up to its name. It would be great if it did...it would then be truly of interest, to see who were the most beautiful humans on Earth. However, the Most Beautiful People list is not even remotely a catalogue of the world's greatest beauties. It is a catalogue of well presented famous people, nothing more. It is a list that confuses fame with beauty, that confuses being well-dressed, with beautiful, that confuses influence with being beautiful. Beauty does not come from fame, good clothes, or influence...beauty is in the person, innately, if it is there, at all. It comes from a perfect symmetry of the features, a balanced proportion of the body, a quality of skin and hair, an overall aesthetic perfection of form. It is something immediately obvious when seen - and it is also immediately obvious that quite a few of the Most Beautiful People, do not have it. The most obvious case is Michelle Obama who does not remotely qualify, in the Most Beautiful People category, if one were to be truly impartial. She belongs on other lists: lists of influential people, of well-connected people, of famous people...she does not belong on a Most Beautiful People list.
What worries me about such lists is that they tend to influence the way people think. A principle is at stake here, even though who is beautiful or not, is not a particularly important issue. The principle is that when accolades are given they should truly represent what they are stated to be. Otherwise, people get a distorted idea of the world. In this case, the Most Beautiful People list does not truly represent the world's most beautiful people - it represents a selection of well-presented famous people, at least one of whom is perfectly AVERAGE in appearance. To say that it is a true record of the world's most beautiful people is to lie to the world's people. This is unfortunate, for there are people who will read this list and believe it...they will not trust their own eyes, which might say otherwise, but will actually believe that not only is Michelle Obama, lucky enough to be First Lady, but that she is also lucky enough to be one of the world's top 100 most beautiful people.
In another sense, Michelle Obama's inclusion trivializes her position. Being First Lady should not be about being beautiful - it should be about her role in support of her husband's leadership of a great nation. That People Magazine think she must also be beautiful, is an illustration of what Americans think is important. For modern Americans, looking good is considered to be of immense value. It seems, from this example, that it is of more value than being married to a President and supporting him in his daily role.
I would like to see a very different kind of "Most Beautiful People" list. I would like to see a list populated not with well-dressed famous people...but the 100 people who are truly the world's most beautiful. I wonder how many of them would be completely unknown to the public before their inclusion? I strongly suspect that many of them would be. Now, that would be a list worth looking at.
(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and seven months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, five years exactly, and Tiarnan, twenty-eight months, please go to:http://scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com/2006/10/scientific-child-prodigy-guide.html I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, wunderkind, wonderkind, genio, гений ребенок prodigy, genie, μεγαλοφυία θαύμα παιδιών, bambino, kind.
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