A Pinch of Perception: Sex Sells

Ah it’s that time of the year again… no, not Halloween, and not time to drink pumpkin spice lattes. It’s time to name the Sexiest Woman Alive! Esquire’s annual crowning of the most fabulous female has rolled around once again. This year, the title goes to — drum roll, please — Scarlett Johansson! This is the voluptuous vixen’s second time to saunter in to take the honor.

But is it really such an honor?

Ericka's Column

Men gather to rank a woman based on her looks. She is compared and contrasted to fellow females of equal sexy merit. In this perverse, yet more civilized, twist on the Hunger Games, one wins out over all of them and is given the title of “the Sexiest Woman.” Worst of all, women don’t even know that they’re being thrust into this arena to battle other women based on mere attractiveness.

Intelligence, kindness, honesty, endurance: these mean nothing in the face of aesthetic appeal. Sure, these values help to keep people’s interests, but they’re rarely the catcher. You hear people making lewd comments about the other gender, but you never hear anyone winking as they say, “That personality.”

But I’m not pointing the finger of blame at men. Women rank men based on looks, too. Women drool over Channing Tatum and Johnny Depp just as much as men salivate over Scarlett Johansson and Rihanna.

I’m not accusing any gender of demeaning the other; the problem is that society is too oversexed. We spend too much time focused on our appearances. Do we have abs? Do we have curves? Is our hair perfectly in place? Did we put on too much make-up?

Then, we proceed to judge others based on this sexiness rubric. If they don’t measure up, in the petty way of humans, we smugly congratulate ourselves and simper at the lesser people. If they end up defying the rubric with their stunning sex appeal, we put them on a pedestal and strive to be like them.

The entire objectification of humans is absurd. We’re in the 21st century, people. Even the ancient Greeks didn’t singly worship Aphrodite; they worshipped Athena equally. If people thousands of years ago could do it, we can, too. Let’s not revert back to the age of the apes. We need to look past sex appeal and look at personality appeal, too.