Some of you may have heard over the weekend that Men’s Health magazine named actress Jennifer Aniston “The Hottest Woman of All Time.”
While I fully admit going through a “Rachel” phase when “Friends” ruled the airwaves in the 1990s, I have to admit that I found this one a bit of a head-scratcher. There is no doubt that Ms. Aniston is an attractive woman:
But lovelier than Rita Hayworth?
Or Veronica Lake?
Or Lana Turner?
Or even such contemporary beauties as Rachel Weisz or Kate Beckinsale?
Men and women could debate it all day. Marilyn Monroe? Jayne Mansfield? Claudia Cardinale? Sofia Loren? Hedy Lamarr?
There’s lots of “eye of the beholder” going on here. And, once again, I don’t intend to cast any aspersions on Ms. Aniston, who’s both talented and lovely. There are great beauties from every generation.
But more importantly, stories like this spark a genuine debate: How fair is it for an actress to have her entire body of work judged based solely on her body? That seems sexist, reductive and unnecessarily patronizing.
Ultimately, it seems like stories like this have less to do with artistic merit (again, no diss on Ms. Aniston) and more to do with Hollywood’s bottomless promotional machine.