100 most beautiful women not sexy enough?!

// 23 May 2005

The Times today published a truely unpleasant column, ripe with sexism, by Richard Morrison. (Thanks to Londonist for pointing this one out).

Morrison comes across as a randy old man, as he salivates over “so much female leg, tit, tum and butt” on the London Underground, “that it\x92s damn difficult for a chap to keep his mind on his su doku”.

Once more, the excuse for all this is for Morrison to claim that Harpers & Queen’s list of the 100 most beautiful women must have been compiled “by women for women” because some of the women don’t adhere to his own personal concept of sex appeal.

If the list wasn’t made up by women, then it must have been made by gay men. Or, as Morrison puts it, “interior decorators, hairdressers and Judy Garland devotees”.

In his own words: “I must say that the list has its peculiar aspects. For instance, I am second to none in my gratitude for Virginia Woolf\x92s novels; I find them much more effective than Mogadon. But to hail that beaky Bloomsbury visage as one of the surpassing beauties of the pre-First World War era (along with four grim Russian grand-duchesses) is a dreadful slur on Edwardian women \x97who were a vivacious, bedhopping bunch by all accounts. As for the decisions to anoint Barbra Streisand and Vanessa Redgrave as two of the 25 most luscious birds of the 1960s and 1970s, or that histrionic Greek diva Maria Callas as one of the top totties of the 1950s \x97 these are surely acts of eccentricity bordering on the certifiably loony.”

As it happens, the list is actually pretty much your staple conventional beauty-a-thon, making Morrison’s comments even more a) ridiculous and b) offensive, as he wants to narrow down what is already a very narrow set of arbitrary standards to his own view of women – “leg, tit, tum and butt”.

Meanwhile, Londonist also points out there is a brilliant Frida Kahlo exhibition on at the Tate Modern at the moment, an icon of the 20th century. Lover to Diego Rivera and possibly Trotsky, some of her most famous paintings were self portraits that display her own unconventional beauty.

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