People magazine recently selected Julia Roberts, star of films like Pretty Woman and Eat, Pray, Love, as their choice for World’s Most Beautiful Woman 2017.
This is the fifth time Julia’s been given this honour and while it’s great that People have chosen a woman who is almost 50, it has also chosen someone who is a white, conventionally attractive, able-bodied, cisgender female, who honestly hasn’t been relevant for a while now.
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Julia. I think she’s beautiful too, but I also think that in 2017 there should be a lot more diversity in choosing who gets to hold be the world’s most beautiful woman title.
Did you know that out of the 26 Most Beautiful People chosen by the magazine over the years, the title has been earned by 19 white women?
Halle Berry became the first black woman to have the Most Beautiful title bestowed on her in 2003. Jennifer Lopez was the first (and so far only) Latina person in 2011. Beyoncé grabbed the honour in 2012 and Lupita Nyong'o did the same in 2014.
And only three men have held the title and none of them are people of colour.
Why couldn’t the World’s Most Beautiful Person have been someone like transgender actress and activist Laverne Cox or a Paralympian like swimmers Michelle Konkoly or Jessica Long? Or how about a 'plus-sized' woman of colour like Gabourey Sidibe?
Why in this day and age are we still subscribed to a certain idea of beauty? And what exactly makes these people more beautiful anyway?
Do they have some sort of rubric with criteria for beauty? Do you need to have flawless skin and be instantly recognisable? Or “good hair”? What exactly makes these women so much more beautiful than any other? And what makes Julia Roberts beautiful enough to be chosen for a fifth time?
Perhaps we should do away with the entire concept of World’s Most Beautiful Person or just change it so that it’s actually inclusive of women who don’t only represent one part of the population that has the same gender or sexual identity.
What's your take on this story? Who do you think should have been word's most beautiful? Tell us.