Magazine Ranks Celebs by Their Breasts. It's Enough With the Sexist 'Sexy' Lists

Tatler's May issue A British society magazine is getting heaps of attention for a controversial celebrity list in its latest issue. A bizarrely sophomoric three-page spread in the May edition Tatler ranks the breasts of 34 accomplished public figures. That's right, it's a list of breasts. And not just any breasts, but the "most magnificent, marvelous breasts in all society," according to the magazine.

The magazine gives dubious praise to women including Helen Mirren (“Theatrical Tits”), Helena Bonham-Carter (“Gothic Tits”) and former Parliament member turned writer and social-media user Louise Mensch (“Tweeting Tits”).

Not surprisingly, readers are having pretty strong reactions. There are currently protest groups organizing on Twitter and Facebook, describing the spread as "demeaning and degrading."  

Fashion bloggers have joined the chorus of outrage. "We know times are tough in the world of print, but magazines must still have some kind of vetting system in place before an issue gets sent off to the publisher, right?" asks Styleite's Hilary George-Parkin, who calls the spread "ill-conceived."

Add it to the list. Magazines and websites love ranking women by their physical attributes in so-called celebration of sexiness. Back in January, GQ decided to break down their picks for the 100 sexiest women of the Century by ethnicity and, yes, fertility. (Female celebrities were filed under terms like, "Hottest Chinese Chick" and "Hottest Pregnant Sri Lankan.") And let's not forget Victoria's Secret's breakdown of 2010's hottest stars—by body parts, of course. Scarlett Johansson's lips and Carrie Underwood's legs topped their list.

The fact that Tatler zeroed in on chests is offensive, but sadly, not surprising. Remember Seth McFarlane's Oscar stunt a few months back? Some the best actresses alive were boiled down to their mammary glands, and everyone was supposed to laugh.

And apparently boob jokes are feminist now, according to the Guardian's Alexandra Jones.

“The thing is, Tatler is staffed by women, almost exclusively, and so it's safe to say that they have tits of their own,” writes Jones . “Barer boobs than these have, after all, become de rigueur in the fight for feminism. Just look at Femen,” she adds, referring to the topless Ukrainian protest group.

She adds, "Now, just to be clear, I'm not down with demeaning and degrading women either (I am, after all, a proper, card-carrying female myself) but I'm just not sure if Tatler is the right place to be focusing a feminist takedown."

So does the fact that this is the handiwork of female editors really make it okay?

This female editor would say no—and so would the objectified Mensch, who tweeted, “Featuring a bunch of women in public life as ‘X Tits’ is for some misogynist rag like Vice, not for a woman’s mag, however childish/snobby.” Also in agreement are the 129 supporters of a new Facebook page, “No to Titler at Tatler,” which was liked by fans including Bonham-Carter, and angry tweeters.

Here’s the thing, Tatler: Why would you want to go there—no matter what your intention—when there is no shortage of misogynists already taking care of this thoroughly tiresome angle for us?

A study in the European Journal of Social Psychology confirmed the obvious recently, concluding that the brain actually processes images of women differently than it does those of men—that, while men are seen as whole humans, women are seen in parts. Which really sucks, considering that other studies have consistently shown that objectification hurts women, contributing to everything from poor math-test results and body shame to bad moods and full-on eating disorders.

So every time someone like Seth MacFarlane yuks it up all in good fun about seeing our boobs, and every time an outlet like Victoria’s Secret or GQ or Esquire ranks women for having “Sexiest Lips” or “Hottest Legs” or for being the “Hottest Pregnant Sri Lankan,” someone somewhere internalizes those standards, and they get hurt. Even, I believe, if it’s coming from women.