5 Women Who Deserve People’s ‘Most Beautiful’ Title More Than Julia Roberts

People Magazine probably thought it was doing something noble when it named Julia Roberts as its “Most Beautiful” woman of 2017. After all, she’s nearly 50—practically prehistoric in Hollywood terms, especially compared to the first time she graced the issue’s cover in 1991 at the ripe old age of 23. But when you’ve chosen the same actress a record five times, the tradition starts to seem stale. Society’s perception of beauty continues to evolve, but People’s formula remains the same. Maybe it’s time to shake things up? Here are just five women who’ve redefined beauty on their own terms, earning them the right to the title (even if they didn’t make the list in the first place).

Betty White

One quick glance at the “Most Beautiful” list reveals that Oprah Winfrey’s the oldest person on this year’s roster. (She’s 63.) But why must People perpetuate the notion that youth equals beauty? If age truly isn’t an issue for those doling out the title, White surely deserves the honor. (They could’ve included her, at least.) She’s America’s sweetheart. She’s devoted literal decades to the entertainment world and, at 95, she’s still as spry, feisty, and funny as ever. Honestly, she’s beautiful in ways that these younger women can only aspire to achieve one day.

Hillary Clinton

When it comes to Clinton, the term “nasty woman” comes to mind. But after the impact she’s had on the women’s movement in recent months, her legacy will be one of the most beautiful things to emerge from our tumultuous political situation. Though she might’ve lost the 2016 election, Clinton’s attempt to break the glass ceiling has inspired 11,000 women to seek office, while encouraging countless others to fight for their human rights. She embodies the adversity women face every day, yet she still persists. If that sort of resilience and tenacity isn’t beautiful, then this world’s uglier than we thought.

Laverne Cox

Despite the fact that many people claim they’re inclusive, the transgender community has yet to gain complete acceptance throughout society. Cox, however, has been working diligently to fight for both transgender rights and women’s rights ever since she broke into the business. She represents the beauty America has to offer, if only we’d take the time to listen and understand, and such an honor could be instrumental in sparking critical conversations. Yes, it’d likely create controversy, but that’s precisely why we need to increase transgender visibility. Cox not only deserves the title, but naming her “Most Beautiful” might also help young people struggling with their own transition recognize that they’re not alone.

Michelle Obama

Our former First Lady has always been the embodiment of class and dignity. She’s beautiful on the outside thanks to her love of physical fitness, and she’s beautiful on the inside because she stands up for what she believes in no matter the obstacles. Beyond all else, Mrs. Obama has always been a champion for young girls. She’s taught this generation that education and intellectual pursuits are far more important than fixating on your outward appearance. She inspires females of all ages to pursue their passions and ignore the haters. In this instance, beauty isn’t just visual—it’s mental, too.

Melissa McCarthy

Jerry Lewis once claimed women cannot be funny. But anyone who’s witnessed McCarthy’s scathing impression of Press Secretary Sean Spicer on SNL knows that assertion couldn’t be further from the truth. McCarthy has emerged as one of the leading comedians of our time. While she might’ve initially won our hearts as Sookie St. James on Gilmore Girls, she has since become one of the most in-demand actresses in the industry (all without some stick-thin figure, mind you). From the looks of things, Chrissy Metz and Adele appear to be the only full figure gals on the list, perpetuating the notion that bigger isn’t always considered beautiful. But when “big” applies to the laughs you get from the live studio audience, dress size doesn’t (and shouldn’t) matter.


(This post originally appeared on Storia.)


The Legalization of Prostitution

When Donna Summer “works hard for the money,” we think of nothing more than “bad girls” singing a catchy disco tune that gets us on our feet.  When we are reminded of Julia Roberts’ famous role as a hooker in Pretty Woman, we think of an unlucky woman just trying to pay the bills who gets lucky – yes, it has two meanings – when Richard Gere whisks her away and turns her into the classy gal we all knew was hiding under that platinum blonde wig.  But once we turn our heads back to reality, we realize that prostitution is hardly rewarded with gold records and shopping sprees, but two silver bracelets and a lovely orange jumpsuit.

Yet reality keeps trying to convince us otherwise.  (Forgive me, I meant reality television, not reality realty.)

All based upon the phony concept of “finding true love,” we find season after season of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette slathered across our TV screens because, in lieu of creativity, the TV powers that be think that watching 25 women throw themselves at a single man (and vice versa) is the new wave of entertainment. This love fest culminates in the dramatic outpouring of emotions and inevitable proposal, followed by the couple’s eventual separation, keeping misguided fans talking long after their 15 minutes are up.

And now, ABC has brought back past Bachelor and Bachelorette rejects in a new reality series, riding a wave that has quickly morphed into the tsunami of overkill.  If watching one man or woman flirt, kiss and reach near pornographic levels with 25 members of the opposite sex in just a number of weeks wasn’t sleazy enough for your viewing pleasure, the creators of Bachelor Pad have upped the ante, adding a $250,000 bonus as incentive in an already deceptive crowd.

Now, in Survivor-like fashion, these 19 contestants – 11 women and 8 men – will compete in various challenges.  The winner will then get to choose three members of the opposite sex to take on a date, one of which will gain immunity when the cast decides who should stay or who should go at the end of the episode.  (This is where I could begin an annoying and much too feminist rant on what the gender imbalance could very well imply, but I think you can all draw your own conclusions pretty well.)  Here, these lovely cast members play for love and money… but mostly money.  (Read this article by Entertainment Weekly’s Mandi Bierly posted earlier today for more information.)

They are, in a sense, selling themselves by using their sexuality and permiscuous nature to earn quite a large payout.  And while I do not want to sound overly judgemental, I do believe streetwalkers and gigolos use the very same tactic.

We will watch them fight, play, scream, cry and kiss all for our entertainment and their own monetary gain – porn for primetime television, if you will.  The only spark of reality that will ever gleam from this show is the hard truth that television continues to wane in the creativity department, while the viewing audience continues to gobble up this garbage, voluntarily demeaning themselves and nixing any chance for intellectual respect.  In fact, perhaps the biggest perpetrators are those who have unleashed such horrendous intellectual crimes on our culture, numbing our minds so we’ll never notice the atrocious programming they continue to slap in our faces.  Because if these shows and these contestants accurately represent today’s reality, then what they say about the world going to Hell in a handbasket really rings true.  Loud and clear.

(Photo courtesy of abc.com.)