Emma Watson Tops Askmen's Pleasantly Diverse & Thoughtful 99 Outstanding Women List

Even though their URL alone is a little mansplainy, I have to give credit where credit is due to AskMen for changing the usual fare of their annual ladies roundup. On Thursday, they published a list of who they've elected as this past year's 99 Most Outstanding Women, a long overdue update to their former "Most Desirable List." Initially it seems like AskMen is condescending to women — do we really need to ask a men's publication to tell us which women are outstanding? But AskMen did an honorable job making the list, culling from hundreds of powerful women in Hollywood, sports, tech and politics to form their 99. Emma Watson topped the list at #1, but there were a number of contenders in the top ten who were surprising, new faces of powerful women that I hadn't seen before.

Publisher James Bassil wrote in a press release about the list,

This year's list is not only a reflection of a shift in the media, but also a shift in modern male thinking. We wanted to steer away from "hot" lists and highlight women who have demonstrated a sheer influence in their industry. We were looking for women who are doing something new this year, something that demonstrates their versatility and raw talent.

And in versatility and raw talent the list is full. As mentioned, the artist formerly known as Hermione Granger, and now a UN representative for the HeForShe Campaign, Emma Watson is at number one. But number two surprised me: Ronda Rousey, a record-breaking UFC fighter who is fighting sexism in the sport and started the hashtag #LikeAGirl to blow up just how sexist and outdated that insult is. And at number six was a name I didn't know, that of billionaire tech mogul Elizabeth Holmes, whose company, Theranos, searches for simpler and more affordable ways to blood test and who is only 31-years old. THAT is power.

Demonstrating their selection and ranking process in a short video, AskMen said they started from the very ground up and went about it methodically. They separated the contenders into categories like "Power Players," "Star Performers," and "MVPs," then consulted respected experts in the women's respective fields and asked their audience to weigh in. That kind of commitment to objectivity is pretty baller, I do have to say.

And the list shows that diversity. There are a number of women of color in the top 99, including our lady Beyoncé at #7, Serena Williams at #10, then further down, Laverne Cox, Michelle Obama, Ava DuVernay, Tracy Chou (the CEO of Pinterest)... There are a number of faces I had never seen before until this list, and anything that will introduce me and millions of other readers, male or female, to amazing and ass-kicking women gets two thumbs up in my book. The whole list is definitely worth a read, especially if you're looking for some inspiration.

Image: Getty Images