'People' Is Surprisingly Diverse In Their "Most Beautiful" Choices, So Let's Give Them Some Golf Claps
I'm not proud of this, but as a human being living in 2015, I've come to expect a certain level of racial ignorance from my surroundings — especially when it comes to the world of pop culture. When I heard Sandra Bullock had been named People Magazine 's Most Beautiful Person of the Year, I rolled my eyes a little. Not that she isn't entirely deserving on a variety of levels, but I've gotten so used to people of color being passed over for these awards and recognitions that I assumed that was what was happening here. I've seen enough casts whitewashed, observed enough tokenism, and heard enough people call Quvenzhané Wallis "Little Q" on the red carpet because her name was too complicated, that it's unfortunately what I've come to expect from Hollywood.
But, as it turns out, the People Magazine cover is not more of the same, and it only takes a few minutes of digging to find that out. That's not to say that there weren't worthy non-white candidates this year; I'm just saying that People has done surprisingly well with making diversity a focus with recent Most Beautiful selections. In the past five years alone, the magazine has honored Jennifer Lopez (2011), Beyonce (2012), and Lupita Nyong'o (2014), with Gwyneth Paltrow and Bullock rounding out the list.
That represents a pretty impressive commitment to diversity, especially when you consider the fact that, until the 2010s, there had only ever been one non-white honoree: Halle Berry in 2003. Other than that, it was Angelina Jolies and Kate Hudsons and Drew Barrymores (and Mel Gibsons, Tom Cruises, and Leonardo DiCaprios, between 1996 and 1999, when they went on a crusade of giving the award to men), as far as the eye can see — all the way back to 1990, when the magazine first started awarding the title.
So sure, we could focus on the embarrassing fact that People's Most Beautiful Person of the Year has been white 22 times, and person of color just four (tying, incidentally, with the number of times Julia Roberts has been on the cover), or we could applaud the magazine for finally starting to make a diligent, dedicated effort to expand their standards of beauty to include more than one race. It might be an awkward journey at first, and we have a long way to go, but I have a feeling we're headed in the right direction.
Images: Giphy (2)