The year is ending, which means that every website on earth is coming up with a Top 10 or Best of 2008 feature of some kind. I am reluctantly drawn to these lists — I feel utterly obligated to read them, even though they usually could be summarized as “Hey, look at my [intellect/hipster taste/class status] I ASSURE YOU IT’S ALMOST AS LARGE AS MY GIANT COCK.” So when Samhita at Feministing linked to this list of Touré’s “Thinking Man Sex Symbols,” despite the warning that it was a train wreck (Samhita: “Every line is like a work of art”), I had to look.
Samhita already highlighted this gem from the intro:
A man has two minds. The lower mind is a brainless whore excited by any woman with breasts, curves, and a thong. The upper mind, which works with actual grey matter, is more persnickety. The upper mind, when employed, is moved by intelligence, success, power, self-confidence, a smart sense of humor, and, of course, not having a castrating nature.
Unthinking heteronormativity? Check. Dismissal of men as hormone-driven walking penises? Check. Reference to castration? Check! Clearly, what we have ourselves here is a Thinking Man.
I’m not against talking about (or even listing) sexxxy people, and I don’t think any of the women featured here are anything less than gorgeous. (I mean, M.I.A.? She kicks 20 kinds of ass.) But this list embodies a certain kind of self-congratulatory false feminism that we’ve seen a lot of in this Palin-tastic year. Men falling all over themselves to proclaim how hot they think Tina Fey’s glasses are do not constitute the revolution in beauty standards that some seem to think. I’m reminded of the line in The Devil Wears Prada when Meryl Streep’s character says (of Anne Hathaway’s character), “I decided to take a chance on the smart fat girl.”
The faults of this list are probably too dumb and too obvious to spend this many words on, but it just smells so strongly of eau de douchebag that it’s hard to resist. Congratulations, Thinking Men! You’ve taken a list of highly accomplished women and rebranded it as a list of hotties, and then you’ve given yourself a cookie for it. When the most complex thing you have to say about Samantha Power, author of A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide and team Obama member, is “Sam’s a ride-or-die chick, willing to slay anyone [i.e., Hillary Clinton] for her man,” you fail at geopolitics, feminism, sexiness, thinking, and metaphor all at once. No wonder hot chicks never go for nice thinking guys!