For obvious reasons, lists of hot women are a staple of men’s magazines. Not only do people like lists, as anyone familiar with social media sites like Digg knows, but men like looking at beautiful women. Putting the two together, then, is pure ratings gold.
There are a lot of these lists out there but the two that get the most attention every year are the venerable Esquire‘s Sexiest Woman Alive and lad mag FHM‘s 100 Sexiest Women in the World. Lesser lights such as Maxim‘s Hot 100 and AskMen’s 99 Most Desirable Women abound.
Here, according to Esquire, are the sexiest women alive for each year since they started formally keeping track in 2004:
2008 – Halle Barry
2007 – Charlize Theron
2006 – Scarlett Johansson
2005 – Jessica Biel
2004 – Angelina Jolie
The links take you to photo galleries and interviews with the sexiest women alive. You should be able to find more interesting pictures of each of them without much trouble.
How about FHM? Well, rather than picking just one hottie, they pick the 100 sexiest. Here’s there top choice, though, for each year:
2009 – Frieda Pinto
2008 - Megan Fox
2007 - Jessica Alba
2006 – Kiera Knightley
2005 – Kelly Brook
2004 -Britney Spears
FHM’s list goes way back to 1995, when Claudia Schiffer won. The scholars and gentlemen running the FHM Top 100 Sexiest Women blog have painstakingly compiled each of those lists; the above is enough for our purposes here.
Let me just begin by saying that I wouldn’t quibble with any of these selections (although I must confess to having never heard of Frieda Pinto even though I’ve seen “Slumdog Millionaire”).
But what happened between the years?
Okay, so I understand Britney Spears. She’s alternately stunningly beautiful and scary. And maybe Angelina Jolie got one too many tattoos — or adopted one too many orphans — to stay atop the list. It’s quite competitive, after all! But has Megan Fox really dropped off that much since last year? I’ve promised my colleague, Dodd, exclusive rights to posts regarding Ms. Fox. Suffice it to say, though, that she remains quite lovely.
Further, what explains the disparity between the FHM and Esquire lists? There has been exactly zero overlap over the past five years between the two. Indeed, no single woman has topped one list and appeared on the other in five tries. (Although there is rumor that Megan Fox, THE woman of summer 2009, will top Esquire’s list for 2009, breaking that streak.)
I get that these lists are for entertainment value and that there’s no scientific method for measuring hotness that would satisfy everyone. But you would think that there would be a consensus “It” girl at least on occasion.