David Beckham is 2015’s Sexiest Man Alive, according to People. David is the 30th man to be honored by the publication with this title, and while it’s impossible to deny that “tough and tender” David is actually a perfect sex god, anyone who’s ever heard of him knows that he’s been sexy for forever. So why is it that, to use Jezebel’s headline, a “retired father of four” who has been MIA for pretty much the whole year is suddenly named the Sexiest Man Alive in 2015?
Denzel Washington is the only black man to have been named Sexiest Man Alive by People. That was in 1996. Idris Elba, who has garnered Oscar buzz for his role in Beasts of No Nation and is in talks to play the next James Bond, still hasn’t been named Sexiest Man Alive. He was named Sexiest Record Breaker by People this year. Jussie Smollett was named Sexiest Breakout Star, but what the hell do either of these mean, anyway? The only title people really pay attention to is Sexiest Man Alive.
Black men have made the top 10 of People’s Sexiest Men Alive list, but with the exception of Denzel, they never take the cover. Why is this? There are plenty men of color, including Asian and mixed-race men, who could have made this year’s cover. I see you thirst-trapping on Instagram, Tyson Beckford. You’re out here more than David Beckham. (And, you’re just an icon.)
Even David is a little confused as to why he was named the Sexiest Man Alive this year. He posted his People cover to Instagram last night, captioning it, “Thought I was past my sell by date but thanks to @PeopleMag for the accolade and the compliment!”
What does it say about People that 29 out of the 30 men who have received this title are straight white dudes?
George Clooney and Brad Pitt have been named Sexiest Man Alive twice, and yet we can’t get a man of color back up on that cover? Huh? People’s lack of diversity in their Sexiest Man Alive selections tells me that either they don’t think that any man of color other than Denzel is sexy enough or that People wants me to believe that “sexy” is synonymous with “white.” No and no.
I could continue with a list of men who would be just as—if not better—suited to be Sexiest Man Alive, but I digress. The point is that it’s 2015. Why are the media’s ideas of what sexy means still so narrow? People is supposed to represent pop culture—not just the white people in it. So, please, stop delaying the portrayal of diversity on your magazine covers. Even Vogue is getting with it.
Speaking of diversity, how much longer do we have to wait to see a hot gay man be named Sexiest Man Alive? Oh, and let me just throw this out there before I leave: Do you think a retired mother of four would ever be dubbed Sexiest Woman Alive?