So what would cause a tv show to ignore its own rules for a weekly publicity contest? By what justification would they decide that they should overrule the results of the popularity contest they were running? Could they just have been unable to comprehend that a large number of people could find a 60-year old author hot? Apparently.
I’ve had a week to calm down and reflect on what happened with the E!News contest for Hottie of the Week. For those that missed the fun, the quick summary is that E!News has a Hottie of the Week twitter contest in which whoever gets the most votes (tweets) is announced on the show as the Hottie of the Week. After a couple other successes (see here), a group of Outlander fans decided that the crown really belonged to Diana Gabaldon. In addition to being a beautiful woman, she is brilliant, creative, funny, kind, and generous with her time and energy. She has also written a series of wonderful books that have touched so many of our lives in so many ways. We worked together and dominated the contest, with many times more votes than anyone else.
Instead of following the rules as we were told them, they mentioned her, but then gave the title to someone else, saying “in the true spirit of hottie of the week.”
Shortly after this announcement, I tried to calm the other disappointed fans, saying that at least she’d been mentioned and gotten good publicity. The unfairness of E!News ignoring their own voting rules rankled, but I figured this wasn’t the largest injustice happening regarding voting these days, and not worth the time and energy to hold a grudge about. A minor annoyance that would fade quickly.
What hasn’t faded is the bitter taste being left by the seeming underlying message being sent, not just to us but to everyone. The message about what it means to be beautiful. “In the true spirit of hottie of the week.” Well- what is that spirit? We were not trying to subvert that spirit, we were trying to express those things that we find universally beautiful. Even beyond those elements of intelligence, personality and spirit that make Diana beautiful, I personally would love to look as good as she does at 40, much less at 60.
Is there an age cut-off at which you can no longer be considered beautiful? Are intellectual and creative achievements not sufficiently trendy? In terms of hot, I’d be willing to bet that more sex has been initiated based on some of Diana’s passages than the physical charms of all of their other hotties combined. Just sayin’.
“Lacking experience or the pretense of it, Jamie simply gave me all of himself, without reservation. And the depth of my response to that unsettled me completely.” -Outlander (more quotes)
What a missed opportunity on the part of E!News to make the statement (on National Book Lover’s Day, no less), that hot is not only a matter of youth and sculpted abs. A chance to say, if only for a moment, that beauty is a multi-faceted quality that does not automatically fade as you age. A chance to encourage it’s audience to look beyond the standards fed to them and to appreciate qualities of true beauty, in others as well as in themselves. That missed opportunity makes me sad.