When US Maxim came out with its Hot 100 issue this time last year, I found myself in a Greenwich Village bar with some friends bitching about yet another “hot list” that portrayed women as nothing more than busty ornaments.
A couple of beers later (OK, and maybe some margaritas), we came up with the idea for the Real Hot 100. We knew loads of young women in our social and professional circles who were doing amazing, creative – even potentially world-changing – work, but they did not have a place to show it off. If the Eva Longorias of the world have Maxim (and FHM and Stuff and every other damn magazine) to show off in, we decided that these women should have something too.
What is important about the Real Hot 100 is that it highlights the work that actual young women are doing – the ones who do not have the overwhelming desire to roll around in a sopping wet nightie. And while some of them may look good in a bikini, they know that is not all they have to offer. So there is 27-year-old Danielle Lurie, who wrote, directed and produced a film about honour killings in Turkey. There is Donna Riley, 34, a professor at Smith College’s first engineering programme specifically for women. There is a political cartoonist; a Space Studies student working with Nasa; a Protestant minister in Iowa working with the homeless; the founder of Chicago’s first woman-friendly sex shop. This is what young women are really like: motivated, smart, active and engaged.