Every year, People magazine churns out a list deeming who the most beautiful woman on Planet Earth currently is. In 2015, the title goes to Sandra Bullock, who later said she accepted the designation so she could talk about the women that she found beautiful. But seizing the opportunity to address the media's fixation on women's age and looks, Sandra Bullock eloquently took on the troubling issue that perpetuates the concept of valuing a woman based on her looks alone.
"I feel like it's become open hunting season in how women are attacked, and it's not because of who we are as people, it's because of how we look or our age," Bullock told E! "I'm shocked — and maybe I was just naïve, but I'm embarrassed by it. My son is getting ready to grow up in this world and I'm trying to raise a good man who values and appreciates women, and here we have this attack on women in the media that I don't see a stop happening."
She also expressed concern how these ideas of a woman's value being based on her age and beauty will affect young girls, who are, partly due to these superficial standards, being bullied on the Internet. "Somebody with a very large hand and big voice needs to put a stop to it," she said.
People's standards for this incongruous contest — and it is a contest, pitting celebrities against one another to see who's more "beautiful" — are either kept hush-hush, or might just be an intricate battle between Hollywood publicists. But it's clear that their "guidelines" for beautiful women are incredibly narrowly defined: svelte, traditionally beautiful women, not over the age of, since Bullock's crowning, 50.
But Bullock said that the women in the industry have grouped together to protect each other from the hungry media. "You'd be surprised at the love that you have in our crazy industry," she told E! "The women have bonded together and have sort of become this tribe of trying to take care of each other and be there for each other in a way, because the minute you step out it's an onslaught."
Women in Hollywood have been pushing back against the sexism in the industry. Recently, Rose McGowan revealed that her agent had fired her for pointing out sexist behavior in a casting call for an Adam Sandler movie. Comedian Amy Schumer also tackled the entertainment industry's sexism with a brilliant sketch featuring Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
But Bullock is handling the issue with stride. Of People magazine considering Bullock this year's "most beautiful woman," she said:
I laughed when [People] said they're gonna be generous and bestow me this wonderful privilege, but I said if I can talk about the amazing women who I find beautiful, which are these women who rise above and take care of business and do wonderful things, and take care of each other, then I'm more than honored to be on the cover of this.
[Cover image via Jason Merritt/Getty Images]