After Selena Gomez was asked to rate herself out of 10, can we please stop reducing women's worth to a number?
Imagine a world where everybody’s personality was measured on a scale from one to ten.
Good sense of humour, the ability to listen intently to a friend’s problems (even when there’s a Beyonce song playing in the background), domestic skills of a ’50s mother-in-law, and a terrifyingly in depth knowledge of post modern architecture? That’s a good eight right there.
Unless of course, the person judging you hates architecture in all its eras, dislikes mothers-in-law and can’t bear people who play pop music when they’re trying to talk.
And even if they don’t, what about when you drink three gin and tonics on an empty stomach and suddenly find yourself crying, heavily and messily into your best friend’s birthday cake? Do you drop two points? Or three? Or four?
What about when you get one of those phone calls from a man trying to convince you that yes, you were in a car crash in 2007, and that yes, you would like to spontaneously file a claim for that long-gone bruise on your left knee – and you swear down the phone before cutting the call?
Do you maintain your eight, and hope impartial adjudicators write it all off as a blip? Or are you now a seven and a half: forever to be remembered as The One Who Hung Up That One Time?
We could go on, but we won’t. Because the thing is, it just doesn’t work. Nobody’s personality can be summed up with one number – it’s reductive and pointless and silly and unfair. And the idea of somebody else getting to decide what each number means (and which traits match up to them) is almost even more irritating than the idea of such a scale existing in the first place.
So why, oh God, why do we still think it’s OK to judge a woman’s appearance accordingly instead? Why, oh God why are we still pitting women against each other? Why, oh God, why does somebody’s ‘hotness rating’ still overshadow every single one of their personal and professional achievements?
And why, oh God why, did a radio station just ask Selena Gomez – a hugely successful singer, actress, entrepreneur and, lest we forget, actual living breathing human being with thoughts and feelings – to rate her own hotness, as according to ‘the hotness scale’ of one to ten?
‘I would say, like, [on] a premiere day, I would be a good nine,’ Gomez replied on the TJ Show, sounding unsure of herself. ‘And then on my every day I feel like a six. Gosh that sounds so bad. I feel like a six or a seven.’
The problem with interviews like this is that they just reinforce the idea that the most important thing women can achieve is attaining a uniform standard of beauty. Celebrity or not, we learn that it doesn’t matter how much we earn (less than men, thank you for asking), it doesn’t matter how many records we sell, how many films we act in, how many businesses we start – as long as we’re ‘hot’. For 22-year-old Gomez, her public worth all comes down to how she performs on a misogynistic scale of attractiveness, rather than on stage.