Century seen by a one-track mind

Paul Vallely@pvall
Sunday 23 October 2011 07:03

QUITE WHO came up with the entries for Playboy magazine's 100 sexiest women of the 20th century is not quite clear. Were they voted upon by the mag's sad readers? Or simply dreamt up by the staff in the fetid atmosphere of its photographic department?

Either way the result is drearily predictable. The list reads like a lexicon of Bill Clinton's schoolboy, or perhaps in the President's case not so schoolboy, fantasies - all big hair, large breasts and wide, wide mouths.

It starts with Marilyn Monroe and then goes downhill - Raquel Welch, Cindy Crawford and even the unnaturally configured Pamela Anderson are all in the top 10.

It is a lust-list preserved in aspic. There may be a preponderance of modern names but the template is still essentially Hollywood circa 1955. Pouting, sultry, curvaceous etc. Playboy may have got rid of its Bunnies but the really important things clearly never change.

Should we care? No self- respecting feminist these days even bothers to picket the Miss World contest with its tired attempts at modernity (ditching the high heels and swimsuit image in favour of promoting the environment). So why should anyone bother to object to this jaded breast fest?

It's not merely the limited nature of the physical template. British model agencies were yesterday lamenting the omission from the list of Kate Moss or others in the super-waif tradition.

What is so wearying is the assumption that sexuality resides in posturing physicality.

Where is the recognition that some people - such as some of the Tory men who surrounded Margaret Thatcher in her glory days - find power a turn on? Or the scornful authority of a Princess Anne? Or the quick wit of a Dawn French? Or the cool poise of an Ingrid Bergman who is the kind of film star noticeably absent from the list?

Sexiness may go beyond immediate appearances, but men's magazines, it seems, never can.

Playboy's Top 100 women are :

1. Marilyn Monroe

2. Jayne Mansfield

3. Raquel Welch

4. Brigitte Bardot

5. Cindy Crawford

6. Sophia Loren

7. Elizabeth Taylor

8. Pamela Anderson

9. Bo Derek

10. Jean Harlow

11. Rita Hayworth

12. Kim Basinger

13. Ann-Margret

14. Anita Ekberg

15. Jenny McCarthy

16. Farrah Fawcett

17. Betty Grable

18. Kim Novak

19. Ursula Andress

20. Gina Lollobrigida

21. Evelyn Nesbit

22. Jane Russell

23. Elle Macpherson

24. Sharon Stone

25. Lana Turner

26. Grace Kelly

27. Stella Stevens

28. Jane Fonda

29. Mamie Van Doren

30. June Wilkinson

31. Elke Sommer

32. Marlene Dietrich

33. Bettie Page

34. Linda Lovelace

35. Madonna

36. Heather Locklear

37. Vanessa Williams

38. Joan Collins

39. Candy Loving

40. Clara Bow

41. Josephine Baker

42. Angie Dickinson

43. Hedy Lamarr

44. Mae West

45. Catherine Deneuve

46. Donna Michelle

47. Halle Berry

48. Candy Barr

49. Brooke Shields

50. Suzanne Somers

51. Greta Garbo

52. Theda Bara

53. Christa Speck

54. Vanna White

55. Dorothy Stratten

56. Barbi Benton

57. Tempest Storm

58. Barbara Eden

59. Claudia Schiffer

60. Christie Brinkley

61. Stephanie Seymour

62. Patti McGuire

63. Sally Rand

64. Michelle Pfeiffer

65. Naomi Campbell

66. Demi Moore

67. Ava Gardner

68. Anna Nicole Smith

69. Lili St Cyr

70. Paulina Porizkova

71. Janet Jackson

72. Cheryl Tiegs

73. Irish McCalla

74. Cynthia Myers

75. Diana Rigg

76. Kathy Ireland

77. Liv Lindeland

78. Gypsy Rose Lee

79. Lena Horne

80. Linda Evans

81. Shannon Tweed

82. Gene Tierney

83. Janet Pilgrim

84. Joan Crawford

85. Loni Anderson

86. Jacqueline Bisset

87. Louise Brooks

88. Julie Newmar

89. Terry Moore

90. Lynda Carter

91. Marilyn Chambers

92. Diana Dors

93. Fay Wray

94. Carroll Baker

95. Katarina Witt

96. DeDe Lind

97. Dolly Parton

98. Blaze Starr

99. Mata Hari

100. Lillian Muller

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