One of the latest posts on a blog run by Miss Travel, a website that describes itself as the "#1 Travel Dating and Travel Companion Site," featured the results of a poll conducted to discover "the sexiest nationalities on the planet" according to the website’s members. Surprisingly, none of the nationalities that made the top 10 in either the women’s or the men’s categories were from Asia or Africa.
This fact alone is discomforting, but whether this is a result of the website’s ethnocentrism depends on a few factors, including whether the poll was conducted openly (i.e. giving respondents a choice of any country they could think of), or whether a list was shown to them that excluded a lot or all Asian and African countries. Assuming the former, there could be a few reasons for the discrepancy. For example, the poll lists a "famous face" for each of the nationalities that made the top 10. While this was probably done after the poll was conducted, it points out a bigger issue — perhaps those surveyed were influenced by the fact that they couldn’t think of many prominent Asians or Africans that they had grown up regarding as beauty icons. The fact remains that the percentage of leading American entertainment figures of Asian or African descent is still relatively low, and those who are actually from Asian and African countries receive little American recognition or coverage in comparison with South American and European celebrities.
It would be harsh to put blame on either the polltakers or the website for the lack of representation. Ultimately it leads to a larger sociological issue of which features are considered attractive enough for mass appeal and leading roles. What is disappointing about the results is that the website conducted the poll in order to encourage users to look beyond their usual"dating palette." Miss Travel pointed out that “when you realize that there are a whole world of single people out there, the possibilities become endless and exciting.” The fact that the poll results came back only representing a small portion of that “whole world” kind of ruins the excitement.
Whether the whole idea of a poll judging nationalities based on "sexiness" is fair is a different argument altogether. Calling the poll harmful might be a stretch, as it does not in any way imply that "sexiness" is incredibly important, and it is interesting to see results on what users deem to be attractive features. The website aims to cater to "generous men and beautiful women," highlighting where the priorities of the members surveyed lie, and as the poll is based on personal opinion and is not passed up as fact, there’s really little to dispute. Hopefully the poll will not discourage travellers from jetting off to Asian and African countries in search of beautiful people.