It struck a chord to hear Esquire editor, Alex Bilmes, refer to women as pure “ornamental,” and “objects” to his racy hetero male magazine. Bilmes was frighteningly comfortable enough in his sexist position to openly associate women as “ornaments” to be “objectified.”

The editor of the trendy Mens magazine admitted: “We use pretty girls in the same way we provide pictures of cool cars.”

You read correctly, he linked us to cars (i.e. consumer goods).

This past Tuesday, at the Advertising Week Europe conference in London, Bilmes joined a panel [of women] to discuss the topic of feminism in the media and advertising.

“I could lie to you if you want and say we are interested in their brains as well. We are not. They are objectified. Men see women in 3D in many different roles in life but at certain times, we like to see them sexy.”

This is another prime example of when someone’s “real” goes wrong.

Nobody granted you the green light to openly eulogize female objectification at jest, Sir. There is no douche-bag pass provided for condoning or boasting on this matter, Mr. Sexist.

Perhaps you don’t care about the women that pick up your illustrations. Maybe the fact that I enjoy the quality writing style of male magazines is not useful or moving to you. I may not make up the larger percent of your readers, but as a consumer, and more so a woman, this doesn’t sit well with me.

Every raunchy cover feature with a woman bent over in a racy bikini in fact depicts objectification to some degree. Yes, you aren’t the ONLY magazine to exploit or cater to the “male gaze.” But your pretentious and nonchalant demeanor has stained me with an ill feeling that I am supporting the corrupted mind frame of a brand that proudly and fully contributes to female objectification. And for that, you’ve lost one.

During the conference, Bilmes stated that Esquire is far more honest and less rigid in their portrayal of women in comparison to their competitors: “We’re at least, or possibly more, ethnically diverse [than other magazines]. More shape-diverse. We also have older women. Not really old, but in their 40s… Cameron Diaz was on the cover three issues ago. She’s in her 40s.”

More shape diverse? I’m alleging this goes for sizes 0-4; and kudos on being an ageist as well!

The man clearly escaped from a Benny Hill sketch. According to Bilmes, men are not racing to his magazine in hopes of reading about a woman’s political view on the fiscal crisis or budgeting; we are simply the bait to a product.

In case Bilmes is either unconcerned that feminists are probably aligning battle formation outside of the Esquire offices in London, or failed to be consciousness to the ongoing issue at hand, the topic of female objectification or exploitation is not to shouted from the rooftops. Reality chicks and video models can’t wear a midriff tee or lick their lips without us questioning if it is bad representation of the whole. The battle is not over, Mr. Sexist, so we can’t let you walk away comfortably knowing you broadcasted your narrow-minded outlook and casted your corrupted sense of “realness,” onto your readers and in doing so, pushed many of them away.

I can only hope that the Cameron Diaz’s and Drew Barrymores of the world form a reaction and stand.

Watch the video for yourself here.

What are your thoughts on Alex Bilmes’ comments?


-Nikki B.

  • The Moon in the Sky

    I swear Clutch picks their topic points right from Jezebel.

    Who would be surprised by such a way of thinking from a man?

  • Rue

    *reads esquire*
    really was anyone surprised by this…

  • Yvette

    There isn’t anything wrong with what he said. In the context of Esquire magazine, he’s correct – men only care about our sexiness.

    That would be like a Chippendale dancer saying we should care about his brain. No, we only want you to dance and look good. That’s it.

    Now, if Bilmes had made this comment about, say, women working in corporate America, THEN there would be a problem.

  • Yvette

    *isn’t anything

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    esquire? it that still published? really?

  • Simone L

    I’m not going to feign shock. Now, the question is…will any women NOT pose for Esquire after learning this?

  • Keshia

    Of course, men see women as objects and little decorations that compliment them. Where y’all been?

  • Moe

    Yeah not at all surprised. A while ago they did a thing on Megan Fox saying that they were sick of all the “plain Jane” actresses and wanted acting to be an occupation exclusive to “sexy” women only.

  • http://www.clutchmagazine.com Clutch

    Thanks for your comment – we try our best to have very diverse content. Different what you will see on Jezebel and Madame Noire or Hello Beautiful.

    Overall we try to cover news/pop-culture and things we want to cover that fits well for our readers. If it is also covered on Jez or other sites as well — that’s fine.

    We don’t pick our “topic points” from anyone/any site. You can see it in our daily content and features. One of our daily goals of Clutch – is to be present different type of content that is different from similar sites.


  • The Moon in the Sky

    I am not saying that it is a bad thing, just that whenever I read articles over there, shortly after the topic is being covered over here.

  • Camryn

    Not sure what industry you work in, but when one website receives a press release or information about news, 1000 other websites receives the same press releases or news alerts…

    If you don’t like it…stay over at Jez…

  • Perspective

    OMG – would you all STOP!!!!!

    Jesus Christ –

    When black women AREN’T objectified – they’re complaining

    When other races of women are objectified over them – they’re complaining even louder.


    He raped me with his eye balls!


    I mean damn! Does the madness EVER STOP?!

    Let me go make a donation at the OBJECTIFY WHITE WOMEN – Kayne West Fund – because I see LUSTING black women will only get you into trouble over here.

    “Every raunchy cover feature with a woman bent over in a racy bikini in fact depicts objectification to some degree.”

    Vomited in my mouth.

    Going to the GYM to go OBJECTIFY some NON-BLACK WOMEN who won’t ATTACK ME – for finding them attractive!

    “How YOUUUUU doin’ Rebecca!”

    “Hey Derek!”

  • The Moon in the Sky

    There is a lot wrong with what he said. Attitudes like this about women don’t change based on the setting. He probably feels the same way about women in corporate America. He doesn’t need to explicitly state so.

  • http://www.clutchmagazine.com Clutch

    Hi The Moon in the Sky,

    No worries – we didn’t take it that way – we just want to make sure readers know we try our best to present different content :)

    Thanks for your comment and supporting/reading Clutch! We really do appreciate it!

  • GQ

    I don’t like how that woman tried to blame Esquire magazine for little girls feeling bad about not looking like models. Sorry but little girls don’t read Esquire… No body does

  • http://tontonmichel.tumblr.com/ Tonton Michel

    Exactly what were you expecting him to say?

    “oh yeah we put half naked women in our mag but we really are just interested in their brains and soul which you can only see if their partially naked,,,,sweety”

    The man tells the obvious truth and NOW it is a reason to get hot and upset? Where was the righteous anger before he made his comments?

    Better yet why not put the fire to the feet of the all too willing women who pose for the mag? Why not protest outside a strip club?Or does that sound too much like right?

    As if he is worried that sales will drop now that the “secret ” is out.

  • talaktochoba

    at last, an honest man…you won’t find one of them in Congress!

    a sexy woman takes most/all her clothes off and throws herself, pouty lips first, at the camera, and I’m supposed to respect her like i do Michelle, Elizabeth Warren, Gabby and Hillary?


    yeah, like a friend of mine once said–that’ll happen right after bullfrogs sing the blues to chickens in high-heeled shoes…

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    generalize, much?

  • The Moon in the Sky

    I made a general observation. The “stay over at Jez…” comment is unnecessary considering I have been reading Clutch for about four years now.

  • Camryn

    Well then if you’re calling yourself a ‘dedicated’ reader..then address your issues to Clutch via email..isn’t that what it’s used for?

    Yall people kill me publicly airing your grievances with the site….

    No tact what so ever.

  • Perspective

    Last time I checked Esquire Magazine has only had 4 black women on its cover all light skin

    Alicia Keyes, Halle Berry, Rihanna, and Beyonce

    Notice the picture is NOVEMBER 2011!!!!

    How can you check white men on OBJECTIFYING THEIR OWN WOMEN?!

    That’s is how white men objectify their women – I thought you black women were trying to get in the same spot light?!

    Why are you sticking up for white women – last week wasn’t there an article talking about white feminist not coming out of the woodwork to defend the young black girl for being called a “C”

    Now you all are Capin’ for white women? When’s the last time they Caped for you.

    Also – where are the white women who put themselves on the cover complaining about their own objectification.

    Black women act like they want to be in the same spot light as white women – and then when they ARE (hypothetically) they are complaining about the objectification.

    You all will FOCUS on white women on the read carpet

    But IGNORE the abundance of PORN and NASTY SEX that comes with it.

    Who are the number one women who get smutted out in PORN?! it ain’t black women!


    Many of you don’t even know what you want or you don’t know what COMES with being in the spot light.

    You want white male validation – but ignore how white men OBJECTIFY THEIR WOMEN. Then when your not objectified it’s a complaint. Then when you are objectified YOU ARE STILL COMPLAINING!


  • shoSTOPPER

    he didnt have to tell me that- i’ve met men who think women are objects and some dont- back in the day- i lost weight and the guy told me i dont like you know more you dont have a butt or boobs any more- come on ladies you know it s true some women only think women are good for the kitchen and bedroom- yes even in 2013

  • jane

    Its the fact that it doesn’t needed to be stated

  • Leslie B.

    As a female, the argument is NOT the fact that this is the fact, but it is that he felt empowered and bold enough to say this outloud.

    If men started posessing the attitude of ” oh yea, it’s cool… we’re objectifying women” … how are are we supposed to react?

    It’s more so, subconsciously we know but it doesn’t feel right to have a man call a spade a spade. It’s insensitive and unnecessary. He has female readers, so being so nonchalant about the matter isn’t okay. We can’t start thinking men can boast about these things! I think thats the major point.

    Duh women are objectified! But we don’t need someone to take that position openly and proudly. It’s disgusting.

  • a

    The idea that white men respect white women is ridiculous. White men see ALL women as sex objects!

  • bob

    you guys are over reacting , its a mens magazine. Women can say they objectify men like justin beaver, or who ever is hot and its not a problem. A man is not suppose to be able to say we like women in our magazines to be pretty , we dont care about their thoughts and opinions we care about their beauty in the magazine. Who cares, yall need to worry about what real problems women in other countries are facing and use feminism to solve them. I objectify women in the club when I see them twerking in mini dresses and all types of sexy atire, im a pig oink oink.

  • http://halloftheblackdragon.com Greg Dragon

    I thought you all were already reacting by blaming the patriarchy and our rape culture for the doom and gloom of the world right now? Get used to men’s men who are tired of the feminist beat down being very candid with opinions such as this one. Honesty sucks I guess.

  • Your Spirit, or Your Body

    Thank you, no sympathy

  • mr.fierce

    They dont know what they want, are never satisfied and want to run everything…


  • http://brianaatkins.tumblr.com/ BriA

    I don’t know who would be silly enough to believe he’d say anything different…..if he said anything less than what he said I’m sure there would be some outrage because he lied…..but I am a feminist and I can’t “hate” on the women or the magazine because it’s their choice to pose in a sexy and provocative way for their male audience……

  • Perspective

    Pretty much sums it up

  • Treece

    While the part about Beyonce’s GQ cover is correct, I think you are wrong about the whole “objectification” piece. I would argue that objectification is “the practice of regarding or treating another person merely as an instrument (object) towards one’s sexual pleasure, and a sex object is a person who is regarded simply as an object of sexual gratification”. It is okay to be sexually attracted to someone for purely physical reasons and it’s okay for a man to look at sexy women in magazines. I as a hetero woman like to look at sexy men. However in America, women are always put into a position of being soley sexually objectified in (in media) and hardly ever seen in “3D”. This causes men to not take women seriously and sexually objectify women in “real life” which makes real women like myself pissed.

    For the editor of Esquire to admit that he is encouraging this one dimensional and sexist ideal through his depiction of women in his magazine is being honest, but it’s not making it better or doing anything to help women to not be objectified. He is just trying to fatten his pockets at the expense of women and he doesn’t give a rats behind. Which is sickening.

  • Shepherd

    He is telling the truth. The mindset is deplorable but it is an incite into the thought processes of these kinds of media. Any woman who poses for these magazines parading as doing anything but allowing herself to be objectified is delusional. I appreciate that everyone has a choice to do as they please but by posing naked on a men’s magazine these women should realise they are adding fuel to the fire of those with that mindset and that this radiates through society in general. I’m not really upset that black women don’t feature highly in these magazines though

  • C

    I think it’s good to have this open and honest conversation. Maybe we could push these magazines to view women as more than just something to look at. But if you read GQ, you’d know, they have real articles about the women on the covers.

  • Treece

    Not only that he would say it so boldly, but also to be so arrogant as to act like it’s okay to objectify women. Objectification is NOT just thinking that a woman is sexually attractive. Everybody get sexually attraced to someone else and that doesn’t neccessarily mean “sexual objectification”. Objectification happens when you ONLY view a person as a sexual object and don’t see them as anything more. That type of thinking is what leads to assholes spouting this crap for the world to hear. Yet and still, money hungry women will still exploit themselves for this and “Mr. Sexist’s” pockets will stay fat. Typical. Doesn’t make it right, but it’s typical.

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    @the lie – “I can’t have sex with a woman’s brain”

    the primary sexual organ is the mind. if you didn’t have sex with a woman’s brain/mind, a comatose female body would do. sex is a mind game. think about it.

  • Hmmmm

    “I could lie to you if you want and say we are interested in their brains as well. We are not. They are objectified. Men see women in 3D in many different roles in life but at certain times, we like to see them sexy.”

    He’s right. It’s not changing….and men should not feel bad about it.

  • bob

    Hardly ever seen in 3d this is the year 2013 , which movies like the hunger games with strong female leads, video games like tomb raider , final fantasy 13 , with strong female lead characters, I do not see where this women are only seen as sexual in media, no that is not happening anymore stop trying to say that is , please stop even the women in mad men that are shown in 3d think about joan ( strong ambitious white woman) avengers ( had a strong white woman character) what yall need to be complaining about is more strong leading black women. Cause trust the media has strong white women covered.

  • Blaque217

    Most men and some women are very visual. They are attracted, at least initially, to what they see, not what they hear. And when you have female celebrities like Rihanna who love posing in various stages of undress, it only reaffirms Bilmes’ statements.
    Look, at least the man is being honest…he’s telling HIS truth. Perhaps not all men feel this way, but this is what he believes and he is standing by his statements. I for one can’t be mad at that.

  • Pingback: Esquire Magazine Editor Alex Bilmes: Women Are “Ornamental” | Celebrity News & Style for Black Women

  • http://tontonmichel.tumblr.com/ Tonton Michel

    @Leslie B

    Not saying women are wrong for being against objectification, but to act even more indignant because he said it out loud is silly when the offense has been going on.

    “We can’t start thinking men can boast about these things!”

    Now you know very well men have been doing this.

    “He has female readers, so being so nonchalant about the matter isn’t okay.”

    Unless those women are special ed they know and approve.

    “But we don’t need someone to take that position openly and proudly”

    What better way to know the truth?

  • http://tontonmichel.tumblr.com/ Tonton Michel

    “I am a feminist and I can’t “hate” on the women or the magazine because it’s their choice to pose in a sexy and provocative way for their male audience”

    And is it justifiable to hate on the male audience given your stance?

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    ok, my bad, for you a comatose female body probably WILL do…

  • http://www.facebook.com/ron.johnson.31586526 Ron Johnson


    Your attempt to gain thumbs-ups and likes from women posters is sad, simpish, and outright pathetic. Any man with an IQ above 50 knows that men are first and foremost attracted to and aroused by what they see on the outside. If women didn’t believe this, the makeup, hair, bikini, and clothing industry wouldn’t be the multi-billion dollar industries they are today.

  • The Moon in the Sky

    People are visual. Men are not any more visual than women.

  • http://gravatar.com/nick1110 nick1110

    Alex Bilmes is right to be comfortable with his position because his position aligns with science. As long as there is sexual reproduction (as opposed to asexual reproduction) there will be parameters for choosing mates, parameters we didn’t choose — rather, we were born with them. That’s the way it is, and it’s time to stop demonizing men for it. Nikki B. displays extreme ignorance to thousands of years of evolution. She isn’t going to change biology. She isn’t going to change knee-jerk reactions and judgments. It’s not possible. When a man meets a woman — be it at work, at a restaurant, on the street — I promise you the first thing he thinks is “is she attractive/would I want to have sex with her.” That’s how it goes, and it’s not his fault. It shouldn’t even be called a “fault,” anymore than salty and sweet things taste good. It’s all programmed into us for survival. A man on a first date would be LYING if he said he didn’t want to have sex with his date ASAP. I encourage you all to study human nature and the mind and stop urging people to change what they can’t.

  • http://gravatar.com/nick1110 nick1110

    Bingo. Couldn’t have said it better.

  • Craig

    Nailed it. Couldn’t have put it better.

  • Craig

    B.S. You have 5 senses. The point to be made is that when it comes to sexual attraction, men are almost entirely visual and ugly feminists should just get the fuck over it.

  • Craig

    It’s not a “mindset”, it’s a biological impulse.

    Your chances of changing this fact: 0%.
    Ugly feminists chances of changing the rules of the game: 0%.

    Try playing the game better. Trying to change the rules is stupidity. Perhaps you could start by not wearing those man’s clothes and maybe stop running your mouth so much.

    …Or you could just give up and live in a house with lots of cats. That’s cool too, I guess.

  • Craig

    Wow, this is the first time I’ve seen some actual insight from a feminist. Interesting point.

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