Politically minded women are a hot topic

Maxim, the magazine known for its stellar political reporting, released its list of the “World’s 10 Hottest Politicians” on its website this week. The list does a good job of globetrotting, but tends to stay away from the real issues.

While there were plenty of accomplished, attractive women in the bunch, we at AfterEllen.com tend to look past the tailored pantsuits to the issues at hand. It takes more than winning a beauty pageant to win our hearts.

The ladies in Maxim’s top spots left something to be desired; namely, a general interest in human equality.

Maxim’s #1: Mara Carfagna, Italy

Sure, she is a gorgeous Italian socialist and former actress, but Carfagna, the Italian minister for equal opportunity, apparently doesn’t understand what “equal” actually means. As a former showgirl, you would think she would give some credit to women working in the sex industry, but this month she criminalized street prostitution, calling it a ”a shameful phenomenon.”

Carfagna also claimed that gays in Italy shouldn’t need a gay pride march, because gay rights were ”no longer a problem.” Obviously, this woman doesn’t get out much. She also opposes gay marriage.

Maxim’s #2: Sarah Palin, U.S. (R-Alaska)

I don’t have to explain too much about Ms. Palin. The beauty queen turned vice-presidential nominee is a staunch opponent of reproductive rights, sex education and gay rights. She belongs to a church that works to “help gays and lesbians ‘journey out’ of same-sex attraction.” She also reportedly tried to ban a book by an out Christian pastor in Alaska.

While Ms. Palin claims to represent the American “everywoman,” I find it difficult to believe most of our nation’s hockey moms would force their daughters to give birth to a child even if they were raped by a relative.

Maxim’s #4: Nicole Parra, U.S. (D-California)

Nicole Parra is a mixed bag. Beautiful? Yes. Tough? Very. Parra, a California state assemblywoman, was forced to move out of her office last month after refusing to vote on a bill that would damage the water supply of working farmers in her district. As a lady who supports working-class and immigrant rights, she’s a gem. Unfortunately, Parra recently considered switching parties, due to her tendency to be the most conservative Democrat in the room — last year, she was one of two Democrats on the floor of the California Assembly who voted “no” on legalizing marriage for same-sex couples.

Maxim did get it right in some cases.

Maxim’s #3: Ruby Dhalla, Canada

I must admit, when I saw Canadian House of Commons Member Ruby Dhalla, I figured Maxim just picked her because she had big boobs and a pretty face (with their record, who could blame me?). While both of those things are true, Dhalla is actually an amazing politician who at the age of 34 is a doctor, a twice-elected member of the Liberal Party and an unwavering supporter of gay rights. Dhalla’s family comes from India, making her a crucial proponent for immigrant rights in Canada as well.

Maxim’s # 10: Ségolène Royal, France

French socialist Ségolène Royal ran for president in 2007, but lost in a runoff race to Carla Bruni’s beau, Nicolas Sarkozy. She was widely popular with young voters, and as President of the Poitou-Charentes Regional Council, has taken tough stands for women’s and gay rights.

“There is a strong correlation between the status of a woman and the state of justice or injustice in a country,” she told Ms. Magazine last year, about women making just 80 percent of what men make doing the same work in France.

She also promised that, if elected, her party would legalize same-sex marriage . “Opening up marriage to same-sex couples is needed in the name of equality, visibility and respect,” she said.

Royal is slated to run for president again against Sarkozy in 2012, giving the French people not only a gorgeous president, but one who would bring civil rights and equality to the foreground.

Other Maxim winners: South Dakota’s U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth, Michigan’s U.S. Senator Gretchen Whitmer, California Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack Sonny Bono’s widow and a real political “maverick” for the Republican party; she is for gay rights and is pro-choice), Canadian House of Commons Member Belinda Stronach and Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Mary Bono Mack

Politically charged women are hot, but an out lady in politics is even hotter. These lesbian lawmakers have our vote:

Anette Trettebergstuen is not only the sole out lesbian politician in the Norwegian Parliament, she is beautiful, has great style and was named one of Norway’s most powerful lesbian women.

Deb Mell is an Illinois State Representative from the northwest side of Chicago. She is an out lesbian who was arrested in 2004 when she protested her inability to get a marriage license from the county clerk’s office to marry longtime partner Christin Baker. While arrests usually mar political campaigns, people know better than to run against her — she always wins.

Which politicos get your motor running?