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5. Noam Chomsky
Philosopher, linguist, activist, and guy responsible for 75% of the quotes your friends post as their Facebook statuses, Noam Chomsky is among the greatest minds of our time. Chomsky’s big, beautiful brain has given him a "sexy professor" vibe for most of his life, and while at eighty-two he could just lie back and let the academic accolades pile up, he remains one of the country’s sharpest political critics. Plus, look how handsome he was! It hardly seems fair that someone so intellectually acute should also be able to rock the Buddy Holly look.
4. Angela Davis
Ronald Reagan once personally tried to bar Angela Davis from teaching in California; if you can piss off the Gipper, you're okay by us. After being wrongly accused of murder, Davis became the third woman in history to be added to the FBI's Most Wanted List, and was eventually arrested. She served for eighteen months before being acquitted of all charges. She's since become a popular public speaker and lecturer, as well as an advocate for gay rights. Sign of profound dissident sex appeal: her distinctive, afro-rocking style was adopted by sex symbol Pam Grier in ideologically loaded blaxploitation films like Coffy. Respectfully, that's more than you can say for Eugene Debs.
3. Malcolm X
Simple rule of thumb: if Denzel Washington can convincingly play you in a movie, you are one attractive political dissident. Fiercely devoted to his wife, Betty Shabazz, Malcolm X was also a devout Muslim; for both reasons, he probably wouldn’t approve of being honored for something as base as sex appeal. But tough cookies. It’s his own fault for having been as dashingly handsome as he was radical.
2. Bobby Sands
Bobby Sands had great hair. We’re talking a head of Grade A, TRESemme-approved, full, luscious locks. There: now that we’ve demeaned one of Ireland’s most revered political figures, we can move onto the sad part. As well as being really goddamn handsome, Bobby Sands organized a hunger strike for prisoners' rights, one that led to his death and the deaths of nine other men. The fatal protest resulted in a surge in IRA recruitment, and strained political tensions in Ireland. But man, just look at that magnificent hair. Like a lion’s mane, that thing.
1. Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela is like the poster child for political dissidents. The anti-apartheid activist’s tribulations and triumphs are as numerous as they are well-documented by Morgan Freeman movies, so let’s dedicate this space to admiring a less-discussed distinction: his raw sexual charisma. Compassionate, stoic, magnanimous, Mandela could have established democracy in South Africa with a single smoldering look.