Are expressions like "women are beautiful" sexist? Doesn't that imply that women exist as something to be admired rather than as beings in and of themselves?

I suggest that when a person calls or describes a gender or species or event or thing as beautiful, this implies or signals that the person believes the gender etc is worthy of aesthetic pleasure or delight. There need not be anything sexist or demeaning in this, and it does not suggest that the object of delight is merely an object of delight or that the beautiful "object" (or the object of beauty) is in some sense passive. One might claim 'the women Olympic athletes swam beautifully today' or 'the women soldiers performed beautifully in their rescue of the orphans yesterday when they met with severe resistance from the hostage-takers' without any sexism coming into play.

Going a bit further: I suspect the phrase "women are beautiful" is somewhat odd. I suppose one might first want to know the scope of the reference: are all women beautiful or the majority or a significant number of women are beautiful? Are women all beautiful in the same way? What are the reasons for thinking all or many or some women are beautiful? Are women beautiful because they are women or for some other reason? What would it be like for a person to actually take aesthetic delight in all living women (as a gender) currently on our planet? Or possibly taking pleasure in all past and future women? I suppose one is more likely to hear a more specific claim like: 'Those women who attended the conference on human rights are doing a beautiful job presenting their case for famine relief'... or something similarly more specific. Similarly, I think one needs to get more specific in order to really be guilty of sexism. Probably the following would be pretty sexist: "the only thing better than a beautiful car is a beautiful woman" or "beer tastes better when you are sharing it with a beautiful woman." I can imagine how these might be said in a non-sexist context, but they move toward sexism insofar as you are comparing a woman to a car or you suggest that if you really like a certain drink, it will enhance your enjoyment of the drink if you are flirting with a woman (woman as sex object and beer enhancer)! Put-downs of women or treating them in a sexist fashion will sometimes seriously depend on context. Imagine Hillary Clinton gives a passionate talk on human rights at the United Nations calling on Syria to stop its abuse of human rights. Imagine further that after Clinton's heated speech the Syrian ambassador rises and rather than address Clinton's admonition and call to action, he said "Your hair is beautiful today! My wife wants to use the same hair stylist. What's her number?'

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