When asked during an interview with the BBC if he asked his successor could be female, the Dalai Lama answered yes and said the “the female biologically [has] more potential to show affection… and compassion.”
Unfortunately, the spiritual leader of the Buddhist faith—who has previously described himself as a feminist—followed up with this:
Dalai Lama: Therefore, you see now today’s world, lots of trouble. I think females should take more important roles. And then I told the reporter [in Paris who had once asked him about a female Dalai Lama] if a female Dalai Lama comes, their face… should be very attractive.
Reporter: So you can only have a female Dalai Lama if they’re very attractive? Is that what you’re saying?
Dalai Lama: I mean, if female Dalai Lama come, then that female must be very attractive, otherwise not much use.
Reporter: Really? You’re joking I’m assuming? Or you’re not joking?
Dalai Lama: No, true!
Unsurprisingly, feminists were not happy. Some took the to Twitter to express their outrage, while Nicole Rowe, spokeswoman for Progressive Women, told The Guardian: “While we’re pleased to hear the Dalai Lama is in favour of the possibility of a female Dalai Lama, we’re surprised and greatly disappointed that a man of such compassion and wisdom could express such a retrograde opinion.”
The Dalai Lama had previously caused a stir when he said he could be reincarnated as a “mischievous blonde woman. ” Even then, he insisted, “her face must be very attractive” or “nobody pay much attention.” Still, many seems unfazed as thousands retweeted his call for a better world.