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So there’s a bit of a controversy going on surrounding the Miss USA pageant. It seems that the pageant has posted photos on its website of the contestants in sexy lingerie. And some people think it’s going too far – too sexy, too sleazy, too…something. But me? I just don’t care. The women that participate in the pageant are all adults. They can make the decision on whether they feel comfortable posing like that. They aren’t being taken advantage of (assuming that they weren’t forced into doing so unwillingly, and since I haven’t heard any reports I am going with the assumption that they were all willing). So no – I don’t dislike the Miss USA pageant because of these photos. I dislike the Miss USA pageant because it’s a pageant.
I’ve always been pretty clear on my feelings about pageants. I’ve seen firsthand a family member pushed into pageants throughout her childhood. It wasn’t pretty – and it wasn’t nearly as extreme as what you see on those revolting Toddlers & Tiaras-type shows. I hate that pageants are teaching young girls that what is important is what’s on the outside – that beauty is far more important than intelligence or kindness or any number of other good qualities. Supporters of pageants like to blab on about how it gives them confidence and poise and strength. They like to talk about how pageants are scholarship contests, not beauty contests. And OK – I’ll give them some of that. I’m sure that being in pageants does help build a girl’s confidence. But so do sports and music lessons and girl scouts. And none of those things require a fake tan. And sure – sometimes the prizes in pageants are scholarships, but back in the day, I did a lot of interviewing for college scholarships and NOT ONE of them required that I wear a bikini. Go figure.
And let’s be honest – remember Miss Teen South Carolina a few years back? She of the following quote:
“I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, um, some people out there in our nation don’t have maps and, uh, I believe that our, uh, education like such as, uh, South Africa and, uh, the Iraq and everywhere like such as, and I believe that they should, uh, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., uh, should help South Africa and should help Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future.”
She got THIRD PLACE! Third place out of 51 contestants! How stupid were the other 48 contestants if this is the third place “scholarship” winner?
COME ON! Let’s be honest. Pageants ARE beauty contests. And beauty contests aren’t exactly teaching our girls much of anything beyond the Pretty is Best mentality. And the folks behind them know it or they wouldn’t be so gung-ho on telling us otherwise.
But hey – maybe I’m wrong. Maybe they’re harmless. Maybe it’s OK to put blush and eye-shadow and false eyelashes on a 5-year old, because her own natural beauty isn’t enough.
And maybe it’s OK to give a 2-year old hair extensions because her baby-fine hair isn’t beautiful enough.
And maybe there’s nothing wrong with making a child wear big false teeth and fake tans because proudly showing their first lost baby tooth just isn’t proper pageant decorum. Or because they don’t have teeth yet and as everyone knows, tiny little toothless smiles are hideous, right? And soft, porcelain , undamaged skin? YUCK!
And dressing them up like Vegas showgirls and hookers is totally cute!
And it wouldn’t be a pageant if the contestants didn’t show off their sexy curves in a bathing suit competition, right?
And of course it’s not at all disturbing to retouch photos until the once beautiful, normal looking little girls look like they are wearing pancake makeup. nothing says “adorable!” like that coffin look.
But the girls like it the pageant people keep telling us. It’s good for them.
And one day these little girls will grow up into bigger girls. Older, more grown-up girls, but still girls. And if they are lucky, they will become a part of the Miss USA family. And they will be seen by the whole world in borderline soft-porn photos, right there on the Miss USA website – which is fine if that;s what they want. But when we look at those photos, my first thought isn’t exactly, Wow, they all look very confident.
I’ll take this any day – messy, stringy hair, missing tooth, pale skin, no eyeliner to be seen, and the most beautiful thing I’ve seen today (even in crappy cell phone photo form):