Miss America Pageant Notes

Ken AshfordPageantsLeave a Comment

There was a time when beauty pageants made the occasional appearance on this blog, but I think it has been a few years.

Anyway, I watched the spectacle last night (as well as the US Open Final) and I have this to say: It is increasingly difficult in this day and age to see this as an enlightened and forward-thinking treatment of women.  I mean, let’s get real.  This is a beauty pageant.  And the women are objectified.  They can give all the lip service they want to talent, and answering questions, but first and last, it’s about how these women (or “girls” as they are sometimes called) look.  They would never give the Miss America award to the top female neurosurgeon or female astronaut unless they were killer in a bathing suit.

Which isn’t to say it should be banned or even condemned.  I’m just saying that we should take the pageant for what it is — a beauty contest.  For a feminist, the pageant is like  chocolate pudding would be to a vegetarian — a guilty pleasure.  It’s something we can enjoy, but let’s not kid ourselves that the “lookism” that the contest reveres is the best — or even a very good — way to celebrate women’s contributions to society.  Our young girls should know that being Miss America is not the pinnacle of women-hood, and should understand that a successful woman and an attractive woman are two different things.

Plus, the organization does a lot of humanitarian and charitable work blah blah blah.  So we will give the pageant itself — the meat market, if you will — a pass.

With the preface out of the way, here’s my notes:

(1)  The apology to Vanessa Williams was a couple decades too late.  But okay.  Nice anyway.

(2)  Not to stereotype, but is anyone surprised that the southern states do well in these things?

(3)  Nope.  A monologue about your nursing job is not “talent”.  They need to re-examine the rules about this.  If you’re going to do a monologue, do Lady Macbeth or something.

(4)  You know what else is not “talent”?  Coke and Menthos, or whatever the hell Miss Vermont was going to do.  (She didn’t make the cut, so it wasn’t on TV, but her talent would have been awesome, even if it wasn’t talent)

(5)  My favorite part is the question-and-answers.  I thought the questions were very good, and the answers were not-so-good.  To be fair, that portion of the pageant is harder than it looks.  I’m well-read on those issues, but I doubt I could formulate a coherent (and BRIEF) answer on the spot — without stuttering, without “uh”s.

(6)  Kudos to Miss Tennessee for her answer to the Planned Parenthood funding question (and yay to Vanessa Williams for asking it).  Is the right wing going ballistic this morning?  Yes.

(7)  Boo to Miss South Carolina for her response to the question about banning military-assault weapons.  Training people how to use them will prevent accidents?  It’s not the “accidents” we are worried about!  And this is a black woman from South Carolina!!  South Carolina where a guy in Charleston just went in and shot up a black church!!

(8)  Speaking of morning-after flack, Miss Louisiana is getting some of it for her answer from Winnie Cooper Danica McKeller regarding #blacklivesmatter.  She said:

…which was kind of a punt. She touched on police training, but she didn’t have to go to the “all lives matter” meme, which is typically used to be dismissive of the “black lives matter” campaign.  But again, this may have been nerves and a desire to placate everybody.  I’m giving her a pass on that one.

(9)  Ellen Degeneres on U.S. currency?  Seriously?

(10)  Miss Georgia got the stupidest question: she was asked to weigh in on Deflate-gate.  Her initial response was probably the best — I wasn’t there to feel Tom Brady’s balls (oh, if only she had said it that way).  I was rooting for Miss Georgia (she is a friend of a friend) and I thought her Deflate-gate response really blew it for her.

But Betty Cantrell, Miss Georgia, won despite that.  (She was the most talented — I will give that)!