I spent a considerable amount of time yesterday “researching” all things Miss USA. I’ve never given any of that pageant stuff any thought but a Facebook post led me to Miss Utah’s disgraceful moment in the spotlight and I got hooked. And pissed.
Did y’all see that shit? Here’s the clip.
I tried to compose this post yesterday but for the life of me was so sucked into YouTube clips of past pageants that I ran out of time. I was also unsure exactly which one of the MANY disturbing aspects that I wanted to write about.
Ohmygoodness there are so many…
How about the simple fact that the single, solitary question portion of the competition comes after the women parade around in bikinis and evening gowns? Who says you can’t judge a book by it’s cover?
How about the almost laughable irony that Nene Leakes, former stripper and star of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, asked a question about gender inequality to Miss Utah, a state not known for it’s feminist action. If you haven’t seen the clip I’ll paraphrase the question, “can you speak to income inequality between men and women and what this says about our society?”. I have no judgement about strippers or reality stars but she doesn’t seem the most appropriate woman to speak on this concern. Would either of those careers been possible for her had she been a man? Stripping and housewifing are two of those rare female-dominated fields where woman commonly make more than men, not in spite of being a woman but rather because of their gender. This reminds me of something, what is it…oh yeah, the pageant industry. If you can tell me a field where women are paid more for their ability to do the job rather than exploit their ASSets, I’d love to hear it.
I could go on and on in my unexpected feminist rage (not something I experience often), but since this is an extremely superficial beauty pageant I’d like to focus on my own superficial reaction.
I like being considered attractive just as much as anyone, in fact I really thrive off of it and I think most of us do. Unfortunately I’ve also spent a lot of my life experiencing envy in regards to other women; coveting her skin or hair or weight or clothes or ass or tits or even her friggin feet. I’m pretty sure that’s a common experience, although one that’s a bit embarrassing to admit.
Over the last year or so I’ve been doing a lot of personal work to recognize that “she” doesn’t have anything to do with me. “She”, whichever woman that might be in the moment, and I can both be hot, gorgeous, pretty, sexy. “Her” skinny thighs have nothing to do with my thick, strong, tan ones (I’ve never gotten any complaints about those thighs either).
The amount of beautiful people in this world need not be finite! Nor do they need to be ranked and scrutinized. Pageants like Miss USA promote the idea that only ONE woman in the room is worthy of the crown, based almost entirely on physical attributes. You better believe that there was some intense coveting and envy in that room on Sunday night when 52 women were told that Miss Connecticut’s Erin Brady was obviously way hotter and better than all of them. This type of pageantry of women would lead us to believe that there is a rubric for attractiveness. The truth is that beauty, and I am talking physical, comes in all forms and is absolutely in the eye of the beholder.
The last thing women need, especially American women, are contests literally saying that they are not as worthy, not as noteworthy, because according to a panel of judges they don’t look “as good” in a bikini as the woman next to them.
On the flip-side of this coin, when we stop compartmentalizing and comparing each other as women it becomes easier to get over our own ego, envy, and insecurities. When women compliment each other, acknowledge each others beauty, and allow each other-and ourselves-to shine bright than extraordinary things can happen.