I enjoy beauty pageants. I have been watching them for as long as I remember. They are the stuff that dreams are made of. Who wouldn’t like to be named the prettiest woman in the state or country and given a crown and roses? If everyone was honest we would all admit that we would all enjoy that validation.
I value pageants because they are a conspicuous display of hyper femininity. I’m all for it and I hope they never change. I don’t think that women get very many opportunities to be in the spotlight and pageants give them a platform. Miss America and Miss USA are the two biggest pageants that come to my mind and they are distinct brands. Miss USA contestants are the girls that boys liked in school and Miss America contestants are the pretty girls that teachers liked in school. Both are great.
Recently a representative for the Miss America pageant remarked that “Educated women don’t parade around in swimsuits”. That quote is actually part of a sentence and the remark was taken out of context but nonetheless I will share my thoughts on the controversy not the comment itself.
I found this remark to be a bit hypocritical since the Miss America pageant only recently took the swimsuit competition out of their pageant. But my real concern is the contestants of the Miss USA pageant that got all up in their feelings because they are personally offended by Miss America’s quote. Miss USA which feeds into the Miss Universe competition still have swimsuit competitions.
I follow pageant fan pages and several beauty queens on IG. A lot of the Miss USA title holders have posted messages of themselves in bikinis and listed their academic accomplishments. They posted long IG rants about how the Miss America Organization’s notion about educated women in bikinis is dated, sexist and hostile towards women. The Miss America organization is absolutely right.
I agree that a woman can be smart and sexy. A woman can be flirtatious and competent. It’s unfortunate that the world sees women in a one dimensional way but feminism has not changed that. Feminism is making things worse because much of their focus in on looks and sexuality.
Here’s the hypocrisy of Miss USA and Miss Universe contestants. Most of these women are absolutely brilliant. Many of them have impressive careers, educational backgrounds and compelling backstories. But most of the ones that I’ve heard about after their reign has ended go into entertainment or they marry a wealthy man. I think that marrying well is the real end game for women in the Miss USA/Miss Universe pageant system.
There is nothing wrong with any of that but they got their new opportunities because they look good in a bikini not because they studied hard in school. Miss USA contestants are smart enough to know this and they are bluffing the world with politically correct feminist rhetoric that sets other women up for failure. I think that this is the case for feminism in general. Sorry but women in most day to day situations can not present themselves as sex objects and be taken seriously as intellectuals. For some reason the bikini cancels out the intellect.
Feminism tries to have it both ways. They want to tell women that they can be taken seriously as a woman in a bikini. That simply isn’t true unless you are a swim suit model or perhaps an Olympic swimmer. If you disagree imagine wearing a bathing suit to a job interview. Even if you are applying to be a lifeguard that wouldn’t go over well.
I think women should use all of the tools at their disposal to open as many doors as possible including sex appeal. But women need to be realistic about the way women are pigeonholed. Feminism isn’t changing the way women are perceived when they put forth sexualized images of themselves. I think that women need to present themselves the way they want to be perceived. Consider your goal and dress the part.
If anything feminists are encouraging women to use their bodies to gain love, acceptance and opportunities instead of using their minds. That’s why the body positivity movement is popular. Women that don’t fit the mold of a beauty queen want to be able to feel validated for how they look too. That’s what today’s feminism is all about.
If you want to be taken seriously as a professional dress the part for the profession you choose. But when it’s time to party or have a day at the beach have fun with fashion and enjoy yourself. You can’t always take yourself seriously. There’s a time and a place for everything.
I just wish the beauty queens that protested the remark from the Miss America Organization were a little more honest and thoughtful in their responses. They could have said I was competing to be Miss USA, not a receptionist at an accountant’s office. There are scholarships, fame, travel, jewelry and meeting with wealthy men at stake. I will broker world peace in a suit that grazes my knees later.
I honestly don’t know why they responded at all. The remark from the Miss America Organization seemed pretty innocuous to me and it fits their girl next door brand. Miss America is a non profit organization that is focused on community service. Miss USA is more glitz and showbiz. Fighting for your right to be seen as a professional in a bikini is not a hill I would want to die on. That’s why I have a hard time taking feminism seriously.
Feminists like to make conversations like this a matter of sexual assault and rape. I want to make it clear that I don’t think that sexual assault and rape has anything to do with clothing or lack thereof. People that jump from a statement of dressing for respect to sexual violation are trying to silence opposing thoughts with emotional blackmail.