Why beauty pageants?

Last week an email arrived that got me thinking about beauty pageants.

The former girlfriend of someone we know won a Miss Someplace contest and will now move on to compete in the Miss America pageant. This young woman is generically attractive, like most of her competitors in this year’s contest. Her resume indicates she is intelligent — she’s taking leave from her grad school studies to focus on vying for the Miss America title — a competition that will have included 12,000 local and state contestants over the course of the year.

Some state-winners at Miss America pageant 2009

The not-for-profit Miss America organization boasts that it awarded $45 million in cash and scholarships in 2009. So is that really the big draw? The “reason why?”

Do the contestants look like they are lusting for a chance at higher education?

According to the official Miss America website, “Participating in the Miss America system not only helps you pay for college and prepare for a career, it also provides an opportunity to gain additional life experience, working on issues of importance to society, enhancing your personal and professional skills and developing your performance-related and other talents.”

What motivates these twentysomething women to give the judges a look up their legs as the strut on runways in increasingly tiny swimsuits?

Are these the next women leaders of our society? Do these young women “embody” the qualities of our next gaggle of leaders?  Maybe so, if we can bear to consider the trajectory of Sarah Palin. Is there any “there” there? It feels like it’s all about the calculated packaging, the appearance, the programmed performance. Playing to the audience.

Miss Tea Party America

Are these girls aiming for stardom? Maybe they buy into the Pageant’s tempting offer of the “opportunity to gain additional life experience:” — ribbon-cutting at shopping centers; signing glossies for patients at Veterans Administration hospitals; smiling and singing at senior citizens’ centers. From there, it’s only a few stiletto steps away from running for local political office.

Why, then, do pageants endure? Voyeurs of every dimension can go online and gawk at women’s bodies. Want to watch “home grown talent?” American Idol is there for you. Babes in swimsuits? Go to the beach. Or  to your iPhone.

Please tell me why pageants still exist. I just don’t get it.


3 thoughts on “Why beauty pageants?

  1. ooops, took me awhile to figure out where the button was for comments. Photos – kinda blurry and you can’t enlarge them. Was that intentional? hahahah! Otherwise, I would recommend you find a way to insert better quality photos – it often has to do with how you copy them. How do you feel about citing the source of photos? Some of your writing seemed to repeat itself. I like the way you repeated the “Blonde” theme in the title of each of the gadgets – clever.

    1. I have to go back and edit. I am tired of playing with the images so I just hit “publish” to get it away from my face. I also wanted to CROAK from trying to fix the photos and recrop them. I am bumbling and stumbling around this stuff. It was like a death spiral. I think I need a photo-editing coach. (How to provide sources for photos? Another thing for me to learn!)
      I am also death-spiraling with the set-up/appearance of the blog. NOT SURE I will stick with the theme.. need to figure out Typekit so I can change fonts, etc. Kinda horsey right now. Thank you, very very much. Your blog is stunning, so I extra-appreciate your comments.

  2. Let’s ask about photos in class because I have questions too. BTW – why don’t you just keep writing new posts rather than super fine-tuning the format of each one? I think it gives you a chance to find your voice and then make small steps to get the formatting to match. I have gone through so many themes on Dipper Ranch blog(s) and then I see a nice simple one like this and I go – awwwww, I want that. One thing I finally settled on was to just center each photo with text above and below rather than newspaper column style – less trouble with getting things lined up. Also, different types of monitors move the photos and text around so it can look really screwy on some monitors after you’ve spent hours making it look nice on your own monitor. Annoying! Some of the techies in the class may have some suggestions on how to resolve that but KISS might be a good initial approach. You know what question is really bugging me? Do people still use the double space between sentences?12Or is the new standard on web to just use one space everywhere?1I guess I could google it.

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