It’s Time To End The Stupid, Vapid And Sexist Miss USA Competition
10:25 am, June 4th | by Amy Tennery
On a scale of Things I’d Like To Be Doing, competing in a pageant falls somewhere between jamming a fork in an electrical socket and raising a hive of hyper-intelligent mosquitos in a studio apartment.
I say this as a kind of disclosure, in the spirit of fairness — pageants just aren’t my thing. Even so, I have a proposal: Let’s get rid of the Miss USA pageant. It’s time.
On a recent episode of Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live” (which is sort of like “Meet The Press” for lobotomites), ringmaster Andy Cohen decided to play a fun little game: Take a bunch of women (Miss USA pageant contestants) who have little to no background in politics or history and ask them questions… about politics and history. Oh goody.
Appalling that almost of them don’t know who the vice president is? Sure. Appalling that they’d get trotted out on T.V. so we can laugh at them? Definitely.
If there were ever a time to call it, I think this is it. The Miss USA competition is vapid, sexist and it needs to stop.
I know I’m not blowing any minds here but, just in case, let’s establish it anyway: No one’s winning the Miss USA pageant for reading the complete works of Tolstoy, if you catch my drift. I’m not calling anyone dumb — in fact, I’d venture to guess it takes Herculean levels of mental stability to stand on a stage in a bikini on live television and not come completely unhinged. I wouldn’t know, but I think that’s a fair assumption. These are reasonably smart people — college students, musicians and, on occasion, rhythmic gymnasts. They’re also a crop of women who’ve systematically learned to value looks over everything else. Do we really still need to establish that this is terrible? Apparently.
The whole “we value brains and beauty!” myth that the Miss USA pageant perpetrates is absurd. No one on the judge’s panel is checking out Miss Nebraska’s moral compass, if you know what I’m saying. And yet, the contestants are expected to answer complex (and, at times, controversial) political and cultural questions. And then, the ones who don’t give a good enough answers are laughed at. Does this really not strike anyone else as profoundly nasty?
And yet it’s a time-honored tradition: Let’s take the pretty lady down a peg or two because she doesn’t know as much as other people. Or she can’t come up with a cogent response on a stage, on T.V., with millions of people looking at her, on the spot. What a dumdum!
Consider Miss Ohio, who was asked whether she believes women are depicted in movies and on television in “an accurate and positive way.” Oh sure. Let’s ask her a question to which some people devote entire Master’s Degree theses. And then let’s laugh at her when she gives a silly, wrong-headed answer.