Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Miss America brings out our true colors.

am so out of the beauty pageant loop that when I am interested enough in Miss America to Google "Miss America" something big better be happening.

For starters, I'm pissed that I just Googled "Miss America" at all, because I absolutely abhor every single thing these pageants represent. They are NOT "scholarship programs" or "enrichment opportunities" and the bottom line is, after a post-win appearance on the next day's Kelly Ripa show (target audience: no one), Miss America vanishes into obscurity until the following year, when we must all endure an interruption in our regular network programming so that yet another crop of beauties can parade around in butt glue and bra inserts in pursuit of the almighty crown. The only exceptions are the Miss Americas who end up busted on a drunken charge (a la Rima Fakih) or the ones who occasionally appear at children's hospitals or animal shelters for photo ops, even though no one remembers what their platforms were or what versions of world peace they promised to achieve (though such promises almost always involve some iteration of the phrase: "because looking better leads to doing better.")

But since everyone has been talking about the racist responses to this latest crowned beauty, I was interested in the story, and yeah, it is pretty awful. Aren't we all from "somewhere else"? My family is from Ireland and England, but neither I, nor my parents, nor their parents, nor THEIR parents ever lived in Ireland or England. It's just where we're "from." On another note, I, myself, was born in Germany. My father was stationed there in the Army, and I was born in an American Army hospital on "American soil" and am 100% American. So does where one was born impact whether one should be able to call him/herself American?

If you're going to hate on this woman - or any of these women - hate her because she makes a living, and a name for herself, by exploiting her body to win something that should be based on brains and values alone. Hate her because she is, by virtue of her "beauty queen" status, a natural role model for young girls everywhere, and she is using that power to perpetuate a patriarchal ritual that puts women on display, assembly line style, where they all look the same, with no size or shape variation, no age variations, no crooked noses or flat chests or bow legs or cellulite.

Or, better yet, wait a year, then look at what she's done with her title. See whether she is even worth hating.
Because maybe, just maybe, she'll be the first Miss America to ever actually help (not just take photographs with) sick children, or support literacy programs, or put on a pair of boots and work pants and hand out food to the poor.. Or maybe, just maybe, she will achieve world peace. And then won't all the haters feel stupid.

After all, this is the country where Casey Anthony and OJ Simpson and George Zimmerman got fair trials and, ultimately, their freedom. And they all killed people. Miss America, whoever she happens to be at any given moment, is not a public safety threat. She is merely a pastime. And sadly, this latest one is really bringing out America's true colors.