It’s Miss USA month! In three weeks, I’ll watch the new Miss USA being crowned. And in three weeks and one day, I’ll sit down in front of the computer and read the ramblings of the latest blogger, ranting about the ramifications of such disregard to female empowerment that pageants like Miss USA heap upon the psyche of millions of women.
Spoiler alert: Their blogs will go a little like this.
“Why do we still have, in this enlightened feminist age, beauty pageants that degrade women by having them strut around in bikinis and heels? Aren’t we as a society past this superficial display of outward beauty? Shouldn’t we be celebrating women of all sizes, rather than this mind-numbingly sexist display of too-skinny women wearing too much makeup and too little clothing? Why haven’t we put a stop to this?”
They’ll write it. We’ll read it. Some will respond with an “Amen!” Some will respond with outrage for knocking their favorite pastime. Either way, people will read the article and comment. And, let’s face it: comments are king in the world of online journalism. We’ll feed the beast, and the rookie blogger will think they have written an amazing, thought-provoking, original piece that might garner a Pulitzer, or even better, something that will go viral!
Spoiler alert for the writer: You won’t. It’s been done. Over and over. At least twice a year. It’s practically a tradition post Miss USA and Miss America. And, yeah, they are different pageants.
Last night I watched a documentary on Barbie. It wasn’t what I expected.
Barbie came on the scene nearly 60 years ago, bringing with her the idea that young women could be anything. And they finally had a toy that reinforced that. You want to be an astronaut? A fashion model? A doctor? All three? Sure. There are limitless outfits for those, coupled with the limitless imagination of a young girl to make it happen. She can be a veterinarian by day and a pop singer by night. Her tiny waist size didn’t make her confident and successful. Her tiny owner did.
Barbie did her own thing for decades. No one seemed to mind her thigh gap. Until one day, they did. Then Barbie became the scapegoat for all things wrong with our culture.
Poor Barbie. She takes the brunt end of the feminist stick. She’s too thin. She’s not realistically proportioned. She embodies everything wrong with society’s vision of beauty. And she is probably the reason that young girls have self-esteem issues and feel discontent with their own looks.
If you want to be considered an empowered female, you need to hate her. And you need to hate Miss USA, too.
A couple of years ago, Mattel changed Barbie’s appearance to reflect what the average female sees in the mirror in order for her to be an accepted part of our culture. New body types, new ways of marketing. It’s sort of working...
The Miss USA pageant is having some cultural growing pains not unlike our favorite doll. People feel the need to see beyond the superficial, and Miss USA’s swimsuit competition doesn’t make that easy. The pressure to change with the times has come to a head.
So, the Miss USA Organization decided to take a page from Mattel’s playbook. In order to make Miss USA more socially relevant, it’s no longer just about looks. Out with the old standard of beauty. Let’s go for beauty from the inside and work our way outward. Judges are told to focus on accomplishments first, looks second.
Ok, we can do that. Believe me, these competitors are pretty well-rounded. These women do more charity work in a month than the vast majority of us do in a lifetime. They have degrees in fields that I can't even pronounce. They travel, they’re multilingual, they’re completely tuned in to current events. Yet, people are still put off by this pageant. I sometimes wonder if it’s because we can no longer think of them as plastic dolls like our friend Barbie. They’re smart AND pretty, and for some reason, that’s even harder to take. It’s easier to pretend that the only thing they have going for them is their smoking hot bodies.
We feel you, Barbie. It has to be tough being you.
And so, another pageant is upon us. And another round of bitter bloggers will take to their keyboards. And once again, we’ll feel compelled to defend our love of pageants.
I leave you with this: If you don’t like it, you can change the channel or switch to Netflix. Tons of alternatives for your two hours. But if you can’t seem to bring yourself to dig the remote out from the couch cushions and find yourself watching the show, maybe wait until the end to write your angry emoji-filled post or your sure-to-go-viral blogtastic article. You might find out that the new Miss USA has a resume that would make you wish you had spent more time in the library. And probably, her body will make you wish you had spent more time in the gym.
Barbie would have spent time in both.
Do you have a photo of you with your beloved Barbie? Send it to me so that I can add it here!