Miss America: I may have judged too quickly

January 31, 2013 § Leave a comment

I was browsing TV.com a couple Saturdays ago looking to catchup on all of the shows I didn’t have time to watch during the week when I happend across the “What to Watch Tonight” section. That is where I discovered that the Miss America Pageant would be airing that very night. After a quick text to a friend who I knew would be just as excited as I was, it was decided that we would be grabbing some snacks and settling in for a nigmiss_america_picht of bad commentary and fake smiles.

The excitement I feel every year when the Miss America Pageant rolls around stems not from my fascination or real interest in the beauty pageant world but instead from the confidence boost it gives me. I may not be acing my Numerical Methods class, but at least I’m not saying stupid things on television or parading around in a bikini, right? I used to think that these women were all the same. They all say the same things, have the same talents, and seem to fit into a single mold. But this year, I started to think that maybe I had judged this whole thing a little too quickly. I was pleasantly surprised when I actually thought I might really like one of the contestants. Miss New York, Mallory Hagan seemed very down to earth compared to the other contestants and got me to thinking that maybe these women are not as shallow as they can come across. On the surface, a pageant is a pageant and yes there are women walking around in ridiculously skimpy swimsuits, putting on some really ugly evening dresses, and performing the same talents as all the other contestants, but Miss Hagan seemed not too take all that as seriously as some of the other woman. She was loud, funny, and even surprisingly intelligent in her question response. Instead of becoming flustered and making a  huge gaffe for the newspapers to ridicule as is usually  the case, she  responded intelligently to a tough question regarding gun control. All of this got me thinking that maybe, despite its questionable relationship with feminism, the pageant might not be ALL bad.

Yes, I admit that it might take “poise” and “beauty” to an extreme that can detract from the hard work woman have done to make us more than just something to make the office look nicer, but I realized that some of these woman might actually be able to balance that extreme with doing some good with the position. I realized that, if I looked behind all the pomp and ridiculous circumstance, the pageant might really be able to have an effect on these woman’s lives, and through the organization’s charity work, on the lives of others as well. Am I saying that beauty pageants are great and everyone should place as much importance on how a woman looks? Of course not, I for one do not have the body of a Miss America Pageant contestant and would like to think I still have something to contribute to this world. All I’m saying is that instead of scoffing and settling in for a night of laughs and judging evening gowns, perhaps pageants and things of this nature have some merit and I should admit that. After all, aren’t these women working toward something just the same as the rest of us? And isn’t that really what women want the freedom to do: to work toward something without our gender holding us back? So, despite my initial judgment of the pageant as nothing more than a boost to my own ego, I’ve realized that just because it isn’t my “thing,” doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily bad “thing.”

– Kim U.

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