My annual Miss America rant

I’m not a feminist but Miss America is from the 7th level of hell.

According to their website, they give away 40 million in scholarships per year. This isn’t just for those that make it to the “big” pageant, but also for those who compete in their local and state pageants too.

40 million in scholarships! That’s great, seriously.

And let’s look at the #1 thing they have to do to get that money:

Is it good grades? No. Lots of women who would never get into a pageant get good grades.

Is it poise? Personality? No. See above.

To get the money, recipients must meet America’s standards of beauty.

Do they have nice firm boobs? Is their ass nice and round, but not too big? Do they fill out a bathing suit well?

Two thousand and fucking three and the NUMBER ONE organization who gives women scholarship money requires them to prance around in a fucking swimsuit first!

Why do women, and the men who love them, allow this to continue?

There are women in the US who could mop the floor with the cookie cutter women who end up on TV competing in the big pageant. They are smarter, they give more to their communities, they are original thinkers who would give REAL answers to those stupidass interview questions, and they are better role models.

Oh, but we’ll never see the real top 50 female American heroes competing on TV. They can’t, or won’t, don a bathing suit or an evening gown and tapdance for the judges, or starve themselves, or exercise 3 hours a day. They are too busy writing books, thinking about a run for the Senate someday, raising their kids, or hoping to get through medical school and find a cure for cancer or AIDS. Their tits are “too small” and they can’t do a thing with their hair. They don’t deserve help with college because they’re lacking where it really counts: looks.

I am not saying that any woman who ends up competing for Miss America doesn’t have anything going for them. These are bright women who have wonderful goals for their lives. I’m sure some of them do have sparkling personalities and really are nice people.

I’m lamenting because not a damn one of those 50 women competing tonight would be given the time of day by the #1 scholarship program for women in the nation if they didn’t look good in a bikini.

We haven’t come a long way, baby :frowning:

Oh puh-leeze!

Pageants and pageant culture is overwhelmingly by, for and all about the choices women make for themselves. The desire to display their beauty and attractiveness is practically wired into human beings, and if a mommy thinks she got the prettiest peach in the orchard you can be damn sure she wants everyone to know it.

Women are highly competitive, and if this is what flips some women’s switches what’s really all that wrong with it? How is a pageant really all that different from an athletic competition like gymnastics that judges on form, grace and requires a healthy dose of favorable genetics to be able to implement these exercises competitively? How is being inherently flexible and having good balance and developing these skills as a gymnast all that different from being poised, pretty, and making yourself physically attractive (and assumedly developing conversational skills) as pageant contestant?

BTW, having seen one or two Miss America Pageants, not all these contestants are incredibly beautiful. Many are just pretty or cute and often the winners are more Mary Ann “cute” than stunning classic “Ginger” beauties with perfect bodies.

As a side note while 40 million sounds like a lot as one chunk, it’s a microscopic drop in the bucket compared to the overall dollars in scholarships given to women who are attending college in record numbers and who are generally outperforming men across the board when it comes to attending college and receiving financial assistance. If some women want to strut their stuff for these dollars, let them.

I’m not a particular fan of Miss America. I think their template of perfection is too generic. It’s like Lawrence Welk music, all technique and no passion. They want to to be liked by as many people as possible, not loved by a few; that’s the way popular culture is.

But I would defend them on two points. First, if a woman entered who was drop-dead gorgeous, but dumb as a box of rocks, I don’t think she’d get very far. If you put 40-million dollars on the table, and search the entire country, you can probably find 50 women who are pretty and smart.

Secondly, is this somehow more absurd or unjust than some of the scholarships that guys get? A lot of scholarship money is unavailable to men just because they can’t run, tackle, or throw a ball through a hoop.

Good way to insult all of the women reading this.

I’m not a big fan either, but from what I saw tonight these were damn smart “beauties”. One of the final 5 had her medical degree at the age of 23. He talent was playing the cello.

Links to pictures, I want links to pictures!

Robot Arm was making an entirely sensible declaration about the high probability of finding a desired combination of characteristics if you plunk down a big bag of cash as an incentive. He did not say (as you seem to be inferring) that there were only 50 pretty and smart women in the US, but that a posse of at least 50 would be easily obtained with fabulous cash prizes in the offing. How precisely does this perfectly common sense and logical observation insult you, or anyone?

Check out William Goldman’s Hype and Glory for another view of Miss America. Pretty damn funny as I remember, but they converted Bill.

Why must you use logic at 2 am? Damn you!

I’m going to bed now.

Maybe the reason that’s so offensive is because some of us feel that women shouldn’t have to be smart AND pretty to get a scholarship. Men aren’t expected to be handsome to win any damn thing. Maybe some of the winners were “just” pretty, or “just” cute, but did any of them weigh more than 100 pounds? Did any of them spend less than 3 hours per day on beauty related concerns*?

SnoopyFan has a very valid point. Thankfully there are plenty of other organizations that provide money without ANY aspect of looks coming into it. I’m not a fucking ornament. I like looking pretty sometimes, sure. But I don’t think that I would be less deserving of recieving a scholarship because I gained 50 pounds and got a bad case of acne. And thinking that women should need to be pretty to recieve this cash is pretty damn fucked up.

*Exaggeration for effect, but you damn well know what I mean.

Why exactly does this bother you Snoopyfan?

You sound like you should enter yourself. That scholarship money could help you finish up on your PhD (Player-hater’s Degree.)

But this isn’t really charity, is it?
The alternative, in this case, to giving out scholarships to women who conform to a narrow-minded standard of beauty[sup]tm[/sup] isn’t giving out money to smart women, or people, or anyone. It’s giving out no scholarships at all.

Eh. They’re not taking my money. Beauty is no more nor less an arbitrary and unfair a reason to give someone a scholarship than athletic ability, race, gender, or religion. The important thing is, they’re helping people go to college, become better educated, and become more productive and valuable members of society. Who cares why they’re giving them the money?

So … to reiterate my point about scholarships for athletics, do you think it is unfair that an athletically gifted 6 foot tall woman who runs 5 miles per day, and hits the gym regularly, should be denied an athletic scholarship, because you choose to sit on the couch eating smores and couldn’t hit a 3 point jump shot if your life depended on it? How is a hard working beauty contestant any less of an objectified scholarship monkey than a person angling for an athletic scholarship?

Wow, I was misunderstood, accused, defended and reconciled and I didn’t get back here fast enough to enjoy it. Rats.

Ooh, on preview I see I’m being quoted again.

Tanaqui, I never said the premise of the thing wasn’t fundamentally screwed up, I just thought SnoopyFan’s analysis of why it was screwed up was a little lacking.

I’ve been out of college for a few years, but I don’t think I was less deserving of a receiving a scholarship because I couldn’t play basketball very well. And thinking that men should need to throw a ball through a hoop to receive cash is even more fucked up than Miss America.

Can I just chime in for a second to say that I think I speak for a large number of men when I say that the correct answer to the “Ginger or Mary Ann” conundrum is: Both.:smiley:


What a wretched rant.

Why shouldn’t pretty people enjoy rewards and affirmation for their beauty? Not everyone can be smart (or cheat without being caught) and get good grades. Not everyone can maintain poise, for example in situations where they panic or feel discomfort. Not everyone has a pleasant personality.

Do you rant about High IQ bowls? Popularity contests? Congeniality awards? Talent awards?

Why do you begrudge this single quality — beauty — as a means for a person to receive recognition and as a basis upon which he or she can compete?

Eh? There are beauty pagents for guys. Just last night I saw Anna Nicole judging the All American Guy competition. And not only did those guys have to be good looking, they had to let Anna Nicole touch them.

Every September, there is a delightful fall fair in the village of Hymers. One of the highlights is the cattle competition, in which the community’s finest looking cattle (of either gender, no less), are paraded before the spectators and judges. And they are mightry fine looking cattle at that.

If some people (male or female) wish to enter themselves in the human form of a livestock competition, that is their choice.

Dude, you don’t HAVE to be good-looking to get a scholarship. I got offered a fair number of pretty sweet scholarships (including a full ride), and I am DEFINATELY not Miss America quality attractive, and I would look HORRIBLE prancing around in a bathing suit.

In my opinion, it’s about as logical as scholarships given to people who’re left handed, or people whose forefathers came from a particular country. It’s their money, and they can do what they want with it.

Aside from that, I’ve known a couple of pageant competitors, including a former Miss Illinois (I think; that or Miss Teen Illinois) who used to babysit me and who lived next door to my grandparents. Those girls are pretty damned smart; if they sound a little rushed or insipid or whatever in the interview…they’re on national television and they’re competing for large amounts of money. Lots of really smart people’d be a quivering mess under those circumstances, but those women answer, and usually answer fairly well. In my book, they’ve earned their money.