20 April 2009

No, really. It's a scholarship program.

As I was doing laundry and packing for my upcoming trip to Tennessee to visit my grandparents, I noticed that the Miss USA pageant was on television. I don't really think I was consciously aware that the Miss USA pageant still happened.

I shouldn't say that. I was painfully reminded of the Miss South Carolina incident of 2007:

Aaaahhh, pageants. They're so relevant. She didn't win...right?

Anyway, so I flipped over to Miss USA. Just to check it out.


I'm just going to put aside all of the normal reasons why the Miss USA pageant (and Miss America, which is apparently separate?) is royally fucked up. So aside from the sexism...let's just talk about why our country can only be represented in these pageants by a skinny girl with big boobs and even bigger hair? Normal sized people don't need cash and prizes? And a free New York loft? I could sure use those things. And I have nice boobs! They're real even.

The Miss USA website says this about its contestants:

"These women are savvy, goal-oriented and aware. The delegates who become part of the Miss Universe Organization display those characteristics in their everyday lives, both as individuals, who compete with hope of advancing their careers, personal and humanitarian goals, and as women who see to improve the lives of others."

I guess we could agree that they're savvy. As long as we're talking about makeup or how to keep your swimsuit from riding up your ass (A skill I still really haven't mastered. This is why I'm not a beauty queen. And that whole dignity thing.).

I suppose we could agree that they're goal-oriented. I mean, they all had the common goal of being in the Miss USA pageant. And here they are! Goal achieved!

But really? They're aware? Because Miss South Carolina 2007 wasn't really even aware of...maps. Or geography. Or that the question she was asked wasn't even remotely about the "educational systems" in "the Iraq." Ahem.

Excuse me while I puke.

So I decided to dig a little deeper and find out what the eligibility requirements are for this staple of American goodness, Miss USA. To become Miss Texas (which is where I would have to start...), a contestant must be between the ages of 18 and 27. So I'm already out. Of course she also:

"Must not be married, never have been married, and never have had a marriage annulled. Must never have given birth to a child, can not be pregnant or be a parent.

Must be of good health and moral character."

I think it's interesting that they're so adamantly opposed to a contestant never having been married, but say nothing of the contestant never having been pregnant. So as long as you're not pregnant that day, I guess you're good.

I understand that they think they've taken care of the abortion thing by requiring all contestants to be "of good moral character," but c'mon. Who exactly gets to be the judge of that anyway? Perez Hilton? Yeah, he was a judge this year.

In the FAQ on the Miss USA site, the "Can a contestant be married?" question came up again. This is the response:

"No. contestants may not be married or pregnant. They must not have ever been married, not had a marriage annulled nor given birth to a child. The titleholders are also required to remain single throughout their reign."

I'm assuming they just mean that the winner can't get married while she's still holding the crown. Because they can't prevent a girl from having a boyfriend, right? I mean, who else is going to kill bugs and change light bulbs? Miss USA don't play that game.

How awesome is it that it's called a reign? Just in case you didn't know, defines "reign" as:

1. the period during which a sovereign occupies the throne.
2. royal rule or authority; sovereignty.
3. dominating power or influence: the reign of law.

Because Miss USA is totally sovereign. And kind of a dictator, right?

Incidentally, this year's winner, in an interview with some local news show in her hometown, used the word "attitudinally." Which is actually a word. But I would be willing to bet that it's not one she knows. Or maybe she does, and I'm just being judgmental and bitchy.

I'm pretty sure she also listed her main interest as "online shopping." And her dream is to become a motivational talk show host. So I guess she wants to be Oprah, but with more online shopping. Who are you going to motivate, honey? Other online shoppers who have lived their lives with the dream of becoming Miss USA?

I hate to break this to you folks, but life is not all about caked on makeup, huge hair, and being skinny. It is about keeping your swimsuit from riding up your ass, though. So I guess that's why we still have Miss USA. We can learn so much from her. Please watch the above video again.

And the quote of the day:

"Any woman who chooses to behave like a full human being should be warned that the armies of the status quo will treat her as something of a dirty joke..." --Gloria Steinem


Meg Kathleen said...

Fuck. This is my last chance to be Miss USA. First thing to figure out is how to stop the swimsuit from riding up - I'll let you know what I find out.

Antje Spethmann said...

I was in a pageant once. I learned to curtsy, and walk with my head held high (OK, I had that one down already) and I gave a speech. The committee of dedicated adults thought I was just fabulous. The kids couldn't quite cope with my topic of choice - globalization. That, and I don't think any of them really liked me.
Still, I can curtsy to this day.

Jay said...

RE: How to keep your swimsuit from riding up your ass -- thin, double-sided tape.

Why is it that I know this and you don't? Oooooh, that's right. Thanks online pseudo-porn!

shine (the artist formerly known as meshealle) said..., not because you're secretly a beauty queen? I'm so disappointed!

Kelly said...

Great post! So last time I was in The Iraq... HUH?

How did Mario Lopez stand there and not crack up? Answer: He's that stupid too.

Did you know that there's a former Miss USA or Miss America or something that's gone into porn? She also used to be on the short lived NBC soap "Passions."

matt said...

Do you remember Jill Vandygriff from AE? She competed for the Miss Texas crown on the Miss USA circuit....

Bow Chica Wah Wah said...

All this drama with Miss California makes me want to puke... seriously? Is it that serious?

LiLu said...

Love the quote. For reals.