I can’t throw a football, but I don’t begrudge Peyton Manning his Super Bowl rings. I don’t possess the athleticism of an Olympic runner, the gift of gab of a talk show host or the brainpower of a NASA engineer either, so I DON’T APPLY FOR THOSE JOBS! I also don’t diminish the talent, challenges and desire that goes into obtaining any of them.
So, I ask, what’s wrong with young women who are attractive, physically fit and well-spoken applying for a job that essentially represents a brand – Miss Universe, Miss America, Miss Bikini USA, Miss Earth, whatever — and will be a stepping stone to other career options in her field of choice? Models do it every day and are generally not required to speak, and they make millions doing it! Actresses are often required to show considerably more skin and appear in morally compromising scenes but are never disparaged for their decisions like the girls who participate in pageants.
Confession: I only watch the red-carpet portion of the Oscars. I love the parade of gorgeous evening gowns and sparkly jewelry. I’m not at all interested in the next three hours of endless thank yous and soapboxing on various social and political opinions. But, maybe that’s just me, so I don’t watch. My prerogative.
Miss America’s decision to eliminate swimsuits and modify evening gowns to promote an atmosphere which is designed to be “open,” “inclusive,” and “transparent” is bewildering at best. First of all, what does that even mean? Fantastic! Anyone can enter! And now, what has been a tradition of healthy competition since 1921 is being reduced to a boring, televised job interview with 45 too many candidates. As an aside, I’ve participated in my share of job interviews and at no point does the prospective boss ask you to share a piece you’ve prepared on your trombone or twirl around his office with a flaming baton!
What bothers me the most, however, is that once again, one or two people with a bone to pick have ruined something wonderful for thousands of others. This is not about social outrage or the #MeToo movement – if it is, then what’s implied is that girls in bikinis ARE silly and frivolous and they DO ask for it. Let’s just remember that the perpetrators of these assaults, stereotypes, wandering hands and eyes are to blame, not the girls on the receiving end.
Beauty pageants are simply competitions between beautiful, confident, determined young women who CHOOSE to participate. Their sport is physical fitness, their presentation is a sense of fashion and their ability to “get the job” is based on awareness of the world and the ability to deliver a quick, succinct answer on any number of topics – just like in any other job interview situation.