Any beauty pageant is going to get a bad reputation for being “shallow” or teaching women that “beauty is all that matters” but if you watch the Miss USA pageant while reading Twitter, what you’ll find is that A: We are our own worst enemies and B: So are other women.
I will never understand why women put each other down so much when we should be encouraging each other and lifting each other up. We should be rooting for the success of other women to help pave the way for the success of us all. As Miranda Lambert once said in an interview, she wants to see MORE female country artists, she was just helping break down the door so they could all get through.
But women in our society seem quite happy knocking each other down. As was very evident on Twitter last night. Follow the hashtag #MissUSA and you’ll know what I’m talking about. There were three things I read over and over and I’m going to debunk them all right here.
Miss Nevada: Smart and beautiful
1. The contestants are too stupid to accept the scholarships they win.
Really? I wonder where women in the Twitterverse got that idea. The winner, Miss Nevada, is trying to stop rape at colleges and universities across the nation. The judge told her that 19 percent of women are victims of sexual assault and wanted to know why it was being swept under the rug. Miss Nevada said we need to bring more awareness to the issue, as well as teach women to learn self defense (she’s a fourth degree black belt). Sounds to me like there are some brains in that pretty head. And Miss Pennsylvania is a product of rape and smartly said she is proof that our circumstances do not define our lives. Miss Iowa is studying finance, Miss Michigan Psychology with a concentration in women’s studies and Miss Oregon works in real estate development.
2. The contestants should eat a cupcake.
We have a first lady trying to curb obesity and yet it’s OK to want to cram unhealthy food into these girls’ mouths. One day about a year ago I was sitting in the cancer center waiting for my doctor when two ladies sitting across from me loudly began talking about how skinny I was. They concluded after several minutes that I must be anorexic. You can imagine how horrified I was to have two complete strangers talking about MY body as if they had any knowledge of what weight I should be, and diagnose me with a medical disorder and all while in a cancer center of all places. I was there, actually, because that just happens to be where my Factor V blood doctor is (Factor V means I have a higher risk of blood clots). A person’s body weight is between them, their doctor and their family. It is never acceptable to make judgements on other people, especially when we know nothing of their lifestyle. Further, America already has such a difficult time with body image, why are we adding to this?
3. And finally, those women need to do squats.
WHAT?! I saw that one from so many women and men I was sick to my stomach. These women, who others said they wanted to feed a donut to, apparently aren’t in shape enough. I was sickened to think what kind of expectations we are putting on today’s women when some of the fittest women (or at least the ones willing to sport a bikini on TV) in the country are mocked that they aren’t pretty enough or in good enough shape. Miss Nevada, the fourth-degree black belt looked just fine to me, as did Miss Idaho, a track star at Boise State.
I probably normally wouldn’t share a bikini pic on my blog, but here’s a few of the top 20 contestants just to prove how ridiculous those tweets were.
Miss USA contestants in swimsuit competition
Of course, I could be putting too much stock in the tweets, but I think it actually represents many of the things that are wrong with our society and I’m not talking about pageants (although I still don’t agree with the swimsuit category). Our society puts too much pressure on men and women to be perfect and it seems that women attack women the most, at least emotionally.
I won’t pretend Miss USA doesn’t try to sexualize these women and that’s a whole separate issue we need to tackle in our society. But these degrading comments from strangers I would wager are just as dangerous to our society.