If there’s something I’m not seeing in all this, I’ve missed some important point, I hope my (4) readers will let me know. But until I’m corrected this is my stance:
The whole beauty pagenat debate is crap. It seems to me a non-issue because the whole idea of a beauty pageant is so morally bankrupt, they don’t have a leg to stand on in terms of condemming the morality of contestants.
At some point, maybe I’ll blog about why I think the attention Ms. California drew by opposing same sex marriage was silly. Take a look on the blog roll for my outnumbered by 5’s thoughts on this topic if you’re interested. Today, what I’m more focused on is the fact that semi-nude photos of Ms. California turned up.
At it’s core, the pageant is an exercise in turning God’s creations into objects. It creates a menu of the most appealing slabs of meat.
I recognize that there are aspects not related to appearance. There is the whole talent thing. And the question-and-answer thing, which went so well for “Ms. California.”
But a woman who didn’t meet society’s expectations for what counts as beautiful would never make it anywhere in those things. If Ugly Betty possessed some amazing talent or rhetorical skill, nobody would ever know. She wouldn’t make it beyond the first level of competetion.
Perhaps there is some other message that can be inferred from this state of affairs. But there’s only two justifications that I can see for all this:
A) If you’re beautiful, you should also be talented and able to have a discussion. (But first, it’s important that you be beautiful.)
B) If you are both beautiful and talented, you deserve some special form of attention and praise.
The thing that boggles my mind in all this is that a competetion that would have everybody traipse around a stage in bikinis would have the nerve to suggest that women shouldn’t engage in behavior which objectifies themselves.
I don’t think anybody should be treated like an object. But how can it be o.k. for them to be an object in terms of the competetion but not in the rest of thier lives? Is their really much difference between the semi-nude photos and the show they put on?
I remember a mad magazine from when I was a kid. This one girl borrowed a bathin suit from another girl. The borrow-er walks out all calm. The bathing suit owner says “I don’t have a bathing suit like that, what drawer did you get that from?” The other girl says “Your top drawer.” The other girl says “My top drawer is my underwear drawer.” The borrower, realizing that she’s in clothing that is called under clothes, not a bathing suit, freaks out and runs away.
At the age of 10, I was able to see that humor. It’s not exactly intellectuals writing Mad Magazine. Yet they were able to point out the absurdity of the situation: the drawer we store our clothes in doesn’t really change what those clothes are. It seems to me there is little difference between the semi-nude pictures I have seen and a swim suit competetion.
But even if there was, even if the pageant was all evening gowns, and even if the pictures were fully nude… Either objectification is right or it’s wrong. If gawking at women shouldn’t be done then it really doesn’t matter what they are wearing.
Just to be clear: I don’t think beauty pageants are good things. I don’t think semi-nude photos on the internet are good either. And I haven’t stated an opinion here about whether or not same-sex marriage is a good idea; I did state that focusing on what Ms. California thinks of same-sex marriage is silly.