Beauty pageants have long been the source of major controversy with many condemning the blatant objectification of women and the counter-intuitive effect its had on the feminist movement.
Despite pageant creators efforts to run the ladies through a charm school of sorts — this year’s contestants spent three weeks in Sao Paulo, Brazil learning how to dance samba, visiting impoverished children and kicking a football around for cameras (because dancing, sports, children and charitable work are obviously what “perfect” woman must do) .
But this judgement is not completely unfounded in many cases. The “Ms. Perfect” routine is often marred by reports of bad behavior such as excessive drinking, drug use and sex tapes. Ironoically, pageantry does seem to be a popular gateway to a successful career in adult film.
Not to mention not every beauty pageant is known for attracting brainiacs. Who could forget Miss Teen USA contestant, Lauren Caitlin Upton‘s “the Iraq” speech? This year’s Miss Universe winner, Leila Lopes, won high marks for her answer to the final question which asked what physical trait she would change if she could. Her answer?
“Thank God I’m very satisfied with the way God created me, and I wouldn’t change a thing. I consider myself a woman endowed with inner beauty. I have acquired many wonderful principles from my family, and I intend to follow these for the rest of my life.”
(Hum…doesn’t sound very impressive to me. But then again, this isn’t quantum physics.)
According to famed journalist Connie Chung, (a pageant judge this year), the Miss Universe pageant will try to change these common beauty queen stereotypes. She told reporters, “You have to keep in mind that these women are not objects just to be looked at. They’re to be taken seriously. I want to choose somebody I take seriously and the world takes seriously, too.”
I’m going to go ahead and say that’s a long shot, Ms. Chung. After all, it’s hard to pay attention to what’s coming out of someone’s mouth when you’re entirely entranced with their baton twirling and substantial silicone assests.