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If you think about it, the Miss
America pageant does take women's achievement and opportunity to unprecedented
I mean, where else can a woman be both
Madonna and whore? That's right. Country
and rock and roll.
Here's what I mean. Turns out that New Jersey anti-discrimination laws will
require next year's pageant to lift the half-century-old eligibility ban on
women who've been married, pregnant or had an abortion.
And oh, the protest!
Revoking the rule "is totally unnecessary and will ultimately lead to
the destruction of the Miss America program!" cried Leonard Horn, who was
CEO of the organization until last year. So did all sorts of people who wrote
all sorts of letters to all sort of places. Big huge hue and cry.
But see, these are the same people who are trying to tell us that the pageant
is a forum for American women to "express their opinions, talent, and intelligence."
Right. The way a "gentleman's club" is a forum for American women
to express the power of dance.
Make no mistake: I'd never begrudge the hard work these Misses really do do
-- much more than snipping ribbons and waving from floats -- once they kick
those pumps off. And -- much like smart cookie columnist Robyn
Blumner -- I got no problem with a "beauty pageant" that calls
a spade a spade, with a strip joint that calls a club a club. Neon, at least,
So if the Save the Pageant! folks really wanted to put their scholarship competition
where their mouths are, they might see the potential of, oh (and here come some
"acceptable" examples of conduct), the rape survivor who had an abortion
and now dedicates herself to counseling and improving survivors' services, or
the young widow who sets up support and networking programs for fellow single
Or maybe we'd start flipping our stereotypes over like an hourglass (figure).
Remember those girls who were barred from the Honor Society because they'd gotten
pregnant? Had they besmirched the honor of the society or had they reminded
us that teens can be moms ... and smart?
Ergo: if Women with Pasts can make it as far as the pageant, well, are they
tarnishing the tiara, or are they reminding us that they, too, are capable,
of ending, oh, hunger, disease, terrorism, ozone (Oh no wait, we want that.)?
Yeah, I know, that's asking a lot.
Plus I'm not even saying they should or shouldn't change the rules.
I'm just asking: who are we kidding? "There she is ... your ideal."
Brooke Shields in Pretty
Awwww, yeah. We ogle them tottering in their "physical fitness
in swimsuit" and heels (which, arguably, takes hardcore training), thinking
about all the stuff we want to do to them. You know, the stuff that could disqualify
Awwww, yeah. Just as long as they're not damaged goods.
(Besides: does anyone really think every single one of these
gals is completely pure of past? Like one or two don't white-lie themselves
in under the wire every year? Like we all hadn't done pretty much everything
Patricia Bowman had, except the Kennedy part? Like some things, while painful
for and objectionable to some, aren't part of life? And what's the deal with
Miss Connecticut over there?)
So just check the regulations in your own lives, you all. You can do what you
want, as long as it's not in New Jersey, I guess. You're allowed to rule out
squeezes with "pasts" -- but only if you, too would pass muster
with Leonard Horn. And no matter how well your contestant would fare in "onstage
personality in evening wear" (ie how HOT they are), remember, when you
guys are the judges, it is about the "personal platform."
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