Tag Archives: beauty pageant

Miss Universe Should Be Miss Trophy Wife

jenna tacklokova, sexism, women, beauty pageants

Jenna Tacklokova walks the razor’s edge between equality and sexism. Photo: Model Mayhem. com

Jenna Talackova, Vancouver’s representative for the Miss Universe Canada pageant has made headlines recently because she was disqualified as not being genetically female. Genetically, some women will be more female or male than others, as will men. And while her gene pool designated her as male at birth she obviously never felt or believed she was male. Could you tell whether my female friend or I was more genetically female? And really,  why did it matter what she was born as if she is a woman today?

Because the veneer of depth to any beauty pageant is as thin as the fact that these are set up as a shopping mall for rich men. What? You think this isn’t true? Have you looked at what they’re judged on? At least they call it a beauty pageant. Just check out the wiki entry, which outlines that you’re judged on poise in a bathing suit and in an evening gown. Why not business attire and casual clothes? They added in a tough question or two that contestants have to answer on goals, dreams, ethics, maybe favorite fruit, but that’s supposed to give some depth while trends indicate the organizers have dropped the emphasis in recent years. So really, it’s about the prettiest flower in the bouquet. Even if most of these women are intelligent and achieving great things in their own right, such a pageant put greater emphasis on the coating than on the interior.

beauty pageant, miss universe, sexual exploitation, sexism, miss universe canada

A beauty pageant of a different sort. This one’s for perfect spines, but they still used women. Life photo archive–Wallace Kirkland 1956

sexism, beauty pageants, exploitation, bigotry, beauty

Beauty pageants like to keep women in their place, as ornaments and chattel. Creative Commons

Is it so wrong to be judged on beauty? I guess it depends. I’ve already commented on the severe wrongness of the toddler beauty pageants; at least these people are adults, even if they have to jump through hoops. We all like beautiful things and are drawn to the good looking people or animals or resorts or dinners. And while beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the beholden tend towards certain standards. The Mr. Universe “pageant” seems to just be about body building so one could say it’s all about the body as well. But let’s get back to the transgendered Jenna. Originally she was disqualified because she wasn’t female enough. Why on earth would it matter when she looks like a woman and has all the body parts of a woman? You can’t be Miss Universe if you have children or are married, either. Oh heck, here’s what the site says: They must not have ever been married, not had a marriage annulled nor given birth to, or parented, a child. The titleholders are also required to remain single throughout their reign. Now why might these restrictions make a difference to the title of Miss Universe? Well, if you’re pregnant you might have to drop out of your one-year tour of duty. But married, divorced or having a boyfriend/girlfriend (they don’t mention that you must be straight)–well gosh, if you had a relationship, then all those RICH MEN might not think that you can be theirs. And all those men would FREAK OUT if they thought they were chatting up a potential trophy wife who might once have had the same tackle as what dangles between their legs.

I don’t think we should make this equal and start parading men for their body parts either. I believe that Vancouver once moved away in the past from teen beauty pageants and then just had youth ambassadors, who could be any gender. That makes more sense. Judge people as a whole, not on that thin veneer that will wrinkle and age like anyone else’s. Your merits, intelligence and demeanor can last longer than ephemeral beauty.

Miss Bala, beauty pageant, sexism, female exploitation, womens rights

Miss Bala was a movie about a fixed beauty pageant and how a woman gets victimized as the winner and is a drug lord’s mule.

Miss Bala was a gritty movie about a woman who wins a fixed contest because the winner is nothing more than a sex and drug puppet for the local drug lord. On one hand I give Ms Talackova kudos for slapping the Miss Universe (and Donald Trump) organizers upside the head. On the other, I ask why she’s bowing to these exploitative conventions, except that life can be very hard for transgendered people and there is a lot of prejudice out there, so if she can get some money and positive attention, that could make a big difference. When the organizers disqualified her for not being female enough I wonder if they also looked at those who have botox, breast implants, any sort of reductions or cosmetic surgery, false eyelashes or even makeup. After all, what’s true beauty? It’s what resides within that matters most.

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The Disturbing Trend of Sexifying Children

beauty pageant, toddlers, sexism, oversexualization,

Toddlers in Tiaras is the worst offender of sexualizing children. Taking it to the absolute extreme of horrible in this picture. From Toddlers in Tiaras

There has been a disturbing trend for quite some time of demented mothers taking their children (usually girls but not exclusively) and turning them into little sex dolls. The places where they parade their sex doll children are called beauty pageants. It’s pretty obvious how I already feel about beauty pageants and the objectification of women, but to do it to a child is really criminal.

JonBenet Ramsey may have been the most famous case. The 6-year-old beauty pageant queen (yes, queen) was murdered in 1996 and her murderer never found. The murder did bring a spotlight to the twisted world of children’s beauty pageants and the momzillas that subject their children to them.

On the whole, judging someone on beauty alone is vain and sets up a precedent in this world that that’s all it takes: beauty. And once you grow too old or too shriveled, you’re useless. Talent and intelligence and skill are much better tests of a person than just what genes they were blessed with. Obviously, looks can get you places but the unfairness this sets up for people with true skills and talent is already a twisting of our morals.

If I eliminate the beauty pageants for kids that treat them at least as kids, beautiful kids, then that still leaves plenty of room for the freak show beauty pageants, called glitz and glamor and now championed by TLC’s show, Toddlers and Tiaras. We already have the overperpetuated princess imagery that Disney should be smacked across the face for overdoing. Sure, little girls dream of being princesses, a bit. I did and I read fairy tales but I certainly didn’t think it was reality, even as a child, nor did I want to be one 24/7. I also wanted to be a fireman, doctor and artist.

Does she look like a doll or a creepy sex baby?

Does she look like a doll or a creepy sex baby?

So here we have the famous case of JonBenet and the sick pageants that make little girls into miniature sex kittens. It’s not just that the dresses are sparkly and frilly–what little girl doesn’t like that–it’s that these dresses are off the shoulder and backless. Other children might be dressed up as Vegas show girls. On top these kids have eyeshadow, foundation, lipstick and false eyelashes adhered to their poor little faces. Plus they wear giganto hairpieces, and spraypainted tans, and false teeth (called flippers) to improve their bite. View a few YouTubes and these “smiling” (I use the term loosely as they look like they’re grimacing) children appear as hungry, young vampires.

The only thing these pageants haven’t done yet is put fake boobs on these kids and they’d probably get arrested for that. Oops, I’m wrong. Look at the picture above; not yet implants but can that be far behind? I can’t help but shudder thinking of all the pedophiles out there drooling over these children being trained to be sexy by the age of six. Creepy doesn’t even encompass what I feel about these people using their children. At the best, they’re treating them like dolls. At the worst, like miniature sex toys when all these kids should be treated as is children. Seeing one clip, the little girl who won the competition (not as sexed up as the others, thankfully) cries and says she won the money back. Probably mommy let her know that it was costing them a big bundle ($900) and that she better do the best she can.

I got on this tangent of the creepsville beauty pageants because a friend posted a YouTube video to her Facebook. It was of a bunch of little girls reenacting Britney Spears’ Toxic video. It seems a little girl won a contest (in South America I think) and her wish was to do the video. It’s well done and replicates everything, with children instead of adults, and that the kisses are on the foreheads of the boys, not on the lips. But it’s way creepy. And you can’t see it anymore because it’s been pulled for copyright violation. It was disturbing though.

I can’t help but wonder about a society that sells sex so much that little girls are more interested in being sexy mini lolitas than in being kids. And that their moms are encouraging such behavior. I’m all for open, sexual thinking, and being sexy, but that should be what adults do, where they can form their own opinions. Children should be left to grow and experience their innocence and just be kids. We frown on child exploitation in other countries, and we should here as well.

For a book of creepiness, here’s more on the subject: http://lamblegs.wordpress.com/2010/06/08/wrong-wrong-wrong-susan-anderson/

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Do We Need Another Beauty Queen?

Yesterday it was announced that there would be the first Miss Vancouver, multi-ethnic beauty pageant. Marina Hossain, is the CEO of Jam Expo Inc., which will be organizing the pageant for the Health and Beauty Expo. So first off, Canada hasn’t had a Miss Canada pageant since 1992. High production costs and declining interests were the reasons given. The other part was that people just weren’t interested in seeing women sashay along in a bathing suit and an evening gown, and giving their five minutes on how I hope to improve the world.

Yesterday’s CBC Radio One had a pageant coordinator also mention that Canadians just aren’t interested in being beauty queens, yet the ethnic beauty contests have continued. Obviously these contests do give exposure to the winner, as well as some prizes and cash. But the other reason they’re not popular is become they are still sexist and based on “beauty.”

So here comes Ms. Hossain with a new one that blends all ethnicities. Common ground is good but it’s still a beauty pageant. In fact, Hossain says, “Some can sing, some can dance, some have a nice face. Not everybody has that. But it’s the same as any other talent, like swimming. I see it in the same line. Beauty should be appreciated, too…. Beauty is something you have to work on. You have to furnish it. It’s a talent, knowing how to keep up with your body and health. Plus the natural talent you’re blessed with.”

A talent? Right. Being beautiful is a talent like having a well working heart, or two good eyes. You’re born with it or you’re not. Being born with something is not a talent. Some people have natural abilities in drawing or running but it still takes work to be good at and maintain a consistent level of talent. Beauty I guess can also be maintained: eat healthy, exercise, sleep properly. But then there is always botox, and  silicone and plastic surgery to make one beautiful. That’s a talent for those with money.

Hossain thinks beauty is a legitimate female talent. Wow! Why not have a beauty pageant for flowers then? Beauty, where the winner will be crowned with a tiara. Like a true Disney princess world in which Hossain wants to perpetuate the aspect of women being pretty trophies.

Contestants will be judged on the health of their skin, hair, fitness level, etc. They will get to parade along in white T-shirts and jeans, evening gowns and ethnic wear. Swimsuits may yet happen. So someone like me, born in Canada to Canadian parents, whose ethnic grandparents died early and didn’t pass on their cultural motifs for Italian and Danish ethnic/rural clothing would  wear something decidedly…Canadian. Like jeans, or Birkenstocks, or cowboy boots, or a shirt, or… Hmm, I wonder how the judges will like that ethnic dress. But I’m sure they’ll be fair…in judging who’s most beautiful in their ethnic wear.

It makes me wonder if someone, a woman who is sturdy, perhaps small hipped but barrel chested, thick through the shoulders but with amazing skin, lovely hair and who exercises four times a week could ever win, even if her attributes were better than her slimmer opponents. Especially if she had a bulbous nose and squinty eyes but was the nicest person you ever met, with intelligence and compassion for all. Would she win? I’m guessing, not.

While other pageants in recent years had to disguise the parading of female flesh with humanitarian works and community work, this is hardly mentioned up front. It’s all about the talent of beauty. Here is rule # 7 in the requirements:

7. Candidates will not be permitted to have any body art or body piercing that is visibly offensive.

Hmm, visibly offensive. I’m sorry, ma’am, your botox lips are visibly offensive. Excuse me sir, your balding head is visibly offensive. Why you, your height is visibly offensive. That leaves a lot to interpretation but then Ms Hossain and her judges get to be the judge of that. Just hope you figure it out before you send in your $138 nonrefundable registration fee. Oh and you have to be in good health and not have any medical problems. Is that fair under the human rights code? Well probably since they’re making it for young women 18-28 who can never have been married. I wonder if they want them to be virgins too.

But perhaps I’m being harsh about this vapid throwback to stereotypical pageants that promote the objectifying of women. I’d believe more that this was something new and great if it wasn’t a promotional gimmick for the expo. I’d believe it had altruism at its heart if there had been any mention about what the women are expected to bring to the world and community. Sure, that might help decide but it’s obviously not the thrust. I’d believe this was for a more balanced and less genderist idea if it included men and didn’t have the Disney princess tiara.

Unfortunately I find it hard to believe in or support this trophy girl award. There is a good reason that Canadians don’t want to enter such bigoted pageants.

http://www.jamexpo.ca/RULES-MAY2009.pdf

http://www.jamexpo.ca/vancouver.php?pageid=29

http://www.straight.com/article-212939/beauty-talent-says-organizer-new-miss-vancouver-pageant

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