Friday, April 24, 2009

A Patriarchal Metaphysical Conundrum

I love this Jay Smooth video:

And as much as I love Miss Congeniality (and I do - I watched it Wednesday night instead of writing a blog post; I know, I know), I was also in agreement with this:
Watching this clip raised a lot of questions for me. Questions such as: Why do beauty pageants still exist? This whole ritual just seems so out of place to me in 2009. It feels like watching a Renaissance Faire. My twitter friends pointed out that beauty pageants are a leading source of scholarship money for young women, which is something - but I mean, if that scholarship's coming along with such crazy messages about how women are supposed to be valued, that's kind of like we're pulling you up as a reward for letting us push you down. Do you really come out ahead at the end of that? It's like a patriarchal metaphysical conundrum.
I'm sure there are women out there, like Gracie Hart from Miss Congeniality, who do find pageantry to be a freeing and wonderful experience. I'm sure there are a lot of women in the pageants, like Cheryl Frasier from Miss Congeniality, who are in highly complex fields of study. But that doesn't really change the fact that the scholarship opportunity is built upon conforming to certain standards of feminine beauty, that the beauty in question almost always equals white or close to it, and that looking good in a swimsuit is mandatory. I'm sure that all of these contestants do want to bring about world peace and are, as Gracie Hart put it, just trying to make a difference in the world. That really doesn't change, as the wonderfully insightful and funny Jay Smooth puts it, the "patriarchal metaphysical conundrum" of it all.

3 comments:

MediaMaven said...

I think you should do a bit of research into the candidates who are in these beauty pageants to find out their background, instead of just relying on Miss Congeniality. Historically, beauty pageants have favored whites, I'm sure, but a glance at the TV the other day revealed plenty of beauties who were not white, and I bet this is hardly new. Your arguments would hold more weight if you actually did some research, instead of a movie.

petpluto said...

"Your arguments would hold more weight if you actually did some research, instead of a movie."

Considering this was more of a pondering and less of an argument, aside from the whole "beauty pageants reinforce traditional beauty standards as well as the traditional ways women are valued", I didn't really feel like I needed to do deep research into the actual contestants. Because it really doesn't matter if they are astrophysicists or girls who's highest aspirations are to be trophy wives. The problem with beauty pageants are still the same.

"Historically, beauty pageants have favored whites, I'm sure, but a glance at the TV the other day revealed plenty of beauties who were not white, and I bet this is hardly new."

Looking at a list of Miss America pageant winners, the majority of them are very white. More minorities may be present in the competition, but overall, whiteness is still heralded as being the winningest shade.

http://mistupid.com/entertain/missamerica.htm

james oh said...

I found nothing wrong with the beauty pageants despite I only watch it once a while. I am believe there is always a reason why thing happens in this way, so do the beauty pageants.

You have raised a good point as why the beauty almost always equals white or close to it, and that looking good in a swimsuit is mandatory.

One hand,it suggests that there is unhealthy issue. On the other hand, it points out there is healthy issue at the same time.

What is more important to me is to learn and acquire the skill of seeing the perfectness in the imperfectness.

Have a great weekend,