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.