I have a confession. I have really been trying to avoid sticking my foot in my mouth lately. I hate feeling like the type of person that others go, “Oh… That thing you said? You’re just so funny,” to her face and then say, “Wow. Crazy bitch,” behind her back. So I’ve just been a little… quieter, I guess.
And then this weekend happened.
You know how I hold in really high esteem my live-tweeting skills? And how my genuine love/snarky love for pageants is pretty legendary? (infamous?) And really, it’s all in good fun and totally amusing if you know me?
Alright. Whatever. I live tweeted Miss America, only to have a tweet pulled and be told to lay off the organization. By Time Magazine. Oh yeah, then, I was scolded by friends and family and told I was being mean to the girls.
Let me clarify. I know my views on the Miss America Organization are sometimes hard to follow. It’s a hard thing for me to explain. I’m a raving feminist that doesn’t necessarily condemn a good pageant. I struggle with the way the organization perpetuates stereotypes of what beauty means, while also helping a friend prep for her first MAO local. Look, a beauty pageant, like anything else, isn’t all bad or all good. And my oh-so-short stint in a crown and sash prepared me for life past nude pumps and snappy casual outfits, and I’m happy about that. For me, that was a cool thing. It was a choice I got to make—and I enjoyed it a lot.
But you guys: and this is what I was saying: it is ultimately a beauty pageant. It was started as a way to extend the tourism season for Atlantic City, by parading pretty girls around in swimsuits in a beauty pageant or “bathers review.” And while there have been some wonderful, visionary, feminist women who have fought to have the organization provide scholarship money and stronger opportunities… well, Sunday night we spent an hour before “kick-off” cutting to girls preening in front of a mirror. You can’t tell me they were fixing their hair and giggling about butt glue and rhinestones because they were being judged on their academic excellence or strategies for establishing global security.
To me, it is an organization with some of the smartest, most talented women, I’ve ever had the chance to know (The new Miss America has a triple major in political science, global studies and geography – and is heading to law school at Fordham? Holy shit.) But it also has moments of freaking ridiculous. And I can’t help but feel expecting someone to parade herself across the stage in a bikini and have picture perfect hair, while sharing her strategy for complex global issues in a 30 second sound bite after juggling flaming batons falls more in the latter category, than the former.