Is The Miss America Pageant Outdated?
Over the weekend, I watched the Miss America pageant for the first time since I was a child. The thing that crossed my mind right away was, ďThis show still exists?Ē
As the show began, I noticed how it was more like an advertisement for Las Vegas than for anything else. The girls were introduced in various touristic areas of the city, blurting out quick (and easy to miss if you were not paying attention) advertisements for their location. But all that aside, as the show continued I noticed even more irritating things.
The host explained the breakdown for how the women were judged. As he ticked off the numbers, I listened without alarm until he said the on-stage question was only worth five percent. This came after the swimsuit acted as 15 percent and evening wear as 20. Really? After all these years and the advances women have made in society, the on-stage question is still worth such a little amount?
The questions they answer could arguably be a great conversation, not just a rushed, one sentence opinion. Why canít they beef up this segment? †I guess the idea is to see how the gals think on their toes about current events, but seeing as the winners are granted educational scholarship money,† I would want to witness more of their opinions on these matters. Miss California actually got a pretty tough question. It wasn’t necessarily about a current event in the news, and it wasn’t rocket science either, but it was something that actually made me stop and go, ďHmmm.Ē
The judge asked Miss CA what she thought about television networks like MTV glorifying teen pregnancy with reality TV shows about teen moms. Now that’s a tricky question, considering the stage this woman is standing on. Miss CA gave a decent answer that sounded, well, downright awful. She explained that she supported the entertainment industry and the fact that people like reality TV, and that itís up to the viewers to take responsibility and realize where to draw the line of glorification. She said this in not such an eloquent way (maybe thatís why she landed in last place in the finals) but when all is said and done, she answered correctly in my opinion. If she hadn’t agreed with the entertainment industry, neither she, nor the judge who asked this, should be participating in the Miss America Pageant for sake of sheer hypocrisy.
I was happy to see that the personal interview portion held a little more clout in the competition at 25 percent. But what is frustrating is how they donít even televise any of it. This is the section where the women talk about important issues, itís a big part of their score, and we donít even get to see it!
Right away there was a large amount of women who were eliminated. To validate their efforts and compliment them, one of the hosts began talking about how these women were not done here. No, no. They were going to go on to become doctors and lawyers and politicians. Now Iím not saying thatís not true, but why then is the intelligence factor down played so much? What is the point of talking about how you have these ultra clever women up on stage when apparently, nobody cares unless they are strutting around in a swimsuit?
I’ve heard comments from viewers bored with the show, as well as those who still find it excellent television. “Since when did it become passe’ to be well-rounded?” is a comment I found in an article thread regarding the show. If you really want to throw in the physical aspect, I don’t really care. I mean it is entertainment television we are talking about after all. But in order to actually be well rounded, they’d have to show the personal interviews, and perhaps a few more minutes of conversation regarding the on-stage question. Additionally, women cannot choose how they come out of the womb.
To grant women money on the fact that they are more physically attractive than other women just seems old fashioned and sends a negative message to young girls who are already surrounded by women opting for plastic surgery at record low ages. In fact, 27 percent of botox patients are between 12 and 29, according to statistics recorded over a year ago. Plus, “attractive” people already get jobs easier and make more money than those with below average looks, according to studies. Why don’t we start glorifying these women in a slightly different light?
The talent show was interesting, but again, I was not impressed. I think times have changed with competition shows. We are used to watching an entire season of someone fight for a hard earned title. By the time a modern show like that comes to a close, you know with conviction who you want to win because you’ve been watching them every step of the way in their journey. But after watching this one-time, two hour show, I honestly could not care less who won. I donít know them at all (especially since we donít get to see their personal interview) and in comparison with shows like American Idol or The X Factor, who have set the bar high for performers, the womenís talent seemed less than admirable.
I know these women have done a lot to get as far as they have, but as a viewer I feel no connection to the contestants at all. Overall I have to conclude that the Miss America pageant is outdated and embarrassing to watch as a woman.