Miss America: The Annual Hoax That, For Some Reason, Still Exists in 2014

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A few weeks ago, an annual televised special was broadcast that drew millions of viewers. And no, it wasn’t Sunday Night Football. It was Miss America, otherwise known as Fully Clothed Men Judging Women In Swimsuits On Nothing But Appearance. When one thinks about Miss America, one can’t help but wonder: “Why the **** is this still going on in 2014? I thought that men and women were equals!”

Well, apparently not.

Swimsuit Competition

The most iconic part of the Miss America competition is definitely the swimsuit competition, today known as the Lifestyle and Fitness competition. The swimsuit competition has been a large part of the pageant since the first pageant in 1921, even though it (and the rest of the pageant) has changed a lot since then.

graphic element 1

The Miss America pageant has changed a lot since its early days.

It also just happens to be my biggest problem with the Miss America competition.

First of all, the fact that it is called the “Lifestyle and Fitness” competition is completely bogus. If any normal person wanted to look like the Miss America contestants do in a swimsuit, she would have to starve herself for, oh, I don’t know, like, a few months? That is not healthy at all. One needs food to survive, and if they want to give it up just to prance around in a swimsuit onstage, their priorities are a bit out of whack. There are people in third-world countries who would do anything for food, while here in America, a lot of women apparently want to starve themselves just to prance around onstage in a bikini and make complete fools of themselves.

The second problem I have with the swimsuit competition is that Miss America is a scholarship pageant. If it is a scholarship pageant, then the Miss America organization would want to give the scholarships to the most smart and capable women. For some reason, a factor in determining one’s capability and intelligence is whether or not one looks like Beach Barbie, because apparently, as talk show host John Oliver puts it, “the intelligence portion of the brain is located somewhere on the upper thigh.” The third, and perhaps most obvious, problem I have with the swimsuit competition is that it objectifies women. Year after year, I can’t help but notice that the host is an average-sized, fully clothed man who is sharing the stage with perfect-bodied women who would, under any other circumstances, be arrested for indecent exposure. Double standard much?

Scholarship Pageant, Or Lack Thereof

What most people don’t know about the Miss America pageant is that the scholarship portion of the pageant is a complete hoax. The organization claims that over $45 million are made available for college scholarships every year. It turns out that the key words in that sentence are “made available.”

My evidence? In 2013, Miss Alabama contestants were given the option to accept a scholarship to Troy University, and the Miss Alabama organizers said that $2.6 million were being given out to contestants towards a college scholarship. Miss Alabama got the outrageous amount of $2.6 million by multiplying the value of one scholarship ($54,000) by the number of Miss Alabama contestants (48), which totaled to about $2.6 million. The amount of money that was actually given to contestants was, to put it simply, a bit less than expected. None of the Miss Alabama contestants accepted a scholarship. That means that if the value of one scholarship ($54,000) was multiplied by the number of contestants who actually accepted a scholarship (0), that means that $0 in scholarships were given out.

the prettiest school in america

If Troy University really gave out $2.6 million in scholarships to Miss Alabama contestants, then they would have probably won some sort of award for being the prettiest school in Alabama.

The amount of money that the Miss America Organization has given out–even after the most generous assumptions are made for each national, state and local competition–barely even $4 million dollars. This makes one think, “Where the **** did they get that outrageous $45 million amount if the organization barely even give out $4 million?” The world may never know.

The Bottom Line

To sum up my feelings on Miss America, it is an event that pretty much destroys everything that feminists have been working towards since the Seneca Falls convention in 1848. In my opinion, pageantry would only be a fair practice if men were subject to the same demeaning judging process as women, and if they would also be forced to compete in Lifestyle and Fitness.

Maisie's 'Mr. America' cartoon 11-2014

If only this happened.

True, there have been some notable accomplishments in feminism since then. But, thanks to Miss America, us feminists still clearly have our work cut out for us.

If you’re still not entirely convinced about how unethical the practice of pageantry is, click here. You won’t regret it.

Author: fabulousfeministfangirl

Intersectional feminist and fangirl of many things, including The Voice, Broadway musicals, Glee, and Jane the Virgin.

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