Bikini ban but beauty is still skin deep to pageants
Ifind there’s something mesmerising about the annual Victoria’s Secret runway show, with its bright lights, barely-there outfits, famous musicians and, occasionally, a stiletto calamity.
It’s not exactly the pinnacle event on the female empowerment calendar, but at least there are no illusions about what it’s about.
The Miss America franchise, meanwhile, is having an identity crisis.
It announced this week it was ditching the swimsuit section because ‘‘We’re not going to judge you on your appearance ... we’re interested in what makes you, you’’.
You might well say ‘‘Finally, It’s about time we stopped judging girls on how much of them jiggles when they strut about in a bikini!’’.
But if a competition exclusively made up of uncommonly good looking girls with PhDs in the fine arts of posing and diplomatically (sometimes nonsensically) answering questions is NOT a beauty pageant, what exactly is it – a spelling bee?
‘‘It’s what comes out of their mouths that we care about’’ Miss America claims. Cool – I look forward to listening to ‘‘Miss America, the podcast’’.
The Miss Universe NZ pageant ditched the compulsory swimsuit section several years ago.
It incorporates an entrepreneurial challenge and many of its contenders have impressive CVs.
But let’s not kid ourselves here. On the entry form the very first thing it asks for is three photos.
If you’re selected, you go off to ‘‘stiletto camp’’, hone your posing skills and have more photos taken. The audition – yet more photos. The whole competition culminates in a delightfully cringey televised pageant, complete with all the fake tan, false eyelashes and fake ‘‘I’m so happy for you!’’ reactions you can shake a tiara at.
The pageant business is indulging in some top-shelf virtue signalling if it thinks it’s anything other than an evaluation of what your mama gave you. You can be as intelligent and accomplished as you like – if you ain’t pretty, you ain’t winning.
It’s never been about world peace, charity, business skills or special talents. Even if it was, the world of reality TV has those bases pretty well covered these days.
Want to show the world how well you screech along to Adele? Hit up The Voice,
Idol or Got Talent franchises.
If you want a competition for entrepreneurial skills, there’s The
Apprentice or Dragon’s Den. If you want the body you built, bought or were born with to be judged by all and sundry, the upcoming Love Island probably has you covered.
Or just, like, chuck a pic up on Instagram and evaluate your success in likes.
So come on – surely it’s high time to can the charade and let those girls go back to whatever it was they were doing to bring about world peace.
The pageant business is indulging in some topshelf virtue signalling if it thinks it’s anything other than an evaluation of what your mama gave you.