Rose­mary McLeod

Hawke's Bay Today - - LOCAL NEWS - Rose­mary McLeod ■ Rose­mary McLeod is a jour­nal­ist and au­thor. ■ Views ex­pressed here are the writer’s opin­ion and not the news­pa­per’s.

It’s good news to me, then, that from next year Miss Amer­ica con­tes­tants won’t have to pa­rade in swim­suits and high heels to prove their bod­ies are flaw­less. Swim­suits make many women feel in­se­cure, even beau­ti­ful ones

IDON’T own swim­ming togs. Not only do I not swim, I can’t swim, and swim­ming togs have a lot to do with that.

It’s good news to me, then, that from next year Miss Amer­ica con­tes­tants won’t have to pa­rade in swim­suits and high heels to prove their bod­ies are flaw­less. Swim­suits make many women feel in­se­cure, even beau­ti­ful ones.

Good for the new man­age­ment, headed by for­mer pageant win­ner Gretchen Carl­son. It will ul­ti­mately kill the con­test, which is all about star­ing at pretty women with few clothes on, but that’s no great loss.

Carl­son rose to the dizzy heights of Fox News an­chor only to be tar­geted by its for­mer CEO Roger Ailes and sue him for sex­ual ha­rass­ment. Just be­cause she wore swim­suits in pub­lic once it didn’t mean she was at­tracted to chubby old men in po­si­tions of power, to his ap­par­ent sur­prise. It cost him and the com­pany US$20 mil­lion ($28 mil­lion).

Don­ald Trump also once ran the con­test, and we know what he boasts about do­ing with his small hands. Un­sur­pris­ing then that leaked emails from past pageants mocked win­ners for their ap­pear­ance, in­tel­lect, and sex lives, the last of which they were not sup­posed to have.

You are sup­posed to believe the fantasy that Miss Amer­ica is a bas­tion of vir­gin­ity, but beauty pageants have al­ways at­tracted scan­dals, among them the 1957 Miss USA re­vealed by her mother-in-law to be twice­mar­ried with two chil­dren, and aged 18, not 21 as she claimed.

Beauty queens have to em­body per­fec­tion of form that few women have, but which you can find to­day in sex ro­bots their mak­ers claim you can even form “re­la­tion­ships” with.

What an odd idea, that all it takes is la­tex, ori­fices and com­puter pro­gram­ming to cus­tomise the woman of your dreams, but it echoes what beauty queens have been ex­pected to be, robot­i­cally talk­ing about sav­ing the world while be­ing called dumb.

It’s a tall or­der for fu­ture Miss Amer­i­cas to be judged on, “who you are as a per­son from the in­side of your soul”, and I don’t think this is what peo­ple seek in sex ro­bots. More likely it’s a con­stant tape play­ing say­ing “You are gor­geous”, and, “My, you are clever”. So who’s the dumb one in that trans­ac­tion?

How they fall. For­mula One has de­cided to end the era of “grid girls”, barely-clad women tra­di­tion­ally sprayed with cham­pagne by win­ning driv­ers. Freud would have had fun with that painfully ex­plicit rit­ual. And Eng­land’s Pro­fes­sional Darts Cor­po­ra­tion is to stop us­ing “walk-on girls” to es­cort play­ers to the stage.

“The PC bri­gade, the lib­eral bri­gade are out in strength … and it’s go­ing to get worse,” laments chair­man Barry Hearn, who can see no rea­son why men with a sharp eye and steady hand shouldn’t be awarded these sym­bolic tro­phies.

As for swim­ming togs, Mus­lim women are pres­sur­ing the Porirua City Coun­cil to let them have two hours a week at the pub­lic pool, with only fe­male staff, so they can get into the wa­ter. Ac­cord­ing to their cus­tom, men other than their hus­bands must not see their bod­ies, which makes swim­ming im­pos­si­ble for them dur­ing nor­mal hours.

You’d think this was a rea­son­able re­quest, es­pe­cially as the women are most likely not alone in wish­ing for mod­esty, but it’s draw­ing fever­ish op­po­si­tion from men who claim this is Is­lamic in­fil­tra­tion and must be re­sisted.

They have a right to stare at women in swim­ming gear is what they mean, re­gard­less of how the women feel about it. A quaint idea, but oddly enough, not true.

"They have a right to stare at women in swim­ming gear is what they mean."

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