Sunday, June 29, 2008

Reflections on Miss CA

We sit on a train between Fresno and Merced, our journey through
pageant world at an end.

The train is oversold and we're sitting next to two dudes discussing
fat chicks and so forth.

It occurs to me that even though the pageantry teaches Erin impressive
interview skills, introduces her to other powerful young women, lets
her wear fancy dresses she'd never be able to buy, and helps pay for
school, the conversation these men are having fits into the same
competitive pageant world.

As seen by the 90 lb. winner with soap opera looks, the American ideal
of beauty goes unquestioned by the adults controlling the girls at
every step. Yet I think the girls themselves are of an age where they
do question the superficiality of short-lived beauty.

Unfortunately for women everywhere, volunteers who run these events in
California have been volunteering since before Title IX, and the type
of girls they look for seem to fit into stereotypes Baby Boomers
rejected 40 years ago.

Ultimately, it seems too many girls second guess the inner strength of
ones raised in equality (if not, superiority) with boys, and showcase
traditional talents fit for 19th century Parlor rooms. Kudos to Miss
Santa Clara for her brave tap/hip hop trash can percussion show, and
for having the happiest heart at the end of the night.

Kudos also to 2007's Miss California, a fellow Westmont alum. While
classicly trained, her rapport with the audience and her behind the
scenes honesty with this year's contestants reveal she doesn't drink
the koolaid.

So, what about these two dudes that continue discussing chubby girls
and gay people? If we're choosing the embodiment of the American
young woman, let's choose someone strong enough to turn the average
young man's chauvinistic and shallow notions upside-down. Hearkening
back to a different time perpetuates the pageant world's irrelavance.

3 comments:

Cactus&Blackfoot said...

So, now that your extra-trail journey is coming to an end, you could still flop north and join us... (C&B, the other coolest hikers on the trail)

David said...

Steve...great comments on Miss Cali.

Carol said...

Hi, Steve and Jane,
Sarah just shared the URL to your blog with me. Tres cool! You are both an inspiration.
Steve, I especially appreciate your blog about the pageant and society's ideas about female beauty. Thank you to both of you for being so wonderful!
Hugs and happy trails,
Carol