[EDITOR'S NOTE:]This entry is a guest post by Melissa McEwan. Melissa is the blog mistress behind Shakesville and one of my first blogger friends. She did the graphic design for our recently remodeled site too, and after all the mock-ups I saw I can easily recommend her skills as an artist. I will always, however, think of Melissa primarily as one of those rare writers that make you nod your head or shake your fist every time you read them.
Miss South Carolina answers a question about education in the US at the Miss Teen USA 2007 contest, which aired August 24th:
That's just brutally sad.
And, beyond its being a pitiable disgrace, it's a perfect example of what I loathe about beauty pageants, even and especially the ones that have the contemptible mendacity to pretend they're really about "scholarship." Underlying it all is the idea that women are dumb, and pretty women are really dumb--the flipside of the idea that smart women (particularly smart feminist women) must be ugly. It's all part of the narrative that a woman's intelligence must be inversely proportional to her conformance to the mainstream beauty standard.
This is, of course, bollocks. There are plenty of women who are considered gorgeous and are also wicked smart. And there are plenty of women who are considered ugly who are also dumb as a box of rocks.
But beauty pageants insist on playing to the stereotype, giving questions about social issues to a bunch of women about whose opinions no one fucking cares, because no one watches pageants for the articles interviews. And what purpose is there except to produce a "hilarious" moment just like this one? If Miss Illinois gave a splendidly mature and nuanced answer to a question about global warming, no one's passing it around teh internetz.