Many years ago, there was a commercial for a popular beer that featured the finalists of a beauty pageant, tackling the question “What would you do to save the planet?”
The first two contestants had beautiful answers about the environment and education. The third, a buxom blonde, looked into the camera, smiled and said, “What planet?” Cut to the blonde crying and waving, walking down the runway wearing the sash and crown.
Last night, life imitated art at the Miss America pageant (broadcast live in "Yee-haw Vision" on the Country Music Television). The final three were all beautiful (although Miss Texas looked a tiny bit like a drag queen). Each received a different question. Miss Texas got the icky sort of “What’s great about America” question. She talked about the fact that all Americans are entitled to an education and that those who choose to take advantage of it are presented with greater opportunities. Good answer, Miss Texas.
The other girl was already an also-ran. Bad dress, bad hair. Buh-bye.
So, it’s up to Miss Oklahoma. When informed that, while comprising over 50% of the work force, women still only commanded 71% of the pay that men do—and asked how she might impact that, her answer was something along the lines of “As Miss America, I think I’m a role model. And I could show people that women are deserving of equal pay. I think I could be a role model.”
WTF? Honey, you have Vaseline on your teeth. And the only people for whom you are a role model are snaggle-toothed little girls fighting off their drunken relatives, and your fat cousin Myrna with the lesbian haircut. You are IRRELEVANT. Oprah is a role model. Hillary is a role model. Every woman who has ever struggled and fought her way to the executive suite is a role model. Hell, I even think Katie Couric is a role model (I know, she sucks at the serious news—but she’s there).
The absolutely delicious irony of it all is that SHE WON A $50,000 SCHOLARSHIP!!!! Oh, dear God!! With an answer like that, you could give her a MILLION dollar scholarship and it ain’t gonna take. She’s dumber than a box of hair. And I would actually go so far as to say that “America’s Next Top Model” is more socially relevant than Miss America.
I used to enjoy a bit of subversive humor by altering my state and watching beauty pageants. I have had many nights of near-hysterical laughter at their expense. Last night, it just felt sad. Like a drunk sorority girl with no one to hold her hair.