Over the weekend, Indian-American Nina Davuluri was crowned Miss America and conservative Twitter went nuts over the fact that someone who doesn’t look like them might also be able to represent this country. Ironically, their object of choice was Theresa Vail, Miss Kansas, who won the hearts of old school men everywhere by having a tattoo and enjoying activities typically reserved for men, like hunting.
I don’t know that I need a sentence pointing out the stupidity of grown men (or anyone really) arguing over the results of a beauty contest, but this is it. Hell, even Monopoly recognized the triviality and only awarded you ten dollars.
My problem isn’t that such things exist (for adults, child pageants are a different story). There are a million ways to have a sense of identity and if that happens to be appearance for some people, then that’s fine. And besides, being able to put eyes on a series of attractive women in little clothing fits at least one of my ideas of a good time.
No the issue is obviously with their importance, or more accurately how we fail to lend accolades to women who perform well in arenas of intelligence and hard work. There’s no Miss Engineering America, or Miss Business America, or Miss Science America, or Miss Broadcasting America, or Miss Technology America, and considering the trouble that some of those fields have attracting women, we probably need such praises much more than we need those heaped upon Miss Pretty and Thin and Good at Answering Inane Questions America.
I’m not, in my feminist leanings, seeking to put an end to (most of) the things that men have enjoyed about women. I’m seeking to add perspective, to push the idea that there is more than one way to be valuable as a woman, and that the importance of each of those ways is highly subjective.