Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Screw Miss America. I apologize for my bluntness, but I think I have an abusive relationship with the Miss America Pageant. When my college roommate was a pageant girl, I supported her and clapped for her and sent her flowers, but deep down I wished she would just shut up and eat something. I thought Samantha was pretty fabulous all on her own—with or without swimsuit glue—but she just lived for pageants.
Sure, we could all reduce our caloric intake, work out more and go through harelip hell for just the right evening gown, but for the most part, pageants are judged on something none of us really can control. I don't know a woman alive who, if given the choice, would say, "You know, I wish I had been born real average looking."
Of course, we are all beautiful in our own way, and maybe my view will change when it costs less to buy the dress, cap the teeth and all that jazz than the actual scholarship dollars awarded is worth.
Don't forget, the Miss Mississippi Pageant is brought to you by a group of plastic surgeons.
However, I continue to watch the Miss Mississippi Pageant year after year. My friends and I try to gather during pageants in support of our sisters. It's the least we can do. We pretty much eat all the stuff they haven't had in years to help balance the universe. (Our favorite is Mississippi Sin Dip.) It's kind of like those guys who go to sporting events and drink themselves obnoxious.
We laugh at the Broadway-style production, but, at the same time, we take pride in our home state's women. We are impressed with the number of women who are in medical school. We do love the evening gowns. We are sick to death that more of the talent competition is not televised, but thank God we don't see those scores across the bottom anymore. I'm always rooting for the underdog. It's not her third year competing. We don't know who her family is, and she's smart as a whip. I just get all emotional when she makes it to the top 25.
It is also a simple fact that we all wanted to be Miss Something and/or Barbie when we were little girls. In fact, I was dead-dog certain I was going to look like Olivia Newton-John—sing like her, too—and be absolutely famous. I would own a Corvette convertible and a closet full of shoes, and Ken would just hang out wherever I told him to. Good thing no one told me that my dog would eat all my favorite shoes and that Ken has some parts not included in both hemispheres if you know what I mean. Oh, and ask that little girl who stares at me during church about my singing voice.
And now it seems that the Miss America people are concerned about declining ratings over the years. Are we losing interest in the pageant as a whole, or is the televised event just unworthy of our ratings? I know that I, for one, haven't watched the national pageant since Vanessa Williams. Unlike the Miss Mississippi Pageant, I find it uneventful. Some chick will win a crown and some money, and everyone else is going to pretend to be happy for her. Hell, I haven't heard of a good fire baton performance in years. What's the fun in that?
How about we make the Miss America pageant more reality-based? As far as I can tell, reality television is still all the rage, and we just love, love, love to view people at their basest level. Would it be even more demeaning to make the contestants eat some bugs or maybe bring in some ex-boyfriends for interviews? Maybe a quiz show after a few vodka and sugar-free Red Bulls?
Perhaps they could do a "Behind The Pageant" show and let us see these chicks when they first wake up in the mornings. Producers could interview the contestants' classmates from back home and air all the catty dirt they dig up. Find those fiancés who are hiding out until the contest is over because we know that Miss America has to be single. They could track the time line from when a winner is crowned and all the non-winners have the big weddings.
How about televising the life of Miss America after the judging is said and done. That's what she was working for, right? So what's she doing? How are her friends dealing with that chunk of jealousy? How does she maintain relationships on the road? How does she handle the onslaught of media after going from the girl-next-door to the public's eye? Now that would be both exploitive and educational. Win-win situation.
Maybe it's just time for a Mississippi girl to win again. This pageant has lasted for years, so it's a sure thing that the powers that be will make it work someway and somehow. Otherwise, who is going to be the line-leader for world peace? Not Ken, that's for damn sure.