I was flipping channels last night and came across the Miss USA pageant. I’m not a big fan of beauty contests, haven’t watched one in years. But I’m getting slower in my old age and before I could press the button to move on I noticed something interesting. The women were moving down the stage steps so quickly that the announcer could hardly say their names and states before the next woman was on her way down. They reminded me a bit of a marching band spilling onto the football field. Well, I had to watch for a few minutes to see if one of them fell, and then they got closer and closer to Miss Oklahoma, so I waited to see her. However, about the time they got to Miss New Mexico, I noticed something even more disturbing than the copy-cat strutting. Several of the women looked so much alike that I thought they might be sisters or twins. They had the same basic look, same smile, same hairdo. This morning, just to make sure I wasn’t imagining things, I went to the Miss USA website and took a closer look at the contestants. I was right…invasion of the Barbie doll clones.
99% of the contestants have the same long flowing hair. Most of them appear to have used the same stylist. If you grouped them into blonds and brunettes it would be even more difficult to differentiate one from another. They have the same sparkling white evenly-spaced teeth. And I think most of them ordered the same nose. Of course they have nearly the same breast implants- maybe the judges give out a preferred list of numbers they can choose from. Or perhaps they all use the same plastic surgeon.
Yes, I sound harsh and judgmental, but the current beauty pageant premise seems to be the antithesis of what most of us want for our daughters and granddaughters. Did you know that the only essential requirement for the Miss USA contest is that the contestant was “born a woman”? After that, anything goes. Plastic surgery, Botox, dental work, and expert hair styling are carefully combined to create the perfect pageant beauty. The fundamental problem is that the women undergoing hours of surgery and recovery aren’t striving to be unique or correct some genetic flaw; they are striving to look like an “ideal” established by the pageant community.
I know that similar practices have always been a part of the pageant scene. I’ve seen interviews of coaches, stylists, and pageant directors who have turned out more than the average number of winners because they adhered to a winning game plan. They used the same training, styling, and preparation for hundreds of women. Society has certain standards and expectations that affect the decisions of the judges, and each year women try to mold their appearance to comply with those trends. But the idea that any reasonably attractive woman off the street can be turned into the image of Barbie by risking her health and life, and spending a great deal of money, is abhorrent. If medical science, not nature, is the producer of the best body on the pageant runway, then maybe instead of giving awards to the ladies, they should give them to the plastic surgeons!
The USA pageant isn’t the only one that embraces artificial beauty as their standard. Many others, even at the state level, do not question applicants about their medical history. Contestants in some pageants are secretive about their body work, while others freely admit to spending a fortune on their makeovers. A few years ago a contestant admitted to having 19 procedures done!
I don’t understand why we need to have a contest that rewards looks instead of deeds or talents or ideas, but I certainly don’t understand why we need a contest that rewards deception.