In case you haven't been following this story, recently Miss California - AKA Carrie Prejean - caused a bit of a ruckus with a confused but ultimately disapproving answer on the question of Gay Marriage during the Miss America pageant.
Thence followed ongoing argumentation, in which gay blogger Perez Hilton (who asked the question in the first place) seemed to go to war with the anti-Marriage community (confusingly named the National Organization for Marriage - but... they want to stop people from getting married. Does not compute) - and there was much hullabaloo.
Prejean has now agreed to appear in an anti-gay marriage commercial for the NOM folks, despite the fact that, as best I can figure, the women doesn't actually have an opinion on gay marriage. I mean, she'd like people to have rights like hospital visitation and stuff, and she thinks it's great that we live in a country where people can have a choice and all between regular marriage and "opposite marriage"(umm... we do?) and she really couldn't say whether or not she supports civil unions because, "I don't have the answers to everything, you know, in the world out there."
This woman doesn't have offensive opinions about marriage - she doesn't HAVE an opinion. So there's not a great deal of point in discussing her lack of any informed view, really is there? I mean this sort of thing isn't really her area of expertise is it?
But why not spend just a little bit of time - maybe a fraction of the time spend obesesing over her non-opinion on the marriage issue - and talk for just a second about something that very muchIS this woman's field of endeavor: the pageant itself.
Here's the thing: I'm not offended by the idea of beauty contests - that would be silly. I mean, what's the point of pretending that we aren't being judged all the time on our looks. Young women get ahead all the time because they happen to be pretty or - worse - fail to get ahead because they happen not to be. So if they want to put that on my TV screen, fine; it's just another thing for me to not watch. In the age of The Batchelor, it's by no means the most sickening display of shamelessness on our screens.
But the thing that DOES offend me about beauty pageants is precisely the thing that everyone always points to as evidence for their social value - the scholarships. Winners of these pageants aren't given a hefty lump sum of cash that they can blow on fast cars and cosmetic surgery. They're given the money in the form of scholarships to attend university.
What on earth is the crying social need to make sure that by all means really pretty girls don't have to pay their own way through school? Don't you think maybe there's a stringy haired, glassy-eyed budding scientist out there who hasn't been spending her time perfecting The Look because she's been huddled over a bunsen burner that might deserve a scholarship slightly more on the merits? You want to reward young women for being pretty - fine. And I'm sure many if not all of the young women who win these competitions are lovely and hard working people who will succeed academically. But the ability to walk in a swimsuit and heels, while an impressive talent that I do not myself posess, is not per se evidence of academic merit.
But, you know - I'm glad I come from a country where you can chose to participate in degrading social rituals if you want to. But - no offense to anyone - I don't think you deserve an academic leg up because of them. That's just the way I was raised.