Thursday, July 12, 2007

Why Do We Have A Miss Anything?

If you haven't been watching televised news, the major news networks have been expending much energy in getting to the bottom of a faux controversy involving Amy Polumbo, more commonly known as Miss New Jersey. Hold off on the Jersey jokes for a moment, please.

Ms. Polumbo's trials have been steadfastly covered by the mainstream media because she is/was being blackmailed by an unknown person who was going to release photos that she had published on the social networking site Facebook. These photos show Polumbo showing herself in unflattering poses and a generally "un-ladylike" manner.

I personally have two problems with this story. The first is that I've seen these photos. I saw crazier things happen on a Wednesday in college. But, this might be because I went to a not-so-classy college. I digress. My point is that this kind of stuff happens at every college on the face of the planet, especially when the booze starts flowing. She's 22 and went to college. There is only a small section of people who didn't drink underage in college. It requires pure focus or a devotion to abstinence from alcohol to accomplish such a feat. And some of the non-drinkers used to be drinkers. So, I'm not really understanding why people are cracking down on her because of it. These issues of mine are really just smaller details to my larger second point: why should I care?

I don't mean that in the "this is not real news" way, although this is also true. I mean this in the why should I care about Miss New Jersey and Miss America, two outmoded forms of female expression? Both of these titles are based around antiquated notions of what it means to be a lady. Honestly, I don't know what it means to be a lady other than to be subservient to some male figure and aspire to the worthless ideal of being attractive to the male population*. We have beauty pageants that grades the true depth of women against how well they can pose in a bathing suit and walk in high heels. Is this really what we want to tell women who are already battered by the Neanderthals of my gender who believe that a women is only worth as much as her appearance? That their mind is worthless, and it is more important to keep posture so good that you can walk for miles with a book on your head?

I'm sure that Polumbo is a very nice women and good accompaniment to functions and in life, but she is only continuing this tradition which undercuts the efforts of women to advance in life on something other than their appearance that is embodied by the Miss America pageant. The fact that this story has arisen only gives further fodder to the bonfire being built for the eventual demise of this patriarchal institution.

*I don't speak for everyone, but I would take a women that's less "attractive" and smarter than a women who is more "attractive" and dumber. Attractiveness is nice, but I do have to talk to this person everyday. And I'd rather have someone who can challenge me conversationally.