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Monday, February 06, 2006

Heavy weighs the tiara

"Confessions of a Beauty Pageant Drop-Out" is a great article about a young woman who wanted to use the beauty pageant circuit as a means for political activism but came to realize "[v]iewers and pageant organizers don’t want to confront the process of being a woman. They want to see the product of being a woman – a complete package with challenges overcome, plus honor roll status and a rockin’ bod."

"Every contestant is required to enter with a platform, a cause to advocate during a year-long speaking tour should she win, about which a panel of judges asks rapid-fire questions during the interview. The most common selections are comfortably non-controversial, such as literacy education or breast cancer awareness, while some women have ventured into hotter topics with surprising ease; Miss America 1998’s platform was a relatively progressive vision of AIDS prevention and treatment.

"It was this aspect of the competition that appealed to my own progressive activist ideals. I had fantasies of using the built-in fame and PR resources of the Miss America title to advance my personal vision of large-scale public health reform in the United States. My plan involved advocating for universal health insurance, expansion of the National Health Service Corps and public health infrastructure, incentives for the practice of evidence-based health care, and mandated adoption of electronic medical records by all hospitals and clinics, among other reforms. Anyone can speak to student groups in vague platitudes about 'awareness' of drugs or diseases. I wanted to make a concrete difference in policy and thought I could get more press attention now as Miss America than I’ll probably ever be able to get once I become a public health official."

(link from Feministing.org)

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Blogger Meg Lyman on Mon Feb 06, 10:41:00 AM:
My friend Amanda is starting the beauty pageant ciruit. She's excited about the opportunities of scholarships. She sees is as a very just non-appearance oriented event. Not that I agree.