I don’t think we should laugh at beauty pageant girls who ‘get it wrong’ when it comes to serious issues. They’ve taken the time to ingest every minute detail of the western media’s vast instruction manual on how they are to live and appear. And then when they get up there, we expect them to be this impossible image of a woman who is both impossibly beautiful and has a masters degree in economics; a hollow image that is shown for what it truly is when the girls go to speak and have minds so full of haircare and Cosmo and ‘50 ways to please a man’ that they can’t answer a question.
But we laugh at them personally, not the expectations and ideals of a society that these girls with everything aesthetically should also be super-brains. It’s insulting to both halves of the pie, stating implicitly that girls who are pretty but cannot answer complex questions are ‘stupid’ (they are not: their attention has merely been on what they have been lead to prioritise as more important than education, from the half of our society obsessed with wedlock and dating) and that girls who are intelligent are not good enough merely for being intelligent, or even intelligent and pretty: they have to be intelligent and stunning in a bikini.
[Do we expect the same of men?]
-But when the deer from Arkansas or Ohio is trapped in the headlights of Idealistic America, stamped with a question from the half of life she has neglected in trying to please others, we don’t laugh at the ideals and expectations of our own culture; just the poor girls, for trying to be everything culture tells implicitly and overtly, to be. They are one half of a blueprint for the perfect woman, standing on-stage not to be valued for who they really are as people, judged against what they lack to complete this ideal.
These girls have been fed one message and absorbed it into their lives like robots. They forsake themselves into a cultural machine that rejects the parts of women that might make them ‘whole’ people: pretty ones must be so institutionally pretty that they don’t feel it necessary or required, even expected of them to be smart half as much as they feel ‘required’ to be pretty. Smart girls are not expected to be naturally pretty as much as they are smart.
Instead of well-rounded human beings, we are moulding and shaping women to fit two crude categories that are rough, unrealistic and brutal on how we are able to view ourselves as actual people.
It’s half the fault of the beauty pageant, for not being honest to both the contestants and the public about what it’s really judging these girls on, and by trying to cover its own discriminatory rear end by showcasing the ‘intellect’ of girls who have been trained since birth that the things they really need to know to be happy in life, are,
1. How to get a man and please him for ever.
2. How to attract the ‘right’ man, strictly through managing their own appearances,
3. The responsibilities upon them as a person to do so.
These are not explicit messages; there’s a certain mindset we have to be woken up to to realise exactly where the seemingly benign world of ‘women in the media’ is implicitly wiring our perceptions towards inadequacy, deliberately making us feel achingly crap inside.
(Because self-doubt is profitable, as anyone who just sold you makeup can confirm.)
We cannot win this cycle unless or until we put the parts of ourselves back in the picture that we have internalized as ‘inappropriate’ to our image as women. And we cannot laugh at the poor girl from a small town who has made herself look like Miss Universe. She has dedicated her life to the idea that by putting herself on the top of the podium, it might cease to stand dauntingly over her self image for the rest of her waking days as a woman.
If there aren’t any decent fan images of your two favourite characters, make thine own.
“I’m nobody’s baby, I’m everybody’s girl, I’m the…”
“Huh,” I thought. “I can’t really distinguish whether it’s pure vanity or accuracy that makes me think that lyric was written for me. Seriously. That one line totally sums me up. I mean not written for me specifically, but damn. If that isn’t the closest to describing me… But maybe I’m just being vain. What a nice thing, if someone else thought so too.”
We continued to drive.
“That line pretty much sums you up, doesn’t it, Miss Soph?” said Mum.
It sometimes amazes me when friends don’t know even the most basic facts about me.
Holy shit, you play piano??
Holy shit, you can sing??
Holy shit, you have siblings??
Holy shit, since when do you have a step-family??
Holy shit, there are tonnes of things I don’t know about you because you’re some kind of convenient resource who listens to me complain and never gets a chance to express themselves because the only side I really want to know is the side that has boundless patience for me??
Go fucking figure.
I sometimes wonder if the main bloggers I follow have a weekly convention where they discuss who’s been following them. I can imagine them saying something like,
“Sooo… this chick went through and liked EVERYTHING again.
All of it. Fashion, that adorable bunny, even a bit of porn. What even?”
“I know, right? She liked my architectural pic and like, five gifs. Jesus. Girls on a rampage.”
“Probably avoiding uni homework.”
“I wonder if she’s cool…”