Miss USA Controversy

First off...I have been a terrible blogger! I have not done a good job at updating with regular posts, and I apologize. I'm going to do a much better job about posting, I promise!

I just wanted to discuss the recent controversy surrounding the Miss USA pageant since I feel like it applies really strongly my platform.
I'm sure that many of you are aware of the recent scandal that ensued when photographs of Miss USA contestants in lingerie were revealed. This is hardly anything new; the Miss USA pageant has a history of contestants losing titles over racy photographs. However, the shock this time was that these photographs were sanctioned and endorsed by the Miss USA organization. Even though last year's Miss California USA, Carrie Prejean, received flak when racy photos of her were released, the organization decided that this year it would be appropriate to have each contestant participate in a "glamor shoot" wearing little more than lingerie, stilettos, and fishnets.

Unlike Miss America, Miss USA is strictly a beauty pageant. Contestants are expected to be physically attractive, and according to the Miss Universe Organization, "[C]ontestants who compete for the title of Miss USA [should not be] afraid to be sexy." Shandi Finnessey, Miss USA 2004, also defended the pictures by saying that they proved how "relevant" and "with the times" the Miss USA pageant is; according to her, a woman of today should be "fun, flirty, and sexy" because that's what you see when you open up a magazine.
Does anyone else see a problem here?
What message is the Miss USA organization sending to America? They claim to be an organization that empowers women, yet they have degraded their contestants into objects to be looked at and lusted after. They seem to be sending the message that a woman's value does not come from her accomplishments, intelligence, or contributions to society, but comes solely from her sex appeal. Is this the message that we want to be sending to the men, women, or children of our country? Do we want our girls to grow up striving to be sexy rather than successful? Finnessey seems to think so, as she expressed the belief that Miss USA is a good role model because she's "trained to live in 2010...she's sexy, she's confident, she's relevant."
What do you think? Will you promote Miss USA as a role model for your daughters? Will you show them the lingerie pictures and encourage them to grow up to be sexy?

The full interview with Shandi Finnessey about the provocative photos, from Fox News, can be found here. It's a very interesting video and I would suggest watching it. It also explains a few of the differences between the Miss America and Miss USA pageants, which I feel is a very important distinction to understand. I strongly believe in the Miss America Organization, which is a scholarship program for young women, and I find it unfortunate that so many people confuse the two pageants.

Really quickly:
Miss America is a non-profit organization where contestants compete to win scholarship money. Although sometimes referred to as a beauty pageant, only 35% of a contestant's score comes from evening gown and swimwear. The majority of their score depends on their talent performance and their interview. Each contestant has a service platform that she promotes during her year of reign. The contestant crowned as Miss America also promotes the Children's Miracle Network, which is a national partner of the Miss America Organization.

Miss USA is a part of the Miss Universe Organization and is a competition to select the USA's entrant into the Miss Universe pageant. It is strictly a beauty pageant, although contestants do compete in interview. There is no talent portion, and contestants do not have a service platform.


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