Miss America Pageant shaming is nothing new and usually comes from people who don't know anything about pageants or the girls who enter them. The conversation traps a lot of feminists who don't seem to respect that one girl's choice is no one else's business.  Wasn't that the point of feminism?

Miss America Pageant shaming is nothing new. The conversation traps a lot of feminists.

Alverson believes his coaching isn’t mainly about winning costume crowns. It is about nothing less than his clients’ conception of themselves. “The girls have to decide – ‘What do I want the jury to know about me and my story?’ Isn’t that what we all do all the time? Isn’t life just a pageant?”The Pageant King of Alabama

THERE ARE a lot of people, mostly women, many of whom are feminists, willing to opine on the ills of the Miss America Pageant without knowing a thing about the girls who enter them, let alone the money you can make. This is nothing new. You’d think by now there’d be a higher bar on expressing opinions and rendering judgments on another girl’s choices that are actually nobody else’s business.

Because…

Bathing. Suits.

The Daily Beast decided to note the arcane event of Vanessa Williams relinquishing her Miss America crown, which was evidently 30 years ago today. Due to a sexy bisexual romp that was dumped into the media stream by Penthouse. Larry Flynt is known for hating sexual hypocrisy, seeing the wholesome image the Miss America Pageant represented since its inception betrayed by Williams.

Amanda Marcotte’s piece, “Miss America Hypocrisy: The Vanessa Williams Nude Photo Shaming,” is unintentionally hilarious and not just for the circuitous route it takes to get from Vanessa Williams and the Miss America Pageant, judged as bad for women, to Kim Kardashian, “Known Sexual Woman.. fashion icon and businesswoman,” who should be “commended” for “throwing uptightness in their face,” but also for “making a fortune.”

It is the hail Mary of click bait efforts, even if you agree that Kim Kardashian (which I do), whose relationship to cashing in is tagged to the mother of all reality TV births, the O.J. Simpson murder trial, is a marketing genius. I celebrate Ann Coulter‘s ability to cash in, too, so I get it.

I just wish the critics knew the subject they were ridiculing. It’s also long past time to put down the notion that being in the Miss America Pageant is anti-feminist. Though it is another example of why so many women won’t embrace the word. If I’d followed The Feminist Handbook I likely wouldn’t have gone to college.

During the Miss America Pageant I came out of my hotel one day and was greeted by a N.O.W. protester who asked how I could degrade myself like that. “Do you want to pay for my college tuition?” was my response.

It was a low hanging pitch that was easy to knock out of the hotel parking lot, because like so many others she didn’t have a clue why I’d entered the pageant or what it did for me.

All these years later the same tired presumptions are being made.

Beauty pageants, of course, are ground zero for the hypocritical demands on women to flaunt their bodies without actually acknowledging the existence of sex. The whole point of being a pageant queen is to trot around in your bikini to be ogled at while feigning sexual naivety. – Amanda Marcotte [The Daily Beast]

Where to begin?

“The Pageant King of Alabama,” published last Sunday in the New York Times.

“Pageants create a culture,” says Kathy Peiss, a historian at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of “Hope in a Jar: The Making of America’s Beauty Culture,” in which beauty, poise and all these kinds of “feminine” traits are graded. They become part of women’s self-reflection. On the other hand, these have been real opportunities for women to get scholarship money, go to college, become professional.

It was a no brainer for me, which opened up after being in the Miss Teenage American Pageant. Now 19 (I turned 20 at the pageant), already a professional performer and dancer, my mom and I were barely making it. There were no bad choices if I was to get to college then out of Missouri, except doing nothing. What the pageant offered if I could win Miss Missouri was incalculable. My bookings went up, my fee did, too, and it opened a lot of other doors.

The Miss America Pageant has at its foundation an arcane marketing stereotype for girls, which was drawn up in another era. Some say it began with P.T. Barnum back in the 1900s, as the New York Times cited this month. Others say it was a tourism gambit by Atlantic City, New Jersey.

I’m as shocked the Miss America Pageant is still alive as I am that women continue to rail On Behalf Of Feminism that it’s bad for modern women. Being “sexy” while not acknowledging “women are sexual” is a recurring theme, even if it’s preposterous to posit since young women of pageant age know the power of their sexual persona and are willingly using it to help them get what they want.

Good feminists aren’t supposed to use looks or their sex appeal to get ahead. I always forget that part.

Feminism to me was always about getting what you want and being free to make the choices that get you there, which thanks to equality continue to expand. It has absolutely nothing to do with anyone approving of the choices you make.

It just would be nice if people knew what they were talking about when they decide to weigh in.