Tuesday, May 29, 2007

You Go, Miss Sweden

Now, the thirteen-year-old boy never too far from the forefront of my brain always has been and likely always will be willing to cheer, "Go, Miss Sweden" for reasons that neither need explaining nor reflect well on my emotional growth.

But this time I can say it in public without fear of embarrassment.

Last night, apparently, the Miss Universe pageant happened again. One would think that modern medicine would prevent this sort of thing, but perhaps the pageant has developed an immunity. Anyway, Miss Japan, Riyo Mori, edged out Miss Brazil for the title. And, since Donald Trump owns the Miss Universe pageant, the lucky Miss Mori will have "class" stamped on her ass for the next year as she travels the universe teaching schoolchildren the importance of looking hot in a zebra-print bikini and not falling over in public.

But the actual class of the evening was Miss Sweden, Isabel Lestapier Winqvist, who withdrew from the competition because she found it degrading to women.

Now, before we all go slapping our foreheads and explaining to Ms. Winqvist, "Um, duh," let us first remember that she's twenty. And let us also pause to discover, as I just did, that for the past couple years the Miss Sweden contest has put more emphasis on the talent and poise portions of the contest and completely eliminated the swimsuit contest. So it's plausible that the Miss Universe pageant's gender and organizational lameness really did come as a surprise to Winqvist.

Winqvist's withdrawal raises an interesting question: why is there still a Miss Universe pageant for her to withdraw from?

600 million people watched the thing last night, and I don't get it. I've investigated the matter thoroughly and discovered that if one wants to look at attractive women in bikinis, one can do that for free and with great success on the internet. Or by watching "The Search for the Next Pussycat Doll." Or by going to the beach or the park. And if one wants to listen to attractive, well-spoken women mouth platitudes, one can watch cable news (as Samantha Bee puts it, "News I'd Like to Fuck") or pretend to be a doctor interested in what drug company reps in short skirts have to say about their samples. Not only are beauty pageants archaic in that they promote very tired standards of female excellence (nice gams, good teeth, cheerfully empty conversation) but they promote those tired standards in a tired fashion. Even if one wants to see women objectified (and that demographic ain't going away any time soon), there are thousands of more creative options out there.

So, really, who are those 600 million people? Rachel Ray fans? The audience of "America's Funniest Home Videos"? Convicts who can't change the channel? Twelve-year-old incipient femme lesbians? I'm confused.

But, confused or not, as always, I'm pro-Miss Sweden.

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