Rant Of The Day THIS RANT 10/10/97

Rant Of The Day is where I get to mouth off about whatever I feel like for however long I like. Theoretically, I'll update my whinge/opinion piece every weekday; in practice, maybe not so often.

Pageantry: we just can't get enough

It's fairly rare for an individual who has been comprehensively dissed by Gusworld to bother remaining in contact. However, Missteenca, the anonymous emailer who took us to task for our attitude to pageants, is made of sterner stuff. Following yesterday's discussion of her email, I quickly received the following response:

I knew it would be a waste of time to write you about the positive aspects of pageantry. No one is going to change your mind. Having served as a pageant judge and director for over twenty years, I can honestly say that the expriences have been overwelmingly positive. Pageants are just one vehicle in which young women can participate. Incidently I know of no major pageant which bases the judging criteria solely on beauty. Miss America in a swimsuit accounts for only 15% of the score! Hardly a beauty pageant. What you seem to miss in your writing, is that the young women I have met in pageantry are strong, leval headed women, college bound or college educated, and certainly not followers but leaders in their community.Accept pageantry for what it is. A competition. No different than a boy building event, no different than a dance competition, and no different than a track meet. Oh, well their is one difference that comes to mind. The prizes in the major state and national events, will surpass any prize your going to win running track or playing high school or college basketball.

This email was followed in quick succession by another:

Gus, your last comment and I quote," Any number of pageant participants may become doctors and teachers, and it does'n't change the fact that pageants present a DISTORTED image of what people should strive for thatcan influence individuals who don't themselves ever participate in one." whoooooo! What a long sentence! Ofcourse your thought doesn't fly in the face of reality. Pageants will not influence individuals who don't ever participate in one, anymore than someone competing in a track meet or cycling race. Some people do and some people don't. More power to all who try .

I'm not going to hammer home the literacy point because, after all, this is email (although a course in the use of apostrophes certainly wouldn't hurt). But there are plenty of other things for us to get our teeth into:

It seems, though, that Missteenca isn't the only pageant participant I've upset. Even as I was writing this, I received the following, somewhat more coherent, attack on my pageant stance:

Your opinions on beauty pageants are simply assinine. My two daughters have benefited greatly, from their participation in state and national pageants. My daughter Lisa has won over $12,000 in college scholarships won on the local and state leval, and daughter Tawnie has won over $32,000 in college scholarships. Lisa is a Jr. at Carnegie Mellon and Tawnie is a sophmore at Yale. These scholarships with other scholarships awarded from other sources will enable my daughters to complete their education and pursue degrees in medicine and education. Both of my daughters competed in the Miss America Pageant on the state leval for several years. Although neither captured a state title, they have handsomely been awarded scholarships for winning several local titles. Incidently the Miss America Pageant is really not a beauty pageant. Talent counts for 30% and Interview for 30%.

This is all very nice. But wouldn't it be better if people were awarded scholarships based on, oh I don't know, ACADEMIC ABILITY? And as for the recurrent Miss America thing: if the interview is so important, then how come it's the swimsuit section that gets televised?

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