Rant Of The Day THIS RANT 15/10/97

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.

When will this pageant madness end?

Early warning: if you haven't been following Gusworld's discussion of pageants and why they suck, read this article and this one first, or what follows will make no sense.

It's quite pleasing to think that our discussion of pageant stupidity continues to inspire Americans to write in trying to plead the opposite case. It's even more pleasing that their arguments continue to be rubbish. We recently received this letter from occasional Gusworld correspondent Frank Elk:

Pageants have provided my daughter Sara with many opportunities to further he[r] education. As a result of her participation in both the Miss USA and Miss America state programs, she has won thousands in college scholarships, recognition for her vocal talents, (from which she has received numerous auditions and singing jobs), and she has become a more articulate individual in the process.

I had a distorted view of pageants, much as you still do. By my daughters participation however, I have seen and met some of the nicest people I have ever had the opportunity to meet. Her three former pageant directors are all gems. They care about Sara, and often call to enquire about her education (now a Junior at Ohio State), and how she is doing with her vocal talent.

As sara's father, I ofcourse think she is attractive. However, there are thousands of young women equally so. Sara just has the fortitude to succeed. She uses pageants as a stepping stone. I applaud her efforts in them, as well as all of the other young women who compete. Our family has had the most fun supporting Sara at her pageants, talent competitions, and track meets. Gus, wake up and smell the winners bouquet!

And hot on the heels of that email came a response from the mildly articulate reader I trashed last Friday. Unfortunately, the degree of coherence is declining rapidly here:

Don't be silly! The Sunburst Pageants may be known in your neck of the woods, but it hardly has reached the national attention that Miss America, Miss USA, Miss Universe, or Miss Teen USA have reached. Having judged many childrens pageants, I can honestly say that makeup is discouraged in a big way.

To answer your question about why the Miss America Pageant televises the swimsuit competiiton, I refer you back a few years ago to the phone in poll which the Miss America Organization conducted. By over 73% the general public voted to retain the swimsuit competition. The Miss America Pageant was willing to illiminate it on the spot, but the american public spoke, and that sir, is why you see you it STILL on T.V. Someone likes it, and I guess it is the majority of the american public.

My daughters entered pageant competitions because they loved and still love to perform. Both have terrific voices, and have not only won pageants but talent competitions as well. I encourage them to do what they want to do. They enjoy pageants because they meet and make new friends, enjoy competing, and the prizes are'nt bad. They are both strong willed young women, so I know they would not compete in them if they did not get out of them what they do.

As far as Miss Teen Ca is concerned, she is very correct. I also have had the opportunity to meet other young women who compete in pageants. As a teacher I am around young people every day. Pageant contestants for the most part are more articulate then your everyday female high school or college student. They also possess a strong indication of self, and a desire to continue with their education. They are not obsessed with their looks. If a person is a talented ballplayer they are encouraged to play ball. If a baton twirler is terrific, she is encouraged to try for majorette. A young woman who enters pageants might know she is attractive, but [s]he needs more than that alone to be a winner.

Where do I start? Well, firstly by repeating the two central points which these pageant obsessives seem to have missed:

And then there are some specifically stupid points worth discussing:

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