Ms. USA Pageants

Pageants should value intelligence over looks.

The criteria for beauty pageants need to change. In fact, based on the recent Miss USA pageant, Minnesota should withdraw from the contest all together. The current criteria of what beauty means is offensive to women. These pageants, especially Miss America, get incredible media attention and young women everywhere see these contestants as role models. Instead of being judged for their intelligence, poise and wit, contestants are critiqued on their looks. Miss California and first runner-up in the Miss USA 2009 pageant, Carrie Prejean, denounced gay marriage during the question-and-answer session of the competition. While contestants should be able to freely speak their minds, they should express informed opinions and not ideological or inarticulate thoughts. CarrieâÄôs answer to the question illustrated her lack of knowledge: âÄúWe live in a land that you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage and, you know what, in my country and my family I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman.âÄùYet we do not live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage, as it is only permitted in four states. Since these women win excessive scholarships and are broadcasted on television and the Internet, they should be able to answer a political question with some semblance of knowledge. We have failed to demand this from them, however, as we continue to accept general ideological statements and fail to press them on important issues. Many may not care whether Ms. Prejean is anti-gay marriage, but she is a relevant figure in our society and thousands of young women admire her. Unfortunately her statements matter, as they have a place in popular culture. Because pageants reflect upon our society and unduly influence our youth, we should demand that they more heavily weigh candidates on their intellect over their looks.