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Thread: Miss America

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    Miss America

    Is anyone else watching? I watch every few years, and I felt like tuning in this evening. So far they've held the swimsuit part of the competition. Normally it's my least favorite part, because I love looking at the evening gowns and picking out my favorites, and then I enjoy the talent. (Some of them are really spectacularly talented.)

    But tonight I noticed something. After weeks of watching the minuscule models of Project Runway, I realize that these Miss America contestants are not upsettingly, unrealistically skinny. They're healthy! Nobody looks waiflike or coltish. Their legs are muscular and rounded. They have hips and thighs. Their arms have substance. And you can't see their ribs! Gee, maybe Miss America actually is a good role model for girls.

    As for the evening gowns, I see a variety of bodices, not just strapless ones. Quite a few ladies have those cap sleeves that I think Kate Middleton may have inspired. The colors are kind of blah to me--entirely too many white dresses and several ordinary blue gowns. But Miss California's gown is the most delectable orchid color. With long sleeves!

    I really like Miss Kansas, the military contestant. I think she's supposed to sing opera. We'll see shortly, unless she's eliminated before the talent segment.

    ETA: Miss Kansas has just sung some approximation of Nessun Dorma (which by the way is generally sung by Calaf, the tenor hero of Turandot). She has range, but whether out of nerves or lack of experience, she was very shrill.

    More edit: Miss Connecticut has just done a step dance to a Riverdance song. I am such a sucker for step dancing. She did a great job.

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    Figure Skating Is A Dangerous Sport Dee4707's Avatar
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    Olympia, what did you think of the "Fever" performance???

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    You know, I didn't feel she really nailed "Fever." For my taste, the two best singers were the one who sang "For Good" and the first performer, who did the Sondheim tune from Anyone Can Whistle. That Sondheim singer was able to call on her full voice, very warm open tone, and she also expressed the idea of the lyrics very well. The singer who performed "For Good" also sounded very assured.

    And I loved the baton twirling! As with step dancing, I'm a sucker for baton twirling, which may also explain my love of rhythmic gymnastics. I love the eye-hand coordination and the constant movement of the apparatus. This lady ended up with three batons all going at once!

    What was your reaction?

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    I liked the two finalists. Very hard to say which I like better. I think the winner is a good choice, though.

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    Figure Skating Is A Dangerous Sport Dee4707's Avatar
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    The winner was my choice.

    Whenever I see these pageant shows it reminds me of the movie with Sandra Bullock - Miss Congeniality. One of the contestants twirled fire batons, it was her specialty.

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    I thought about that enjoyable movie, too, though in real life the ladies seem much more sensible. It's been pointed out that Miss America is one of the biggest scholarship programs around, though runner-up Crystal Lee, with her two degrees, may not have need of any further schooling. I'm tremendously fond of baton twirling, without fire preferably. It's a fabulous skill, and as far as I can figure out, it seems to be one of those American-grown art forms. (Which may mean that its appeal is incomprehensible to anyone other than Americans and maybe Canadians.)

    I think the New Miss America will be very good for the job. Sometimes Miss America can actually make a difference. I still remember Kay Lani Rae Ravko, a critical care nurse from over twenty years ago. She was very active in promoting nursing as a profession and also hospice. She apparently helped reverse a nursing shortage that existed at the time, according to a statement by a national nursing association. This Miss America's platform is apparently diversity, which is laudable but vague enough that I'm not sure it will have a noticeable impact.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    But tonight I noticed something. After weeks of watching the skeletal models of Project Runway, I realize that these Miss America contestants are not upsettingly, unrealistically skinny. They're healthy! Nobody looks waiflike or coltish. Their legs are muscular and rounded. They have hips and thighs. Their arms have substance. And you can't see their ribs! Gee, maybe Miss America actually is a good role model for girls.
    .
    There are some young women who are naturally built like the models that you are calling unhealthy and "skeletal" (which is incredibly demeaning and only a slight variation on the words I was bullied by as a pre-teen). I looked more like the PR models than the Miss America contestants when I was in high school and college and well into my late 20s. And I was perfectly healthy the entire time. I was also bullied for being "too thin" from late elementary school right up until I left full time teaching four years ago. Body bashing is unnecessary and assuming women who are thin are automatically unhealthy helps create an environment where skinny bashing is considered acceptable.

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    Sorry, Louisa. I didn't mean it that way. In fact, I'm currently probably thinner than you are, having lost about 15 pounds from an ongoing illness (and I was pretty skinny beforehand), so I am not making any kind of judgement about size. I'm sorry you were bullied, believe me. (Almost certainly, some of the bullies were jealous of you). I apologize if I upset you.

    But in the context of American popular culture, it's pretty evident that the fashion world has been limiting models to a size unrealistic for most of us (if the models were diverse, it wouldn't be a problem), and Tim Gunn himself once called a size-6 model a "plus-size" model, presumably because 6 is a number greater than zero, the typical model size. Many film stars have followed suit. Some of these ladies are naturally thin, of course, as Audrey Hepburn was, but others subsist on coffee and cigarettes to maintain that look. You and I may never get to look like the smoothly muscular Miss Kansas (one of my new role models!--And she even sings opera.), but I like seeing them out there as other ideals of beauty--notice, I said "other," not "the only." By the way, I didn't mean the word skeletal as a blanket description of everyone who's slim. Twiggy, the first true sylph model, wasn't skeletal; she was just very small-boned and narrow. So are many of today's models. But the word does suit some of them. And alas, it often suits girls who starve themselves to emulate them.

    I know: it's frustrating to have this trait that everyone else seems to envy, and does it get us on the front cover of Vogue? I'm still waiting!

    ETA: I've figured out another word to use instead of skeletal to make the same point. I've gone back and edited. Again, I apologize if I caused you distress.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    Sorry, Louisa. I didn't mean it that way. In fact, I'm currently probably thinner than you are, having lost about 15 pounds from an ongoing illness (and I was pretty skinny beforehand), so I am not making any kind of judgement about size. I'm sorry you were bullied, believe me. (Almost certainly, some of the bullies were jealous of you). I apologize if I upset you.

    But in the context of American popular culture, it's pretty evident that the fashion world has been limiting models to a size unrealistic for most of us (if the models were diverse, it wouldn't be a problem), and Tim Gunn himself once called a size-6 model a "plus-size" model, presumably because 6 is a number greater than zero, the typical model size. Many film stars have followed suit. Some of these ladies are naturally thin, of course, as Audrey Hepburn was, but others subsist on coffee and cigarettes to maintain that look. You and I may never get to look like the smoothly muscular Miss Kansas (one of my new role models!--And she even sings opera.), but I like seeing them out there as other ideals of beauty--notice, I said "other," not "the only." By the way, I didn't mean the word skeletal as a blanket description of everyone who's slim. Twiggy, the first true sylph model, wasn't skeletal; she was just very small-boned and narrow. So are many of today's models. But the word does suit some of them. And alas, it often suits girls who starve themselves to emulate them.

    I know: it's frustrating to have this trait that everyone else seems to envy, and does it get us on the front pages of Vogue? I'm still waiting!
    Writing off any kind of bullying as being caused by jealousy is really a form of victim blaming, Olympia. It is also something intended to minimize the damage and to imply that feeling hurt is not justifiable. It was exactly the answer given to me when a co-worker called me a "f*cking bag of bones" in front of our students--"she's jealous because she's bigger and saying something to her would make her feel even worse about herself". So I was supposed to smile and take it.

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    I wasn't meaning to write it off, Louisa. No one is responsible for being bullied. Bad people do just fine making chaos on their own. They don't need any incentive from victims. I pointed out that many bullies speak out of jealousy because it's true. This remark doesn't write off a bully but merely demonstrates how withered he or she is inside. But a shrunken little soul can still cause a lot of damage.

    For any person to speak the way the co-worker did to you is inexcusable. For a person in a school to do it in front of students is heinous. I'm afraid to ask whether that person was disciplined in any way. There are workplaces in which predators get away with anything, just because they can. If your school was like that, I hope you're in a better workplace now. And I hope the students are in a better school.

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    Speaking of bullying and Miss America - the winner is getting a lot of crap through social media. Very racist comments and she's been labelled a terrorist because she's Indian-American.

    If you're going to be racist, at least get your stereotypes correct! *facepalm*

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tonichelle View Post
    Speaking of bullying and Miss America - the winner is getting a lot of crap through social media. Very racist comments and she's been labelled a terrorist because she's Indian-American.

    If you're going to be racist, at least get your stereotypes correct! *facepalm*
    I've been keeping an eye on those, Toni. Aren't they disgusting? First of all, they can't tell the difference between a South Asian and an Arab, and second, even if she were Arab, what connection would that have to anything.

    One irony is that most Indians are the original Aryans. All those "pure America" types are too ignorant to realize that the very word Aryan comes from Sanskrit, the ancient language of India. The language family used to be called Indo-Aryan and is now called Indo-European. It includes all the Teutonic languages (such as English), all the Romance languages (Latin, French, Spanish, Italian, Romanian, Portuguese, and so on), the Slavic and Baltic languages, Greek, AND SANSKRIT and related languages. So this beautiful woman is actually more Aryan than, for example, Bess Myerson, a Miss America from the 1940s who was Jewish.

    It's so distressing that some of the first words this young woman gets to hear as Miss America are such garbage as those tweets.


    I understand that a lot of people liked Miss Kansas, the soldier with the tattoos. I liked her a lot myself. But her operatic performance was a bit off that night. Her final note was somewhat screechy. She did not make it out of the talent section, and I think deservedly so, considering the quality of the other performances. I'm so glad she was a contestant, though. Together, she and the others gave a great picture of America (despite the ignorant comments tendered on Twitter).

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    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    I've been keeping an eye on those, Toni. Aren't they disgusting?
    Is it wrong that I'm almost more upset that they have the stereotype wrong?! Racism will always exist and rear its ugly head - it's part of being human, we all have our ideals of what a person should be - and we will always judge stupidly (I mean look at sporting contests, everyone has a different opinion on what is and isn't good/bad/ugly/etc). I'm not saying it's okay to be out and out racist, but I guess I understand it's not going away 100%.

    But IF you're going to be a bonehead outspoken flat out racist/bigot, at least get the correct stereotype for the situation! It sounds so weird to say, but I think I'd be more offended that you don't even get my heritage's stereotype right than just being stereotyped at all.

    But then what do I know. LOL

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    Figure Skating Is A Dangerous Sport Dee4707's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tonichelle View Post
    But IF you're going to be a bonehead outspoken flat out racist/bigot, at least get the correct stereotype for the situation! It sounds so weird to say, but I think I'd be more offended that you don't even get my heritage's stereotype right than just being stereotyped at all.

    But then what do I know. LOL
    People are getting more ridiculous by the minute and people need to take off their blinders.

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    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dee4707 View Post
    People are getting more ridiculous by the minute and people need to take off their blinders.
    I agree. I don't know WHY it's THAT part of the story that bugs me... but it does.

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