I used to watch The Miss America as well as the Miss Universe beauty contests as a kid in the late 1950’s and throughout the 60’s. The Miss America contest would appear in the late summer and the entire family would look forward to it. It was a tv ratings blockbuster. I was too young and innocent to think much about the lure of seeing good looking women in bathing suits. As everyone else, it was a matter of pride hoping that the representative from my state of Illinois would win. There’d also be the endless wait for the moment Bert Parks would sing the signature song “Here She Is….”. And le’ts not forget the time-wasting Toni Home Permament commercials.
The contestants would go through modeling poses in both swimsuits and glamour gowns, show off their singing, dancing, recitation, or music playing talents all the while hoping not to make a fool of themselves and disappoint their local communities. To a youngster, it seemed like a wholesome event where at least one state could take pride of the outcome.
The Miss Universe contest had all the same components as well but it also had the element of politics. It seemed as if the judges voted for the popular country of that year rather than the contestant.
Then, in the late 1960’s the feminist movement took hold and it became politically incorrect to gawk at women in bathing suits that seemed to get a little smaller each year. The thinking was that the negatives outweighed the benefits. It didn’t matter to the feminists that the winner and runner-ups would be getting cash, scholarships, and gifts as well as opportunities to get into public adoring careers. In their mind’s eyes, these poor, unfortunate ladies were being taken advantage of, as if they were tied up and forced to go to Atlantic City and put on a bathing suit in front a nationwide audience. Women were not supposed to be objects even if they were to profit by it.
Somehow society survived this calamity and we still have these beauty contests. But, they are no longer about how sexy a lady looks in lingerie but more about her brains. Her thoughts and opinions count as much, maybe even more than the curves of her body. That is, if her opinions agree with those who produce and manage these events. Not too long ago, one lady was stripped of her award because she said something that adhered to her religious beliefs that others did not cotton to. It used to be that a person could have a right to their own opinion. She was asked what her opinion was and gave it. That should not be a crime. She did not say that she demanded every one else agree with her.
So now we are at a stage where the event producers are catering only to people who disagree with her conservative-minded opinion. Unless,of course, they throw out the question section of the contest. That would leave us with a contest of simply women wearing evening gowns and showing off their singing, dancing or music playing acumen. Hey, I have a great title for the show- “America’s Got Talent”.