Quiet Desperation

Nothing against beauty, but we could do without the pageants

Column by Craig Marshall Smith
Posted 6/12/17

If I had a daughter, the first thing I would say to her would be, "Please don't talk with your mouth full."

The second thing I would say to her would be, "Please don't enter beauty pageants."

I …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

E-mail
Password
Log in

Don't have an ID?


Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.

Non-subscribers

Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.

If you’re a print subscriber or made a voluntary contribution in Nov. 2016-2017, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access Includes access to all websites


Our print publications are advertiser supported. For those wishing to access our content online, we have implemented a small charge so we may continue to provide our valued readers and community with unique, high quality local content. Thank you for supporting your local newspaper.
Quiet Desperation

Nothing against beauty, but we could do without the pageants

Posted

If I had a daughter, the first thing I would say to her would be, "Please don't talk with your mouth full."

The second thing I would say to her would be, "Please don't enter beauty pageants."

I think they're dumb.

The little girls, the young women and the women who enter them aren't dumb, it's the idea.

I watched a few Miss America pageants when I was a kid. When I was old enough to know better, 9, I stopped.

I thought by now they would have disappeared like travel agents and pay phones.

They haven't.

The absolute worst of the worst of the worst are the child-aged ones that once featured JonBenet Ramsey.

When winners are announced, it's always news to me. I never know when they are scheduled, where they are scheduled, or why they are scheduled.

Miss District of Columbia was recently crowned Miss USA 2017. I heard her answer to the $64,000 question stirred things up for a day or two.

Perhaps you didn't know this. According to The Washington Post, "beauty pageants emerged in the South during Jim Crow as a way to assert white superiority." Not a great basis for something.

Historian Blain Roberts has written a book about this. "Pageants, Parlors, and Pretty Women."

The Miss America pageant lifted the rule that contestants "be of the white race" in 1950.

Every minority or mixed-race winner since then has been met with racist backlashes.

Still, they go on.

For the winner? I think they get a tan Ciera and a scholarship of some kind.

My idea of feminine wonderment is a 51-year-old high school art teacher named Jennifer, who happens to be an exemplary mother, an exceptional painter, and an exceedingly patient girlfriend, in a relationship with someone who misdirects just about every conversation into a labyrinth of obscure references to films and songs.

She has a sense of humor, and she has sense enough not to wear a sash with the words "Miss Colorado" or anything else on it.

Of course, if I did have a daughter, I'd leave it up to her. If she wanted to enter a pageant, I would even drive her there. I'd wish her luck, drop her off, and pick her up afterward.

I would do the same things if she hoped to be a Broncos cheerleader, another aspiration that completely befogs me.

There is something fundamentally wrong about beauty pageants. I feel the same way about Black Friday, karaoke and sprinkles on donuts.

Who doesn't appreciate beauty? My friend Ruth was a stunning New York City model in the 1920s. She thought she had lost her looks by the time I met her, when she was 88.

One day we looked at a book. It was Georgia O'Keeffe's biography. There were pictures of O'Keeffe that were taken when she was in her 80s.

I said, "What do you think?"

She said, "She's beautiful."

I said, "So are you."

Ruth by then was a tough bit of crust, and didn't believe me. It took some convincing.

I cannot imagine what a little girl must think when she looks in the mirror after watching a beauty pageant.

Kid, take it from me. Please.

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment