Miss Oklahoma Morgan Elizabeth Woolard, left, and Miss Michigan Rima Fakih, right, wait in suspense to discover which one of them would be made Miss USA last night in Las Vegas.
Probably especially because I’m a gay man, I don’t pay much attention to women’s beauty pageants, but also probably especially because I’m a gay man, I do pay attention to politics.
So when I read the news that a young Lebanese immigrant from Michigan won the title of Miss USA in Las Vegas last night, my first thought was: Are the wingnuts going to be calling her Miss Terrorist USA?
Seriously, though — it wasn’t that long ago when the 24-year-old Rima Fakih’s chances at winning Miss Michigan or Miss USA would have been diminished because she’s an Arab-American.
I congratulate Miss Fakih on her win (and I am confident that she isn’t a member of an al-Qaeda cell that infiltrated the Miss USA pageant), even though I oppose beauty pageants in general for their superficiality and their objectification of women.
But even more interesting than Fakih’s win, I think, is this little tidbit in The Associated Press’ news story:
[The first runner-up, Miss Oklahoma Morgan Elizabeth Woolard] handled the night’s toughest question, about Arizona’s new immigration law.
Woolard said she supports the law, which requires police enforcing another law to verify a person’s immigration status if there’s “reasonable suspicion” that the person is in the country illegally.
She said she’s against illegal immigration but is also against racial profiling.
“I’m a huge believer in states’ rights. I think that’s what’s so wonderful about America,” Woolard said. “So I think it’s perfectly fine for Arizona to create that law.”
Yikes. How Arizona law enforcement officers can enforce the new state law without racial profiling baffles me and millions of others, and the “states’ rights” “argument” has been used to justify shitting and pissing upon all kinds of minority groups’ equal human and civil rights.
Did Woolard learn nothing from the former Miss California Carrie Prejean fiasco in which Prejean stated, when asked, during the Miss USA pageant that she opposes same-sex marriage?
In all fairness to Woolard (and even to Prejean, whom I loathe), beauty pageant contestants should not be asked to give their views on explosively divisive political issues, such as the white-supremacist state government in Arizona or same-sex marriage.
And it’s not fair that the contestants should be asked different questions.
Fakih, for example, was given the softball-by-comparison question as to whether health insurance should cover birth control. (Yes, she responded, it should, incorrectly referring to birth control pills, in her response, as a “controlled substance.” [Hey, she isn’t a pharmacist.])
Now, of course, I have to wonder if the tea-partyin’, Sarah Palin-Quayle- and Arizona-lovin’ crowd is going to claim that Woolard lost the title of Miss USA to the terrorist because Woolard gave a politically incorrect response to her question — just as it was alleged that Prejean missed the Miss USA crown because of her homophobic response to her question.
These controversies can be avoided altogether if young women aren’t asked politically charged questions in beauty pageants.
After all, beauty pageants, first and foremost, are about the objectification of their participants.
Let’s not kid ourselves that it’s otherwise.