Thursday, May 7, 2009

Carrie Prejean: Sexual Only When We Permit

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There really is not much difference between the two above photos.  One is of Carrie Prejean at the Miss America pageant and the other is a copy of a photo she took when she was attempting to become a Victoria Secrets model.  The issue is that one of these poses was mandated by a patriarchal sexist competition intent on reducing women to parts and the other was taken from a position of personal agency.  Certainly a woman using her body as she chooses rather than under the auspices of paternal male guidance must be punished.

The National Post Reports:

Alicia Jacobs, a judge at the April 19 Miss USA pageant during which Prejean made her highly publicized statement opposing same-sex marriage, said the pictures go beyond what the Miss California pageant says are appropriate.

NBC News’ Miguel Almaguer, who reported that Prejean’s contract with the pageant prohibits her from being photographed “in a state of partial or total nudity.”

So when pageant officials decide that a skimpy bathing suit is acceptable she can stand as a model for innocence and purity.  If we subtract less than a yard of fabric suddenly she is a dirty girl in with no moral fibre. Wow that is some kind of slut shaming folks.  Photos similar to this were responsible for Vanessa Williams losing her Miss America title in the early 80’s.

Miss Prejean is determined not to go down without a fight and has issued the following statement:

"I am a Christian, and I am a model. Models pose for pictures, including lingerie and swimwear photos. Recently, photos taken of me as a teenager have been released surreptitiously to a tabloid Web site that openly mocks me for my Christian faith. I am not perfect, and I will never claim to be. But these attacks on me and others who speak in defense of traditional marriage are intolerant and offensive."

This from a pageant that had no problem coughing up the bucks to pay for her breast enlargement surgery. There are those that feel that it is appropriate to shame Prejean because of her statements regarding same sex marriage and her supposed breast enlargement surgery, however sexism is no defence against homophobia; it only reaffirms the isms.  Those that are slut shaming her are not really concerned with what she said, they are concerned with the ability to exploit at will.  Female bodies are deemed communal property and therefore it is her agency that is under attack not the morality of her behaviour. 

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