Wednesday, June 9, 2010

'Tis the season

image RavenScholar from is a fairly new blogger on the Internet. She (re-)discovered feminism and comics at about the same time she started blogging, and has great fun writing about both. She has lots to say, lots of artwork to show, and likes hearing other's opinions.

It’s that time of year again. The National American Miss people are sending out flyers. Last year's I really didn't like, and this year's I found more issues with, after a year of paying attention to feminist blogs. Lets examine this:
First, the cover

Typical Euro-centric ideal of beauty? Check. Airbrushing? Check. "Fashionable"? Check. Vaguely pained look? Check. "Sexy" Posing? Check. Looks old enough to be the mother of the audience targeted? Why is she even on this thing?
The inside

EVEN MORE European girls? Check. Posing? Check. Now onto the highlighted stuff. That's were it gets really insidious.

  • "Makeup is not allowed on our participants ages 4-12 during the event." Well, that sure didn't stop you from airbrushing their pictures, did it?
  • "The National American Miss pageants are dedicated to celebrating America's greatness and encouraging its future leaders." Apparently "America's greatness" is little pretty white girls. Also: to be a leader and a girl, you must be pretty. No two ways about it.
  • "You'll gain... self-confidence...You'll feel good about yourself." Yes, I'm sure it will help boost the Hispanic girl from my old hometown who also received this flyer's self-confidence that the only girls pictured on the sides are clearly European and the overweight girl down the street will feel better about herself when all the girls there are thin.
  • "If not accepted into the pageant..." Way to judge a girl on her looks when she's supposed to be a "future leader".
  • "The total fee for the pageant is $440." Well, my goodness, that sure explains why there's pretty much just white girls on this! You only want people with half a thousand dollars lying around! Poor people, obviously, are ugly; and unfit to associate with you until they can cut food or utilities bills to pay for this.

And the back

Finally, some token racial diversity! Posing? Check. Airbrushing? Check. Ridiculously happy smiles? Check. People who are clearly models with their perfectly white teeth and shaped eyebrows who are surely not the sort of people who would actually be at this? Check.
One last highlighted thing:
"All you'll need is:

  • A prom dress or evening gown
  • A suit or dress for interview
  • Official production number t-shirt outfit (available on pageant weekend for a nominal charge)"

Say it with me people: Hidden Costs! So lets say you manage to scrape up half a thousand dollars to go to this thing. Now they want you to buy a prom dress! And a suit! And a t-shirt for "a nominal charge"! Turns out you need more like another $430 there!

Total cost: $870. Way to raise the bar. Now they only want you if you've got about a thousand dollars lying around! Now I know why the popular pretty girls on TV are always rich whites! They're the only ones with enough money to be official.

Congratulations, National American Miss pageants. You have now officially sent the most racist and classist bit of mail I have ever seen.