Friday, May 21, 2010

Miss Universe Organization: Or, Why I'm Glad to be a Freak

On CNN, Donald Trump just told me the reason I'm angry about Miss America contestants being shot in an uncompromising photoshoot is that I'm jealous. Now, as a woman, I am obviously livid. However, as a lolita, I am even more angry; excuse you, Donald Trump? I'm jealous?! Yes, sir. That's why I'm pissed that these brilliant, self-possessed women who are engineers and have careers that they worked hard for are being told that actually, you can't have any power in my world unless you take off your clothes.

Now, I find that interesting. As a lolita, I never feel more empowered than when I'm completely dressed, completely done-up, and looking entirely unreal (I've heard gyarus say that they only feel comfortable when they're entirely artificial). I find it hard to believe that there are women who feel like showing off their bodies is what gives them power, when it's the exact opposite for me. Who is right? Is it better to remove all layers of artifice and show your true, uncovered self to gain power from anyone who sees you, or to shut that side of you off from the world and empower yourself only by your own standards? Is it better to be a whore or a freak?

Personally, I'd rather be a freak. I'd rather know that I look beautiful for me, by my standards, even if those aren't the rest of America's (or any other country, for that manner). I don't wish I looked like those women. I love my body, but it's mine. My body is mine for me to treasure and to share whomever I see fit. Maybe someday I'd be interested in showing it to other people, but even if I did, it wouldn't be like that.

I also don't find it wrong to pose for photos in various stages of undress. I don't even feel it's wrong for women to do it lounging on beds in stilettos giving either Marilyn Monroe-smiles or smoldering come-hither looks. That's fine. There's art to that, if it's done right. However, I find that promoting a pageant that already comes under scorn in the minds of feminists in this way is not the best thing for their company or, more importantly, their viewers. I heard a higher-up in the company saying that if you go to their website, you'll see that some of the women are engineers or some of them are x or y, but guess what, Miss Universe Organization? The six-year-old girl who's watching the pageant with her family isn't seeing that. The young men who see advertisements on the subway or in magazines or wherever they're going to promote using these images don't know that, either; all they're seeing is yet another woman being objectified in her panties on a bed. I think that Miss USA could be an empowering powwow of feminine energy if it tried to be- I think it could set an amazing example if, in commercials, they showed these women doing this photo shoot, then get up, get dressed, and say "I do this because my body empowers me. You know what else empowers me? My career as an engineer." Also, I keep using the example of the engineer because I'm on the website now and can't find any information about these women outside of the bedroom. You go their their page and it's just a huge picture like the one above, with a quick bio of their name, age, and state, and then a link to buy their photos. Good job, Miss Universe Organization. Not only are you objectifying these brilliant women, you're keeping their accomplishments secret and making money off of them as well. Five stars and a thumbs up for you!

Good gracious, I am so glad I have alternative beauty standards. Otherwise, if I say these photos and actually CARED that society expected me to be like that, I'd probably be in the bathroom vomiting my breakfast up right now. Thanks America! As always, you're a peach!


  1. Ugh. It makes me feel sad that I can totally believe they would do that - I wish I could be shocked by it, but it happens far too much and, like you, it makes me furious. Somewhat at the women who are happy to degrade themselves this way in order to win a 'pretty-prize' for how much their breasts can hang out, but mostly at the disgusting culture of objectification rife in the West.

    The problem is, of course, it sells. So long as the economy, attitudes and social pressure continue to make it profitable, the next generation of girls will continue to grow up without being taught how to respect themselves or stand up for their dignity.

    I entirely agree with being glad about having different beauty standards, though I personally think there's nothing beautiful about those pictures. They're skanky and trashy with nothing artistic to claim.
    And it's infuriatingly unremarkable but in a way hilarious that they asked a *man* about his opinion of the photoshoots for their interview - of course he has no problem with it! What did they expect? But what about all those that really do? What about all the young people who see them and are affected? Where's the alternative viewpoint?

    Oh, modern society. >_< Look how far we have come.

    On an unrelated note, I love reading your philosophical articles like these! You always make such eloquent and thoughtful points.

  2. I think that for some people, nudity is a form of personal empowerment. I think that's totally valid. Women should embrace and claim their sexuality, and if this is how they choose to do so, then more power to them. I don't like the idea of women like this being required to do that sort of thing. On one hand, I feel like women who choose to do these pagents shouldn't really be surprised that they are expected to do this. It's a beauty pagent, first and foremost, and they know that going in. That's not to say it's like a "They were asking for it" kind of thing, I'm just saying that I don't think anyone should really be surprised by this. On the other hand I feel that it should be the kind of thing that is optional.
    Personally, I found the pictures to be gorgeous. I think that they are tasteful, not spread eagle back arching pics. I think that they show these women owning their own beauty. That's just my interpretation.
    I don't think that it should be forced on them. That's crappy. If a woman chooses to display her body like this (in a tasteful way), I think it shows remarkable confidence. I've known plenty of people in my local arts community who are proud to display their bodies, in photography, dance, etc. It's not for me, and certainly no woman should feel like they have to display themselves in such a way if they are not 100% comfortable with it. I guess it really comes down to how the contestants feel about it.
    Do kids really watch this kind of thing? That surprises me. Really though, it's the parents who should decide or not what is suitable for their children to watch.
    Great article, really thoughtful.
    Also, Donald Trump is a tool.

  3. All i can say is: so true, Aly, SO TRUE. This stuff simply disgusts me.
    (America's always a peach!)

  4. Of COURSE Donald Trump is gonna defend modern society's ideals of beauty, it's the only excuse he HAS for wearing that godawful toupée.

    And I'm with you on the whole "Power Is A Concealed Decolleté"... But I also feel completely in control when I'm doing housework in naught but full makeup and underwear.
    (That may have something to do with the fact that I'm cleaning MY apartment in frilly undies I paid for myself, but I still look like I was shipped from Stepford XD)

    I must say, though, I always got the feeling that the "Successful College Graduate" parts of pageants were a little tacked-on.
    It's like when tabloids put pictures of Page 3 Girls up, complete with something like "Krystal, 19" to show that they're legal, and then go on to demonise sex offenders.
    (I'm not saying they shouldn't be demonised, they SHOULD. It's just ironic that it's the same people promoting an objectified view of girls, as are then tut-tutting over the state of the world today.)

    But think how much money these women are making? If it's something you can be comfortable with, it seems a smart move to take advantage of your own physical charms while they last. That's the only way I can justify these smart women stripping down for cameras, really.

  5. I do believe it's different for everybody. I personally know several "Suicide Girls" and they always tell me they'd prefer being naked.

    That said, Mr. Trump is generalizing the female population. Everyone is different and lambasting feminists by saying we're all jealous is just an excuse. He has to say something, so why not say something that will upset people and focus on him instead of what's being done to the girls.

  6. I personally think it's disgusting that women choose to degrade themselves so much and strip just to gain something instead of trying so in dignity and in their own standards. But it's even more disgusting the way men/people in power see women,as objects made for their pleasure only ugh. I don't like nude/semi nude photo shoots because i think our bodies are our own to show them only to those close to us not for the whole world and every pervert to see. And that has nothing to do with confidence in women. You don't have to dress like a slut in order to "seem" confident with your body that's just brainwashing. And it also has to do with privacy. Of course if you really don't mind stripping and no one not even society is forcing you then it's ok because it's your choice. But how many women are actually unaffected by society standards? Be for their boyfriends or jobs they are being forced to objectify themselves in order to be accepted or gain something. And I am even more furious about the whole thing because I 'm a lesbian and even with us the think that our bodies, lives and even our love is made for the men and just for their pleasure. It makes me really furious.. And I am also glad that my idea of beauty is so different than theirs and I don't care what they say about me because I know I live my life with dignity and I am not just a plaything for any worthless sexist and that's the most important thing.

  7. This is why it frustrates me when westerners think that Lolita is a sexual thing!! Seriously, I am wearing a bonnet and bloomers, and covered up from my chin to my toes - how is this sexual!?! In Japan it is not seen that way at all, Lolitas are seen as making themselves undesirable to men, and all my Japanese friends are shocked when they hear that westerners think it's an infantilizing sex thing.

    And in response to Roselie...

    I am uncomfortable with your first line and when you talk about women who "dress like a slut." Calling women who choose to show off their bodies because they want to (not because they have to) "disgusting" and "sluts" is only furthering the problem. I'm sure you were just upset to read about this, but shaming women is not the answer.

    Just thoughts.

  8. If disagreeing with putting yourself on display like that and completely undermining your brilliant mind in favor of selling out and making yourself a sex object makes us all freaks, then I will let my freak flag fly.

    Also, I love you and your feminist rage ♥

  9. D-FERG I was not talking about women who trully don't mind showing off their bodies and I 've written my opinion about this, read after the word privacy. While I don't like at all, it if you really don't mind and no one is forcing you then I 'm ok with it.It's your choice. What I 'm not ok with is women who allow other people to use them and objectify them and thus they are shaming themselves and all women in general.I just don't get it, don't they have pride? values? are they so afraid to stand up? I 'm not saying anything that isn't true here calling it disgusting. As for calling them slut is it a harsh word? I haven't really used it, I 'm from Greece and often I might not use the right word. Please keep in mind that I 'm just pointing out stuff I am not the one shaming them they do it to themselves. And that's my point, how can they?Oh dear here I go all over again...

  10. Not to drag this out too much, but... you seem to be contradicting yourself a little bit here...

    You say you aren't talking about women who don't mind showing off their bodies but the first line of your first comment was that "personally think it's disgusting that women CHOOSE to degrade themselves so much and strip" - if they are choosing to do it, what is the problem?

    Then in your second comment you say that you aren't okay with "women who ALLOW other people to use them and objectify them" - if they are allowing it, that implies that it is their choice, so what is the problem there?

    Exploitation and objectification of women occurs and is a problem when it is NOT her choice. If a women CHOOSES to ALLOW herself to be sexual - without being forced into it - than that is her choice and her life, whether you like it or understand it or not.

    Women do not "shame themselves and all women in general" - that is placing the blame on women for being exploited by MEN. It is men, or the sex industry, or whatever, that exploits and objectifies women, and it is THEY who should be ashamed.

    Women cannot by definition exploit or objectify themselves, that is contradictory.

    Also, yes slut is a terrible and offensive term meaning that a woman is sexually promiscuous in an extremely negative sense. It is typically used to describe a woman based on a seemingly "provocative" appearance - which is completely unfair as the way you dress does not equal the amount of people you have slept with. And if you have slept with many people, that is your business, and not a bad thing.

    All in all, I think your heart is in the right place but you are a little misguided with where you are directing your contempt.

  11. This is getting too long but I am answering anyways. First just because I am talking more about women right now doesn't mean that men aren't the most guilty about the whole thing , of course they are I an just talking about the women mostly. And I have also stated it before clearly in my first sentences (fist comment) that I think men are much worse. I would appreciate it if you would read thoroughly what I 've written. If you had you 'd realize that I am talking about two different situations here. There are women who will do everything (or many things) just because they are told to so, women who surrender their personal choice to others, and there are women who might do the same exactly things but only because they want to or really don't mind to do them and it's their own choice for themselves. It's the first category that I really dislike, not the second. In the first case they allow themselves to be manipulated and in the second its personal choice without anyone interfering. Completely different situations. And yes its contradictory but not by me. That someone might choose to surrender their free will just to do what is expected/wanted from them it is their own contradictions. As for calling them sluts I guess it was a wrong choice for a word. In Greece we often use it casually and it's not much an insult as a statement and it hasn't to do with who you sleep with at all but the way you carry yourself they way you act around men e.t.c. You know this is weird when you talk more about one side of the matter people just assume that you blame just the one party, even if you have stated before that you think the other is equally if not more responsible. And you know I have very strong feelings about the matter because I am a lesbian and I absolutely hate the way men look at us and treat us. If you have a friend who is a lesbian you might understand a little bit but mostly you 'd understand if you were one. They way they just think that you you are meant for their pleasure and they look at you shamelessly and if you are with your girlfriend ugh they just think you both want to find a guy and it makes me want to puke. To think that there are women who allow themselves to be seen and used in such a way just because men want them to and not because they just don't mind being nude is ugh... So, I ve answered your concerns and more. have a nice day

  12. I was addressing the negative comments you directed at women.
    I am a woman, and it offended me. Please don't make assumptions about my sexuality.


  13. Just one more thing - if you can't see why calling women "disgusting" and "sluts" for be sexualized by others is wrong and simply perpetuates the problems of how women are treated, than you are completely and utterly missing the point.

    This is my last comment.

  14. You seem to not realize that you are the one missing the point here, you are blaming me for pointing out what I see and not the ones who actually do the things in question. Am I the one offending you or are the the ones treating us like objects? And you still haven't realized even though I said it again that I am not talking about all the women who do things like that because not all all of them do it for the same reasons! Others do it for respectable reasons and others don't. And I won't stop having values and ideals for a respectable life without selling out because someone who doesn't even pay attention to what I say accuses me for offending women and thinking I am to blame instead of those who either exploit or allow themselves to be exploited. THEY are the ones perpetuating the problems not me.



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